Are you working in Isolation?
I feel so alone
At some point, pretty much every single one of my coaching client says “I feel so alone”. This aloneness, this isolation, takes a few different forms but comes down to two different causes:
You’re trying to run your business all by yourself;
You have no one to bounce ideas off and synergise with.
Brainstorming isn’t effective when it’s just you.
You’re trying to do every single task yourself, from your core business that only you can do to your bookkeeping to your filing. Every single task.
It’s easy to get stuck in a business problem and be unable to get your head around a solution
You’re not looking after yourself
You’re always working, not taking time off for your kids or partner. You know you should, but there’s so much work to be done!
You’re a single parent, which means you’re mum, dad, breadwinner, business owner, everything. The last person you have time to look after is yourself.
You’re trying to look after young children and run a business at the same time. This is why you started a home based business, right? So you could be home and look after the kids and still contribute to the family budget.
Feeling guilty about taking time off when you ‘should’ be working. There’s work to be done, and you’re the one who has to do it. How can you take a break when you can see what you need to be doing?
When you’re trying to run your business all by yourself
If you’re in the first group then the solution is relatively easy. Do any or all of the following:
Get a Business Coach.
Join a Coaching Group.
Find an online Business forum, such as Business Mums Network.
Look for someone in your industry who is willing to mentor you.
Hire a real life assistant or a VA.
Take a break to clear your head.
Become part of an online group of work at home mums, such as Mom Entrepreneurs on google groups.
When you’re not looking after yourself
Getting out from the thought patterns of the second group can be a little harder, because the best answer is to get out of the house and around other people. That takes time and effort, also it’s time away from your business. And it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
Where do you find the time? Something has to give, and it’s better if it’s some part of your business rather than your sanity or family. So, decide what HAS to be done by you and do it.
Streamline everything you can.
Outsource where possible.
Look for faster ways to do things.
Become more organised and streamlined in your working.
‘Batch’ your work – do emails twice a day, paperwork once a day/week, group like tasks together.
But doesn’t that take time to set up?
Yes, all of this takes time initially. You have to invest that time in order to free up time. Any task we do will expand to fill the time we have. If you have only one hour to do something that normally takes two, then you’re likely to work your butt off and get it done – in one hour.
Give yourself time off and hold that time sacred. Take time out for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a day at the spa, it doesn’t have to cost anything in money. Go for a walk or a bike ride. Leave the kids with your partner or a babysitter for a couple of hours. Bake cookies and catch up with girlfriends at someone’s house.
Make a connection
As human beings we’re designed for connectedness. We were never intended to live and work in isolation, our psyches aren’t designed to work best alone. No matter what some people will say, we ALL work better when we’re connected to others, be that on a business or personal level.
As women especially, we’re designed to congregate and socialise. Whether that’s talking with other mums about your business or your child’s latest toilet training accident, we all need and crave that connection. Denying that need starves you of emotional oxygen and slows you down.
Go out. Make a connection. Grow. Work well and profitably.
Melinda is the founder of SuperWAHM.com and started this site to share her best work from home ideas to help other Work At Home Mums become more financially independent and able to spend time with their families.
4 thoughts on “Are you working in Isolation?”
I teach a seminar titled, “Is a Home Based Business Right for YOU?” In it, I talk about how easy it is to become detached from society when you operate a home based business. One strategy that I use to prevent detachment is networking. I am heavily involved in multiple networking and special interest groups, which gets me out of the house and engaged with others.
Hi Patrick! My very first at home business was bookkeeping and at the time I was a single mother of a toddler. It took about two weeks and I was ready to climb the walls. LOL. I realised very quickly how isolating it can be to work at home and ever since I’ve made sure I scheduled time out with girlfriends and networking.
It sounds like an interesting seminar that you run, home based businesses are definately NOT the right choice for everyone.
That’s a really great point Sara, you’re totally correct. I really like your point about feeling disconnected and a lack of productivity. 🙂
I find that going out to meetings with clients and potential clients really cuts the isolation. I recommend that every freelancer’s portfolio should include at least two local / meetable clients, both in terms of stability / reliability, and in terms of networking in your area. It also helps you really feel that you are IN IT and not disconnected, which can spiral toward lack of productivity. We all know that human contact is the best fuel for creativity!
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