"The University of San Francisco found that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from ADHD, three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse."
When you think about entrepreneurship, especially in the beginning stages, you think about changing the world, all the excitement that comes with it, conquering a new industry, etc. You think about all the joys that come with entrepreneurship and maybe some of the challenges, such as the financial pressure, one thing that probably does not come to your mind is entrepreneurial loneliness.
Of course loneliness isn’t something that only is part of the entrepreneurial journey but in society in general, several studies have shown that we are getting more and more lonely today.
Entrepreneurs lead different lifestyles than people who are employed. We work through different emotions, our days are structured vastly different. We might focus on different values, have goals that other people don’t quite understand. Being surrounded by people who can’t understand the achievements and struggles of an entrepreneur definitely highlights the feeling of being ALONE. Let’s look into some more specific reasons as to why entrepreneurs specifically struggle with loneliness.
Being on their own
Entrepreneurs can’t have the luxury of companionship that a regular 9-to-5 employee setting offers. They work with clients, but this does not result in the same co-creative juice as working with others towards a shared outcome.
Dealing with rejection
Being responsible for finding clients for the company’s growth, coupled with facing rejections after rejections will drain out a person. Being rejected, dealing with ‘no’s and the negative spirale arising from that will often lead to a stronger feeling of loneliness.
Lack of understanding from people around them
Family and friends often won’t understand what it is that you are working on as an entrepreneur, especially if it’s something new, like a start-up no one has ever done before. Some of them would even think you already lost your mind! Loneliness is highlighted when you try to catch up with them, when you realize they have no clue about what you do or you’re trying to build.
No time to socialize
No matter how many hours a day you work, birthing and growing a business is hard work. This might often include missing birthday parties, family outings and so on. Building a business might mean neglecting your social circle.
Loneliness can lead to depression, stress and anxiety. The University of San Francisco found that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from ADHD, three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse.
There are several solutions to trying to solve the problem of feeling lonely. Let’s look into two different approaches.
Connect back to yourself
Define your mission and what drove you to start your business. Write everything in detail, preferably in a journal, every step, every milestone, every life you had a positive impact on.
Take care of your body. Get enough sleep and exercise. Work on your mental and physical wellness, above all.
Remember that YOU are NOT your business. Your role as an owner is only ONE of the roles you embody. You are a daughter/son, a mom/dad, best friend or confidante. Foster these other roles as well. Don’t forget your hobbies & life outside of business.
Connecting with other people
Find your tribe. Go online and find like-minded individuals. After all, social media is also about connecting. Find people who understand the entrepreneurial struggles. Find yourself an accountability partner, especially when you are still a solo entrepreneur.
Utilize co-working spaces. Studies by ergonomic trends show that 89% of co-working users report that they are happier since joining a co-working space. The other 83% said that they feel less lonely. Also, 54% said that they socialize with other members outside of the co-working space after work and during weekends.
Connect with old friends. Your friends and family that you have known for years may not always understand all the problems you have, but it’s great to connect to other people to be ‘off’ your business. Include them in your journey, to make them better understand what you are going through.
Get professional support. Find a mentor, find a coach, find a mastermind to bounce off ideas off. Work with someone who has been in your shoes, who knows what you are going through and who can help you get through things, take some of the pressure off. With the right mentor you can skip years of frustration and not seeing the growth that you were hoping for.
Start building your team. Not only that your team will help you grow your business faster by freeing up your time to focus on money making activities, you would be able to bounce off ideas of each other and feel like you aren’t alone in this business.
Never forget that you might just be one breakthrough away. Maybe your work has the chance of helping millions of people - whatever it is that you are doing, whether you are writing a book, creating a product that is needed by so many people. So any hour you put in, all the frustration that might come with it, will someday be so worth it.
I attribute a lot of my success to surrounding myself with like-minded people. Seeing other entrepreneurs live the life I wanted to be living, lifting each other up, passing on tips and tricks along the way. That’s why I knew I needed to create my own community of kickass entrepreneurs. Stop playing small & join over 1,500 entrepreneurs that are ready to scale beyond $100,000 in revenue.