Updated: Jul 12
As an entrepreneur, have you ever experienced a feeling of isolation?
Fear not. It's a common issue with people at the top of an organization. I used to feel it when I was running companies. I've learned to deal with it since.
Staff, suppliers, clients, friends, acquaintances, government officials, and many more people constantly solicit entrepreneurs; it's like everybody expects something from them.
Yet, entrepreneurs often find themselves feeling lonely.
Regardless of the industry they operate in, business owners usually carry many responsibilities and directly impact others' lives (starting with their own employees).
The entrepreneurship journey comes with countless emotional challenges. For instance:
The anxiety to know whether or not you will be able to pay staff salaries at the end of the month, and have enough financial resources to support your own families
The fear of making the wrong decisions and the potential adverse consequences on your businesses as well as your staff
The stress of dealing with constant problem solving, coping with high workload associated with a lack of social life
"Think about how unreasonable the start-up journey is. As a founder of a company, you have to approach other people to work for your company in the knowledge that you probably can’t afford to pay them within 60 days." Brian McMahon, Founder of Expert DOJO on Inter.views episode 28.
As a result, entrepreneurs bear much pressure. They experience isolation because they believe that no-one else can deal with such tension.
While I agree there are decisions that cannot be delegated, entrepreneurs, you are not as lonely as you might think you are.
"I want you to know that you are not alone in your being alone" - Stephen Fry
Here are 5 ways to address your solitude:
1. Realize that you are not alone.
As I wrote above, most entrepreneurs feel the same way. Join or create a community of peers (online, offline, hybrid), a place where you can share experiences and discuss ideas with others, because you walk the same path, and talk the same language. There's a high chance that someone else has gone through whatever you're going through right now. There's no need to re-invent the wheel.
2. Set up an Advisory Board comprised of external independent people.
Regularly schedule meetings with this Board during which you address the day-to-day challenges as well as the 5-year development plan. Use it to broaden your perspective, test your assumptions and keep yourself accountable for your work.
3. Get out of the office.
There's more to life than just work. Yes, it's your own company, yes, it's important, but how can you take care of it if you don't take care of yourself? Start an activity that forces you to clear up your mind and meet new people, outside of your business sphere. Let it become your private moment, during which you will not allow yourself to think about work.
4. Communicate more.
Ensure your employees understand your purpose, know your business strategy as well as your expectations. Give them more reasons to believe in your vision, and they will take ownership of it, naturally relieving pressure from your shoulders.
"I know for a fact that I could not do it by myself, I need other people around me. I’m very passionate about building teams because I truly believe that when you have a winning team everything is possible. When you have a winning team, you will build a winning product. When you have the right team, all the possibilities are open for you.” Sofia Pohls, co-Founder and CEO of Finders Seekers, on Inter:views episode 52.
5. Hire a Business Coach.
Great coaches are great listeners, which is sometimes all you need: To be listened to, because saying things out loud helps structuring your thoughts. Coaches can help you be more efficient, reduce your stress level, and focus your attention on getting things done.
“I should have invested in coaching, mentoring and training earlier than what I did. I was feeling on my own. It’s been helpful to have peers who’ve grown further along the way or have experiences in other businesses to collaborate, share ideas and serve as mentors” Chris Bryce, Founder & CEO, DotFusion Digital Agency, on Inter:views episode 8.