When you tell people you have your own business, they immediately respond with “The flexible schedule must be great!” “It’s awesome to be your own boss right?” “The opportunities for learning are endless!” But there’s another side to it that no one talks about.
When I started my business, I too thought of all the benefits, and the only cons I could think of was long hours, stress and pressure, but I had no idea how lonely it would be.
I’m lucky to have married a great husband before I embarked on this journey, because I would’ve suffered a great deal if no one came home in the evenings to keep me company.
So after trying the 9-5 work life I realised that I wanted something else, so I was immediately sold on the idea of starting my own business, regardless of the sacrifices I would have to make. But what really sold it for me in the end was the ability to use my skills and expertise to help other people grow their businesses. So before I knew it I was doing my own thing, working from home and growing my business.
But this soon became bland, because while everyone else is out partying and travelling, I’m working.
The longer I hustled, the lonelier it got. You see, when work is a priority above anything else, your relationships begin to deteriorate. Because I no longer plan social gatherings in advance, I’ll make plans the day before or on the day. And to be quite frank, I don’t blame them for considering me as a Plan B or last resort friend, because I would’ve done the same if I were them. In the beginning I was foolish enough to think I could manage both, so I’d agree to do things with friends, only to cancel it the night before because I had too much work to do.
And when I did take the time to meet with friends, it would result in difficult conversations that didn’t want to flow. They were short, either they didn’t know what to say when I spoke about my startup, or my mind would daze off thinking about things that excite me.
I never thought of how lonely it would be, until this past week. I felt isolated, alone. When my husband came home from work at around 7 or 8, he would be tired, so we’d have dinner and go to bed. I envy him when he talks about his social interactions at work and the things they do. I miss having likeminded people around me that have similar interests.
I’ve tried connecting with likeminded people, but I am yet to find a group or community where conversations click. I’m sure many entrepreneurs struggle with loneliness too, but they’re too busy to notice, util they have take a moment to recollect their thoughts and notice the loneliness lingering in the back of their minds.
I’m yet to find a solution to the isolation. Because at this stage my lie is filled with the company of about 5 people, including my husband and parents. And I’m sure this can’t be healthy.
So to all the aspiring entrepreneurs, be aware of this con, because it impacts your wellbeing greatly. Contact with clients and direct family is not enough. I’m still getting used to people’s way of life in the startup world. But hopefully I’ll be able to build new connections and boost my work productivity (maybe get my creative juices flowing for writing too).