One of the biggest concerns most people seem to have when becoming their own boss is how to manage social isolation. Suddenly there are no more chats in the office kitchen, over the water cooler, or in the canteen.
You probably still meet up with friends and ex-colleagues, but the level of contact may not be able to replace the kind of work contact you were used to.
Of course, being a home based business owner has huge advantages. You have the freedom to start and finish your work when it suits you, and you are often more productive too.
But it can also be hard to take a break when you’re constantly feeling under pressure to get all your work done. After all there is only you to do it!
This pressure can make it difficult for women to create a balanced work routine that includes regular opportunities to interact with other people.
Some women have told me that during their busiest times, days and weeks would go by and the only contact they have it with their clients.
There is really no need to feel guilty about taking regular breaks from your work to connect with people. After all, time spent with the right people will make you feel energised and may even give you new ideas and a different perspective too.
Networking can be social too
A great option is to visit some local networking groups where you can meet other women in the same boat and exchange experiences. It may take a little courage, especially if you’ve never been to a networking event before and don’t know what to expect. But overcoming your fears and making the effort will pay off.
I’ve met a number of women who started to network from the time they considered setting up on their own (so way before their business was up and running). This meant they already had an existing network once they were ready to take on clients and isolation never became an issue!
Networking groups can be quite social too which can be great for women who run an online business. As you may not need to depend on local business you could always focus on making new friends.
What else can you do?
How about taking your work to a coffee shop once a week? Or joining in with a co-working initiative, that allows you to work alongside others for a day or so every month? There are also ‘tweet-ups’, where local twitter users get together to share experiences.
Online groups can also be very supportive. For example, I belong to different groups on Facebook where I connect regularly with people who have similar interests.
Using social media in this way can remove some sense of isolation, but as it will not replace valuable face-to-face contact, it is worth making sure you have a good mix between the two.
This is especially important as being connected to people you know well, and can meet up with, will also help you manage the motivational dips that many home workers experience.
Lack of motivation is a common symptom of isolation and can also affect productivity levels, confidence and self-esteem.
But even when not connecting with others, going for a daily walk, shop, or visit to the gym, means you are doing something to break your routine away from your own four walls.
Not feeling isolated will make you more fired-up and productive in the long run — a great incentive don’t you think?!
To receive Ute’s free ‘Passion to Profit’ ebook please visit the Success Network website.