Entrepreneurs work on their own – No more bosses, no morning commute, no more clocking in and out, just them and their dreams.
For all the flexibility you get from being an entrepreneur, it also removes a lot of the conventional comforts of a 9 – 5 workday spent at the office: no free coffee, no office gossip, no water cooler around which to congregate, no casual after work drinks, nor the sense of solidarity with fellow colleagues.
This can be very isolating and sometimes depressing. Here are a few tips that can give you a sense of belonging to a community and get me over those isolated days when it’s hard to press onward.
1. Occasionally find a co-working space or a cafe.
Sometimes, when you’re working for yourself, you can hardly tell if you’re working at all, or simply just fulfilling stress-motivated tasks on your own (especially if you know you’re a while off from being remotely solvent).
One way to reclaim some semblance of an office environment is by literally going to the office: coworking spaces have become massively popular in larger cities, and they’re filled with like-minded entrepreneurs and freelancers. These rentable desks for freelancers offer a familiar work environment while forming natural bonds between creatives who can share ideas, collaborate on projects or find moral support. Cafes work well enough (and don’t require membership fees, unless one considers the cost of an endless stream of coffee). These are a popular workplace option, but they can experience hectic rush hours and the noise that accompanies the rush hour. Moreover, it’s easier to overstay your welcome, and, unlike co-working spaces, they don’t provide business-focused amenities like printers, scanners, or photocopier machines.
2. Join mentoring groups and Facebook communities for local entrepreneurs – and attend events and meetups!
It’s important to remember that, as an entrepreneur or otherwise self-employed professional, you’re not alone even though it often feels like you are. Your workdays don’t include the trappings of the typical office life that most of your friends experience. For you, there is no “typical office life,” and nobody is going to understand this more than people who have your job.
So, to help combat this lack of a typical office, it’s important to find people who have your same type of job! There may be more individuals like you than you think. There are often Facebook groups for area entrepreneurs, or mentoring rings set up by local incubators. By getting active in these communities and attending entrepreneurial events and meetups, you will feel less on your own, and more supported while networking with potential collaborators.
3. Plan team parties, and maintain a non-work-related “fun chat.”
If you’re an entrepreneur or a freelancer who works with a larger team, but still each of you works separately at home, often you’ll forget that the others exist while you’re own your own, doing your tasks, and this isolation lowers morale.
Make sure you’re connected with the rest of your team – often: weekly calls with all of you on the same group call, and an active Slack board (importantly, make good use of the #random channel! It’s there for a reason), and regular team parties to celebrate birthdays, company milestones, and anything else, can really strengthen your company while reminding each team member and yourself that the goal is greater than the tasks involved.