I was speaking to a colleague who, like me, works with other business owners. We hadn't spoken for about a year. I was happy to catch up with her. When I asked her what was going on, she told me that she was looking for a job in the corporate world. She missed the predictability of a job. She was tired of making decisions and she missed the regular paycheck.
In some ways I can relate. Running your own business is often difficult, but I find the rewards outweigh the difficulties. All in all I love being an entrepreneur, but there's one thing I can't stand...being a solopreneur. It gets lonely! It's so easy to spend your day alone, lost in your own world, with no perspective about what's going on around you.
In my experience I find that solopreneurs have a tendency to get stuck and:
1. Make problems bigger than they are.
2. Think other entrepreneurs just breeze through their day (they don't).
3. Make excuses and get stuck in their own way.
4. Can't find their way out of a problem.
5. Miss new opportunities because they have so many ideas.
6. Spend the day on Facebook because it's so much easier to see what other people are doing than to get to work.
7. Under-earn because their focus tends to be on the current fire and not on long-term business goals.
When you get out from behind your desk, and your computer, a whole new world opens for you. You get outside of your own brain and get a reality check. You open yourself up to input from other people. You experience things that motivate and inspire you. You get ideas simply from being part of life and the various situations you find yourself in. You experience life and interact with people who you can help, or can help you.
Here are 5 things my clients and I do that get us out from behind our computers and interacting with the world.
1. Go to the gym and interact with the people you meet there. The exercise is great for your body and brain, but it's more than that. You may well meet people who become clients.
2. Go to local networking events. Ideally the networks will feed your business, but even if they aren't full of your "ideal clients," at least you will be getting out of your own office and meeting other entrepreneurs. One warning, stay away from networks that are full of negativity. Look for people who are positive and excited about what they are doing and their businesses. People who can support you when you are feeling stuck.
3. Join virtual networks. I like in-person networks, but go ahead and look outside of your home environment to find entrepreneurs doing similar work as you. Think of ways that you can support them and how they may in turn support you.
4. Attend events or conferences. There is nothing like human interaction to see what is going on in the world. Where are your ideal clients congregating? Where are your business colleagues congregating? It might be a big conference or a small local event. Get out and shake hands with people. Don't think of it as a place to sell yourself but a place to get to know people and find new friends.
5. Get a coach. Your coach should be someone who has a good understanding of what is going on at your level of business, as well as a perspective of what's going on at other levels. Your coach can keep you grounded, motivated, focused and feeling positive about moving forward.
Have fun! Yes, it's important to take your business seriously, but don't forget that you have a life too. Make time for yourself, your friends and family outside of your business. In addition to feeling better you'll be surprised at how much that fun feeds your business.
How do you feel about being a solopreneur? I'd love to know.