Entrepreneur Isolation. It’s a topic that needs to be talked about regularly because all of us are susceptible to it, and of course, the repercussions of it if left to go on for too long, are very real.
It can lead to people having feelings of demotivation, losing that sense of passion for their work, and at worst burnout. In fact, just this week I was listening to one of my favourite podcast hosts who is also a coach for people with anxiety, talking about his experiences of feeling isolated, as a result of working by himself, from home for much of the time, and he made the decision to go into full-time employment again because the isolation became too much and he missed being around a regular group of people that full-time employment can offer.
It’s also a conversation that comes up time and time again in the Happy Healthy Entrepreneur Podcast, so if you’re someone who struggles with the isolation side of being self-employed, please know that you are not alone, but it doesn’t have to be like that, at all, and that is what this video is about. To know about it is to be aware of it, because it’s only when you’re aware of it, that you can begin to put the right steps in place to do something about it. So I’m going to talk about the 3 telltale signs you’re feeling a bit isolated as an entrepreneur, and what you can do about it.
Watch the video here or read transcript below
So when we talk about Entrepreneur Isolation, what we’re really talking about is not getting enough quality attention.
As human beings we’re very much social creatures, now that has varying degrees, some are more social than others, depending on whether you identify as an extrovert or an introvert, but at a fundamental level, we are not designed to be lone creatures, we’ve evolved to hang out in tribes and collectively share skills, ideas, expertise. You’ve heard the expression “it takes a village…” and that’s absolutely true. There is a fundamental and instinctive need within all of us to give and receive quality attention with others, and if that need is not being met, then it will start to seep out in unhelpful ways.
The thing is as human beings, we’re very resilient and resourceful, and so we will always seek to get our emotional needs met. The question is whether those needs are being met in healthy and appropriate ways.
You may remember at school, there was often someone in the class who would be disruptive, or act as the “class laugh” that behaviour is just a human being trying to get their need for attention met, that they are perhaps not getting met in other ways. You may see older people sometimes in supermarkets who are talking to the cashier for just a little bit too long and internally you’re thinking “come on, move along now”. Again, that’s an example of someone quite instinctively, seeking to get their attention needs met, because other more appropriate ways, may not be available to them.
So we can spot it in others, the important thing is to spot in within ourselves because when we can do that, we can easily begin to correct it.
How to check whether you are getting your needs met for attention in healthy and appropriate ways, and how you can spot when you’re not.
#1. Client sessions, meetings, and interactions are 100%… about your clients
The very first one to be aware of is talking about yourself just a little bit too much when you are with clients, customers, patients – the people you are there to serve. Whether you’re a consultant, coach, therapist, or in any industry where you are providing a service, if you notice that you’re holding the spotlight on yourself, quite innocently, then it’s time to pull yourself back. It’s a bit like driving 35mph in a 30 zone, you might not be aware you are doing it at first, but as soon as you do, you slow it down.
When you are serving a client or customers those interactions are 100% about the client. Yes, you might use an anecdote or example from your own life experiences, to demonstrate a point you are making, but check in with yourself that you are doing it for the right reasons, that it’s being done purely for their benefit.
We cannot and must not get our attention needs met from our clients. That time is for them to get their attention needs met, we need to get that emotional nutrition from some other means.
#2. Is your marketing content for your audience or for you?
The second sign that you’re maybe not getting enough of the right attention is how you conduct yourself in your marketing. When you put a post out on social media, are you finding that you’re checking for likes or comments as some kind of recognition? I’m asking this as a moment for you to reflect in a really non-judgemental way. You’re human. If you are, it might a sign that you’re trying to get your need for attention and recognition but just looking in the wrong places, that’s all. Just like client sessions and client meetings, the purpose of those is to 100% to serve our clients, it’s the same with marketing; is the content that you are putting out there 100% helpful and useful for your clients.
Is it about you or is it about them?
I know many of us write blogs and record videos, and sometimes we tell stories, anecdotes and use examples from our own life, experiences, and learning.
I want to say here there is a very fine line, between a piece of content that artfully does that job well and is 100% focused on being useful to its audience and then something that’s still beautifully and thoughtfully put together, but really serves better as something that would be better placed in a journal, as part of that person’s own personal development journey.
It’s a really fine line, almost invisible, and it’s very innocent when it happens, but the question to ask every single time you put something out there is does this piece of content belong more in my journal or on the website? For whose benefit is this for? Am I posting this because I want the ‘likes’, or I want to help?
For me or for them?
#3. Networking is (actually) all about other people!
And finally, another place you may notice it showing up is when you go networking. Now, this is a sneaky one, because you might think to yourself, hmm I really need some social interaction – I know, I’ll go networking. But as enticing as it is, networking is not the place to go to get your own attention needs met.
But what is the point of networking? Well, to make friends with other like-minded business folk, form collaborations, swap ideas, thoughts, advice, and yes, the business may well come of that. One of the best ways to achieve that is to ask questions, listen to others, be curious to learn and get to know people. It’s not an opportunity to talk about yourself for very long. We’ve all been at an event where we feel very much talked at, it’s uncomfortable and unattractive. The person doing it probably has no idea they are doing it, they are innocently and unconsciously trying to get their attention needs met.
Would you like 15 Quick & Easy Ways To Overcome Entrepreneur Isolation?
So I hope that’s been useful, and given you something to reflect on so that if you recognize any of this within yourself, you can begin to correct it.
What we’re really talking about here is whether the day to day activities that you are involved in whether it’s client sessions, networking, writing content, are you engaging in them for the right reasons, for the purpose in which they are intended? Or are you unintentionally using them as an opportunity to get your needs for attention met?
If it’s the latter, then I’ve created something just for you that can really help you to start fixing that right away and start feeling more fulfilled and less isolated in your business.
It’s a one-page PDF with 15 Quick & Easy Ways To Overcome Entrepreneur Isolation. These are real practical steps you can put in place right away. To get your hands on that, just fill in your details just here, and you’ll get access to it straight away.
Yes, it’s very easy to slip into isolation as a business owner or solo entrepreneur, but the good news is once you understand how to spot the early warning signs as I’ve talked about it, you’ll find that entrepreneur isolation really can become a thing of the past, and not only that, you’ll be able to spot it in others too and potentially help them out as well.
So that’s it from me, remember to grab your 15 Quick & Easy Ways To Overcome Entrepreneur Isolation to really get you started with some practical ideas, and I will see you again soon. Bye for now.