It’s no revelation that starting a business can be lonely, and isolating, especially if you’re going it alone. It’s even harder if you’re used to working in an environment with a lot of other people, or if you thrive off busyness and large groups of people… Combatting loneliness has definitely been a struggle of mine.
When I first started my clothing line, I was responsible for everything – no business partner, no advisors, no outside help whatsoever. I began at my dining room table with no one but my dog for company! Whilst I LOVED what I did, the loneliness started to take it’s toll within a few months or so.
There’s a lot of things I was told when I first took the leap; that it will be hard financially for a while, there will be sleepless nights, I’ll never be able to switch off and that I was taking a huge monumental risk. I knew all of this, and I accepted it, however no one ever warned me about the loneliness, and it’s something that I hadn’t even thought about.
I knew I’d be working alone, but as someone who is an introvert, and incredibly independant, I just assumed I would be able to cope.
Like I said, the first months were fine. I maintained a social life around working which was fab. However once the workload started to amp up, and I began to see a return for the work I did, my social time started to decrease, and so I began to stay hidden away in my office more and more.
Until recently, this is how it had remained. I hadn’t noticed what working alone could do to someone until I did some freelance work in an advertising agency before Christmas. The office I worked at had about 30 people in, who chatted, laughed, went out for lunch together and bounced ideas off one another.
Although I wasn’t a permanent member of staff I was welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed being able to take a break from my screen to have a chat, or to grab a drink. This is something I didn’t even realise I needed, let alone missed, which is why I have struggled to return back to working alone again.
As I planned my 2018, one of them was getting a group of other like-minded creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs together so that we could work together, collaborate, support one another and to aim towards getting a shared office space.
This is well underway and I have enjoyed getting to know other people in my area who also struggle with loneliness and working by themselves. I’ve a cracking set of friends, and I’m lucky to be a part of such a large friendship group, so I don’t have to look far to find others who are in the same boat.
I’ve spoken to a number of other freelancers who also suffer with this problem, but by networking and connecting with each other, we can create a community whereby we always feel supported and have someone to talk to. As creatives, we should be able to share ideas and thrive off each others creativity. By remaining tucked away from everyone we are only hindering ourselves and our work!
I’m now dedicated to always working with others, the only time I’m alone is when I’m putting in the extra hours in the evening! I’ve been combatting loneliness by working at coffee shops, shared offices and friends’ houses… Working for myself has never been so enjoyable, I love it!!
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