As a self-employed person I spend a lot of time on my own, even when my husband is working from home we work in different parts of the house. Whilst I love my own company and am more than happy spending time on my own, in fact I seek it out when I’m not working, the truth is self-employed life can be quite isolating. There are no water cooler moments, nobody to bounce ideas off, talk to about what you got up to over the weekend or to moan to when things aren’t going great. I was talking to a client this morning and we were saying how when none of your friends are self-employed, they don’t quite get some of the challenges small business owns face.
I’m a big advocate for self-care and well being (hence why I am doing a therapeutic coaching course) so I thought that this week I’d share with you some of the things I do to help with the feelings of being out there alone.
Get out of the house.
Personally, I love spending time at my co-working space. I don’t even speak to loads of people when I am there just having other people around me and having the odd bit of chit chat can do wonders for my creativity. My co-workspace is a train ride away from where I live and I absolutely love that time doing the commute, reading my book, maybe working, or just watching the world go by in peace.
If you can’t afford a regular co-working space, I find that I get the same benefits from working from my local coffee shop.
Clients you connect with
Have clients that you get on with and feel at ease with. I have one client in particular who if we have a work call planned and she asks how I am I know I can give her the no holds barred truth and to be honest it is a tonic. We are all human and when the going gets tough I want clients that I can explain that to, who will understand, not ones where I have to put on a front and pretend everything is great whilst in reality things may be collapsing round my ears or feel overwhelming (but that might just be my personality authenticity is one of my core values)
Exercise doesn’t have to be going to a gym or pounding the streets running it can be dancing around your kitchen, going for a walk on your lunch break or joining your local salsa class. Whilst exercise won’t necessarily give you more people to talk to (unless you do go to a gym or join a running club) it does wonders to increase endorphins and lift your moos.
Whether in person or online networking is a good way to meet people in the same boat as you. Personally, I hate traditional networking, the thought of having to stand and do my elevator pitch gives me the ick and stand on the edge of conversations of people I don’t know leads me to break out in a cold sweat. But I have found that I do love informal networking, the sort that is just a group of self-employed people having a coffee and a catch up. Formal networking works for lots of people but I struggle with things that are heavily structured and prefer to get to know people more so than I want to know their business I prefer that to come naturally further down the line. What ever sort of networking you like find a group that works for you whether online and or in person.
Listen to podcasts.
There are podcasts that I listen to every week, and they have become a big part of what keeps me sane when I’m alone day in day out. They keep me entertained, educate me, and make me laugh. Whilst not the same as having colleagues it’s nice to hear the familiar voices. For the record, some of my faves are Selfcare Club Pod, My Therapist Ghosted Me, Spencer and Vogue, How to Fail, Big Fish, Beyond the Bathroom and Spinning Plates.
This sort of ties into networking but I’m in two groups Doing it for the Kids and Good Business UK. DIFTK is for self-employed parents and has a brilliant community on the Circle platform. In the group people ask for advice, find other freelancers to work with, arrange meet ups and there is even a section where people can share fun stuff, another where people can discuss their lunch and so on. Earlier this year I attend a meet up that they hosted up in Manchester which led me to meeting Gaby from Good Business.
Good Business UK is another group I am in. There is a WhatsApp group filled with other self-employed people, online co-working, accountability calls, online courses, and advice on everything from finance to social media and I even get a monthly business glow up call to help with any business niggles I might be having,
Finally embrace the positives and enjoy the flexibility that self-employment brings. If you want to work in your PJ’s, you can (I don’t) , if you want a longer lunch break or to take some time out and -catch up in the evening instead that’s your choice. Whilst it can be isolating self-employment has some great perks and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What helps you when working alone?
Rebecca Slater is a PR Consultant with more than 20 years public relations experience. She is based in Staffordshire and provides support to businesses all over the country.
Find out more at www.beckandcallpr.co.uk or email email@example.com