They say it feels lonely at the top…but it doesn´t feel any better at the bottom either.
Social scientists define this phenomenon as the small business owner loneliness or entrepreneurial loneliness.
This refers to both: those who are starting their business and those who are already enjoying all of the perks of being a successful leader.
Obviously, the type of loneliness business tycoons observe in their daily reality is different in nature, while loneliness of a beginner is a direct result of insecurities and being an economic outcast.
What do I mean?
Whenever you start new thing, enter a new market or launch a new product in the field you have never stepped into – you are alone. Of course, you may have some people working for you, or a loyal partner, who is sharing these struggles with you…but what if you were so courageous to start your thing alone? By yourself?
Let´s be honest – this is the most widespread scenario.
No matter how many universities you graduated from, there is a great difference between book wisdom and professional, real-life experience.
A young (not necessarily) entrepreneur at the beginning of his/her path is confused with lots of things: most important being money, return of investment, future of the product/service and of course competition.
Developing a System:
A daily routine looks very intense: lots of time is spent on trying to pull everything together, establishing a framework, organizing yourself and your workers, developing a system that will allow to work automatically and at some point autonomously.
All those spreadsheets, applications, formulas… will have to be developed on your own.
When you are employed by a big company, you just bring your favorite plant to put on your desk, that´s it. The structure already exists and all you have to do is learn it by heart and follow the instructions that have existed for years before you and will exist after you.
It may not always be easy…but think about the following: whenever you start a company yourself, the development of the structure is absolutely your responsibility. Of course, if you have some employment history, you can “borrow” ideas from companies you worked for, but will they work in your field? There is no guarantee, so you would have to rely on your intuition, your experience, knowledge and, maybe, spiritual forces as the last resort.
Hence, the step of optimization and organization of your work system is a first step in company development, and is one of the most intensive and challenging parts. Should I mention that this system is a dynamic matter, so it will be adjusted or even transformed million times and this process is never-ending.
Tip: Think out of the box.
Instead of referring to your competitors, look at other industries and how they operate.
Be able to establish good contact with people from different fields and professions and do not be shy to ask them questions.
Very often we look for answers in the field that is of the direct interest to us, while sometimes, borrowing systems that are used in a completely different field may result in an innovation.
Be innovative in your own fashion – do not look for the easiest ways, but look for the ones that you clearly understand and will be able to explain to your workers in the long run.
Money, money, money:
You can be as spiritual as you wish, but financial aspect puts a lot of pressure on anyone who is starting his/her own thing alone.
Scrolling down your competitor´s pages and struggling with voices in your head: “Will it work…what if I do not make any profit…how to pay the rent…how to cover the costs…”, and lots of question marks. Lots.
Money worries is the most common problem that somehow blocks your ability to see clear and envision your strategy.
Financial instability often results in low self-esteem and insecurities, lack of confidence – obvious combination for raising stress levels and even depression.
Tip: Be patient.
Overnight success is ten years in making. In any industry, hard work pays off. The more patient you are, the more productively and efficiently you can work. Impatience is a distractive feeling that will never allow you grow – be persistent, be humble and honest to yourself when answering the question: “Did I do enough today?”. If not, fix it tomorrow, but do not be too serious about it – you have to rest and maintain your health in good condition, so there is no need to work till burnout.
Well, this highly depends on an industry, but honestly speaking, we all start from the couch.
The beauty of working from home and even directly from the couch may seem to be a good idea for a start – comfortable environment is the best way to somehow heal the wounds of small business struggles, but this notion is deceiving.
Why? Well, first of all, you should always aim at structuration of your business and, of course, at productivity tracking.
As a functional movement specialist I am convinced that a well-equipped and organized workspace equals clear mind and headspace.
Tip: Organize your workspace as if your success depends on it.
Being comfortable does not always mean hunching on the sofa trying to get work done, it means keeping your body in an ergonomic position, that is both healthy and well-balanced.
This is a habit most people struggle to make a part of their daily life, but sometimes having a proper chair with lumbar support and a good desk can fix very simple yet annoying problems: back pain, neck pain, overall fatigue and bad posture.
Even if your work from home, make sure the environment is a business environment. Nothing…not even a fridge and a TV set should distract you.
We are all humans and we all have weaknesses, so reducing their appearance in your workspace is key to increasing your productivity.
Being an online entrepreneur often implies being lonely not only physically, but overall.
Having so many struggles, such as financial needs, workplace organization and systemizing of business may lead us to a complete isolation.
Think about it: when you spend 23 hours on developing your own business, there is no place for making social contacts.. and let´s face it – working online reduces socializing to occasional skype calls and lots, lots of emails.
Those who are especially passionate about their work will understand: sometimes a project you do hypes you so much, you don´t even bother to take a shower, instead you dive even deeper into your monitor.
Often, you lose friends and good buddies, because you simply do not have time to spend with them/invest into some quality communication.
People, who never tried starting their own business and have always been employed by someone will probably never understand your “hero´s path”, so there is always a chance that you will feel even lonelier, when sharing it with your friends.
Tip: When (or better said – if) you have some spare time, never spend it on the phone/internet.
Instead, invite your friend for a beer. Call your mom and take a walk in the park. Try to involve with things unrelated to your work – it will save you from being overwhelmed with what you do.
Overall, there are no real ways that will definitely free you from the feeling that you are alone in this game.
At some point, we all are, but this mindset will kill your passion and your business sooner or later.
It is not going to sound very motivational, but you have to go with your loneliness and treat it as an experience, as struggle that shapes your personality, allows you to grow.
Growth is often a painful experience, but you have to create your “why” and stick to it at all times.
However, you shall never forget that without the knowledge and experience of the others you will never make it. Communication is vital, so you have to look for real mentors and absorb their experience, learn their skill and their craft to become the best in what you do.