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How to fight founder loneliness

To an outsider, an entrepreneur’s life seems glamorous. Waking up whenever one wants, brunching with clients, media interviews and receiving awards.

Movies, TV shows and entrepreneurship Instagram accounts do not give a true picture – they are mostly geared towards promoting an idealised entrepreneurial lifestyle.

What many outsiders don’t see is how stressful it can be to establish a business. Statistics show that 80 per cent of start-ups don’t make it past the first 18 months.

And only four per cent of start-ups make it to 10 years.

To give your business a fighting chance, you have to put in incredibly long hours, risk personal financial ruin, face constant rejection, and make numerous sacrifices.

When you ask, many entrepreneurs will simply tell you “Everything is great.” But the truth is that business owners are almost always dealing with one problem or the other.

For instance, they may be having a tough time hitting product or market fit, can’t seem to get the funding they need or are having difficulties finding the right employees.

Most entrepreneurs don’t like admitting that they’re struggling. They prefer to project an image of invincibility that inspires confidence in their abilities.

All this strain makes entrepreneurship a stressful and lonely journey. It doesn’t matter that we’re in an era of unprecedented social isolation. But hiding your stress and loneliness isn’t a healthy way to deal with them. Here are some tips to help you combat entrepreneur loneliness:

Attend local entrepreneur meetups

A simple search online will bring up entrepreneur meetups in your area. Attending these meetups can be can give you useful, practical advice and support from like-minded people. In such groups, you’re also likely to meet other entrepreneurs with who you can hang out socially.

Once you make a good connection with a couple of entrepreneurs, you can hold weekly catch-ups. Let the catch-ups be a time to share your challenges without judgement.

The best entrepreneurs to connect with are those running similar but non-competing businesses to yours, especially if they’re at a similar stage of their start-up journey to you. Such entrepreneurs are probably also struggling with or have overcome similar changes to you.

Join a co-working space

Being a start-up founder might mean spending a lot of time holed up in your house, especially when your business is online-based. While you won’t have to worry about the stress of daily commute or dressing up for work, social isolation can be depressing.

If you crave daily social interaction, joining a co-working space can be a great solution. There, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with other start-up founders and freelancers. You might even find someone to partner or collaborate with to make your venture even more successful.

You can go to the co-working space once or twice a week, or book a dedicated workstation. Another wonderful benefit of being in a co-working space is that you can use it for meetings with clients. In addition, being surrounded by like-minded people every day will give you a renewed sense of energy.

Consider having a partner

Finding the right business partner is almost like finding a soulmate.

They bring in fresh ideas, more funds, wider connections, and more skills to your venture, increasing the likelihood of success. They also go a long way in helping you avoid and combat founder loneliness.

A business partner is someone who will share the burden of running the business with you. You can talk through difficult situations and bounce ideas off each other to find a solution. And when things are great, you’ll have someone to celebrate with.

With someone you can trust to take care of the business in your absence, you can also take turns getting some time off to rejuvenate and connect with family and friends.

Don’t forget family and friends

While networking with other entrepreneurs is important, don’t forget your family and friends – they’re still your primary support system. Most entrepreneurs are inspired to work hard to provide better lifestyles for their families. You don’t want to lose your family while pursuing money.

Make time in your schedule to hang out with your spouse and children and other family members. Reach out to old friends and even past colleagues. You can set up social activities such as hiking, camping, golfing, or picnics. You can confide your businesses challenges to those that you trust. They may bring new perspectives to help you overcome your challenges.

Set healthy morning and evening routines

As a start-up finder, you can easily find yourself burning your candle at both ends – waking up too early and sleeping late.

This does nothing to help with feelings of loneliness and depression. Setting healthy morning and evening routines may help.

For example, you can set regular sleep and wake times to make sure you get enough sleep. Make your mornings a time to exercise, plan ahead, and learn.

To wind down from the hectic activities of the day, your evenings can be a time to reflect and review your goals, have quality family time, and relax by watching a movie or reading a book.  

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