As a solo business owner, there are certain parts of the job that can get a little lonely. Many nights and days are spent hunched over your computer or phone, hustling, making connections, wearing all the hats and all the while remaining the ‘effervescent and impossibly fresh’ face of your business, championing it till the cows come home. This is tiring stuff!
Having someone to bounce ideas off, splitting tasks, dividing accountability so you can bolster each other up are things I dream about. Of course there’s amazing things about going it alone – you can take things in any direction you like, whatever you make is yours and you only have yourself to rely on. But there is definitely a sense of isolation that comes with it. I’ve found that the single most important thing to remember in combating this kind of solitariness is to look after yourself. If it’s just you then you’ve only got you to worry about taking care of (besides all your clients and networks and family and friends of course!) But before all them, you come first, because if you’re not on top of your game, you have no chance of doing the same for those around you. I’ve put together a few of my go to coping mechanisms below:
Constant journaling: I write everything down. Whether it’s a task on my to do list, a note to myself, or a quote I like. I try to regularly (mostly it’s down to weekly unless I’m on a roll), journal about how I’m feeling, what’s happening for me and what I think about certain situations and events happening in my life. Getting it down on paper and out of my head definitely clears out a lot of the thoughts that swirl around making it hard to concentrate.
Talking to people: call a friend. Call your mum. Whoever it is that you can talk openly and freely about what’s going on for you, call them! Or visit. Or meet for coffee. There is something so comforting about human connection, and simply having someone that you trust hear what you’re saying, relieves you of so many burdens. Knowing you’re not alone is a very powerful thing. And I can absolutely say with confidence, you are most certainly not alone.
Following on from that, I think it’s important to surround yourself with trusted people that you know you can rely on for advice, help, support or just an ear to listen. Humans were supposed to belong to tribes, so it’s no wonder we thrive on having one around us. Find yours and utilise it.
Let yourself feel things: so often we feel an emotion arise and we’re either too busy or too embarrassed to let it just come out, in all its glory. I always try to let myself feel an emotion as it comes up. Even if it’s just for a short time, I find that if I let myself feel it, I can more quickly move through it. It also is great practice for understanding your emotions and triggers. Feel the feels.
The last one is to try not to be too hard on yourself. This one is, funnily enough, the hardest one for me, as I am typically extremely critical on myself. It’s in our nature to compare ourselves with others, which is totally fine to do, but when it consumes you, you can run the risk of losing yourself in the process. Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed with what I’m doing/not doing and what everyone else is doing/not doing, I take a literal step back (I stand up from my desk and step back, sounds silly but it works), and take a look at all the things I currently have and what they’re allowing me to do (what I’m grateful for having currently) and I remind myself that I am not other people, that I’m unique and they’re probably going through the very same stuff at the same time about someone else. Everyone’s just on their own ride and we’re all trying to work stuff out.
Whatever you’re doing, whether you’re doing it solo or with others, remember that you’re doing an amazing job and you’re going to be ok.