The Isolation of the Entrepreneur
You’ve just had a really bad day. The client who was going to be your bread-and-butter for the next three months just lost their funding. Your recent marketing campaign has gotten zero responses. You have some ideas for growing your business, but you need to talk with someone unbiased about them – and your spouse is too stressed about your immediate financial concerns to be a neutral sounding board.
Entrepreneurs are no strangers to isolation. If you’ve been an entrepreneur for long, you know the critical nature of needing to be “on” when you meet people. You need to be able to present a professional, polished image, regardless of what is happening in your business or life at the moment. You know how to smile and listen to someone else’s concerns and find solutions for them.
But what about you? Where can you go and let someone know that things aren’t so good – and you’ve got some ideas you’d like to bounce off of them? If you left a corporate job, that cubicle or office that was next to yours isn’t looking so bad right now – after all, it was a place you could go to capture the ear of someone who gets it. They know what your business is, the struggles you’re experiencing – and what you need to get you through the tough times.
Entrepreneurs can find support in a number of different ways. By breaking the isolation, an entrepreneur can be re-energized and regain perspective for their work. Try one of these suggestions to help get you back on-track:
- Attend an entrepreneurs’ group. These types of groups offer peer-to-peer feedback, and they are a place to let down the masks and receive unbiased input from people who know what you’re facing. A group like this can also provide you with accountability for your goals.
- Get coaching. A business coach can help you identify your blind spots and mistakes, as well as encourage you when the good things you’re doing haven’t produced results…yet. They can tell you how long results should take, so you know where you stand in the business-building process. They can also help you strategize to get where you want to go in your business and your life.
- Create structures for yourself that address your strengths/weaknesses. If you are someone who absolutely needs to talk in order to work ideas out, form your own work group with a like-minded entrepreneur at a local coffee shop once a week. If you are someone who needs to lead a group, and the solo-nature of your business isn’t scratching that itch, join – or start – an on-line or local group to which you provide leadership and resources. You’ll gain a reputation in your community while getting your own needs met. If you need someone in the next cubicle, then rent office space where this is possible – or set up a phone agreement with someone who wants the same thing. A five-minute phone call could give you the energy you need to get unstuck.
Can you relate to this type of isolation?
Michael Shapiro, Dynamic Management Solutions, Inc.