My Start-Up Journey #2 – Coping With Loneliness

I sent this to the Guardian Small Business Network some time ago. Not sure if they ever used it or ever will so I thought why not put it on my own turf, right?

Hi there,

My name is Steph and I’m a #WhatNext Coach for young professionals who want to find or create their most fulfilling life and career paths.

I started my business What Next, Coach?full-time earlier this year and one of my first realisations was how much of a lonely journey entrepreneurship naturally is. I live by myself so I’m no stranger to the quietness of my space but I felt loneliest in the moments when I needed someone to exchange ideas with.

Having recently left full-time corporate employment, where work socials, team meetings and coffee breaks with colleagues were the norm, I could feel a gaping hole once I started my entrepreneurial journey and I soon had to find ways to replicate and maintain human interaction and combat loneliness:

  • I joined networks that regularly held events for business owners or my target audience. These events represented my work socials and gave me something to look forward to.
  • I leverage on the time of my close friends. I created a sort of “advisory group of friends” who I can call up for a chat but also ask for their thoughts on my ideas. They’re usually able to give me solid counsel which helps me clarify my next steps.
  • I make solitude my friend. If there are no events coming up or friends are too busy when needed, I term those occasions as ‘the building moments’. These moments make for great thinking time and you’d be amazed what you can come up with. TIP: Pen all your discoveries down and they’ll build up an inspiration file for you to dig into at other times.
  • Social media is an element of your social life. My business accounts are very active on social media and I often use them to interact with my target audience and competitors. It also allows me to lend my unique voice to relevant conversations and positively exposes me to likeminded people. Many a coffee dates and collaborations have resulted from this! TIP: LinkedIn is great for getting your business voice out there as it’s actually less noisy than Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. Obviously, this depends on what kind of business you have but you get my drift.

Hoping this helps other entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs dealing with this on their own journeys!

Stephanie Onwunali

#WhatNext Coach

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