I love working from home. The freedom and flexibility, as well as being able to choose my clients and projects, lights me up. But sometimes working from home all the time can get lonely, especially when the people in your life don't understand the entrepreneurial journey.
Over time, I've learned that even though I'm an introvert, I still need to connect with people and build relationships. And while one day, I would love to have a team working with me, for now I'm focusing on the connections I can make as a solopreneur.
- Make time for connecting with your real life friends. When you're working for yourself and you're trying to do it all, it's easy to push relationships to the side. You know that your friends and family will always be around, so you don't make it a priority to spend time with them on a regular basis. But if you're feeling disconnected and lonely, it's important to continue building those real life relationships. Find a time to go to coffee with a friend or attend social events with your Sunday School class. Sometimes you'll have to pull yourself away from work, but it's always worth the time you're investing.
- Set up Coffee Chats with other creative business owners. I've recently starting forcing myself to reach out to other people in the creative community for connection and friendship. These are the people who understand the struggles you face as a business owner and want to support you as you grow your business. Even if you aren't currently connected to the online community, join a Facebook group and mention that you want to connect. There are lots of people out there who will jump on a Skype call with you just to chat.
- Attend networking events and meet ups. Networking events can be intimidating, especially if you're going to your local Chamber of Commerce meetings. While you can get to know people and make connections, many of the people attending are working for a business, not running their own. I've found much more success going to local creative meet ups, like The Rising Tide Society's Tuesdays Together, or reaching out to people in Facebook groups to see if there are people local to me. This can be a great way to build friendships with other entrepreneurs.
When I first started connecting with the creative community, I thought that I was supposed to sell my services all the time. I've come to learn that even if someone is never going to hire you, it's worth taking the time to build relationships so that you can be supported as you grow your business. So if you feel like you always have to sell yourself (especially if that feels inauthentic), take a step back and try connecting just to get to know other people. You never know where it may lead.
Lemon and the Sea is a branding and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creatives who enjoy being involved in every step of the process to help them update their brand and website so that it better reflects who they are and what they do. From logo and collateral design to Squarespace websites, I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into their what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a brand that represents them.