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If you consider yourself as a bit of an introvert, working from home as a freelancer probably sounds like your idea of heaven. You don’t have to worry about making small talk with colleagues that you don’t actually like over the water cooler, sit through endless board meetings and presentations, or have to worry about whether what you are wearing that day makes you stand out in the crowd. It is just you, your work, and your coffee mug. You can stumble out from your bed straight into the home office wearing your PJs and do an entire day of productive work without seeing another human in person. Sounds ideal, right?
For some, it is. However, others would find working like that day in, day out very lonely. Spending time alone is very different from being lonely, and there are not many people who would say that they enjoy that feeling. It also has an impact on health – those that suffer from loneliness are at increased risk of heart disease and cancer, as well as the mental toll. Working for yourself can be very lonely. There is no one to share ideas with or whinge to when you are having a bad day, and there is no one else to take responsibility – it is all on you.
Here, we have a few tips to help you fight those feelings of isolation and loneliness when running a business alone, while still giving you the peace and solace that you yearn for.
Get Out and Network
Networking is one of the best ways of increasing the visibility of your business, which is something every business owner is striving to do. It gets your name out there to potential customers or clients and fellow small business owners. Conferences and seminars are a superb way to meet other people and keep you informed with industry updates. Local small business support groups can also be a godsend. These quite often hold regular breakfast meetups or coffee mornings, as well as social media groups and forums where you can feel a sense of camaraderie, chat, and ask for support and advice.
Change the scenery
A home office is essential if you are planning to work from home regularly, but it can also make you feel very trapped and isolated. Sometimes, it is worth looking for other places to work. Pack up your laptop and diary and head to a local coffee shop for a few hours and soak up the hustle and bustle around you. You could also rent a desk in a local coworking space. Even if you do not make conversation with anyone else, the presence of other people can make you feel much less isolated.
Plan time into your day for exercise.
If you are working from home, your commute might be from your bedroom to the home office, perhaps with a detour to the kitchen for a coffee. This is great when you can’t face a long commute every morning and evening, but it does make it a lot more difficult to get in exercise. Plan some time into your day to visit the gym, go for a walk around the block with the dog, or visit the coffee shop.