Feeling Isolated in your Self-employment? Let’s talk about the cure.

Why co-working solves isolation

Are you feeling isolated in your self-employment?

Do you miss having a place to GO to do your work? Someplace that isn’t your kitchen table, guest bedroom, or dining room that serves as your makeshift office? 

Me too. 

Working by yourself can be so hard. 

Sometimes I just want a space where I can show up, work around other people – but not necessarily WITH other people – so I don’t feel alone.

I can go to a coffee shop or my local physical co-working space, but there is a problem with that. 

Mostly, I want to work in silence. I don’t always want to be social. 

I have introverted tendencies, and the idea of being around chatty people in noisy spaces drains me (even as I write this). A lot of solopreneurs feel this…maybe it’s true for you, too. 

How I stopped feeling so isolated 

A woman isolated in her self-employment

The idea of working alone…together came to me in 2015. 

I was taking an online course that had a lot of techy components that were confusing for me. 

After spending several hours trying to figure out a critical integration, I asked for help in the course community chat. Almost 30 people responded that they were stuck on the same problem. 

It was that moment when I realized we could work together to figure it out — saving time and frustration for all of us.

So I invited them all to co-work with me for 2-hours that week. 

We met on Zoom and worked through the integration together. We worked, we shared resources, gave instant tutorials, and shared stories. It was magic! During those two hours, I felt alive and revived in my belief that my business dreams could become a reality. 

I didn’t feel so isolated in my self-employment. And neither did they.

It turned out to be my first virtual co-working/accountability event. 

We started meeting in this way weekly for a few hours. 

I realized that I was MUCH more productive and happier on the days that I co-worked with these people. 

And so were they.

The value of not being isolated in your self-employment

Working together…alone is powerful. Knowing that another human being working on the other side of the computer monitor is enough to motivate and encourage – especially on those days when you just wanted to give up. (You’ve had those days too, no?) 

The value of working alone 

For all the good that is developed by working with others, I can’t ignore that working alone is also powerful. 

So powerful that a lot of us quit our J.O.B.S. so that we could work on our own. 

We shifted our lives and lifestyle to accommodate this crazy notion of self-employment so we could be our own boss. 

As solopreneurs, we are in control of everything in our business.

  • Who we work with 
  • How much we charge 
  • The products we offer 
  • Music or silence
  • Temperature control
  • What we wear 
  • The hours we work …and on and on 

It is incredible to have all of this control…AND…if you’ve been doing it long enough, you certainly know there are some serious drawbacks when you are isolated in your self-employment. 

Distractions are everywhere 

There’s rarely anyone to support or encourage you 

It’s hard to complete your to-do list every day 

You get no feedback on your work

You have no one to be accountable to  

There’s no one around who understands what you are doing or going through 

Frequently you have no idea if you’re doing the right thing 

Am I right?! 

So let’s talk about how you can blend the values of working alone…together. 

The cure for isolation in your self-employment

1: Grab a friend or 2…or more 

2: Use a live streaming video platform 

3: Schedule some time to co-work 

4: Go 

It is that easy… but… 

For some, these steps might have some challenges, so let’s make it easy for everyone. 

Challenge #1: You don’t have friends working in the online space yet (Or at least no one you know well enough to ask to co-work with you virtually) 

You can find people to co-work within the courses you are taking, Facebook Groups, Pinterest groups, and the like. 

Other people feel just as isolated as you, and they’d jump at the chance to co-work…all you have to do is ask. 

Challenge #2: You don’t have a platform you can use. 

If you don’t already have one, create an account on Skype, Zoom*, and Join.me, which are free options, or for a paid option, you could use the GoToMeeting platform.

All of these platforms allow you to work alongside others on camera and with or without audio. 

*If you have more than one other person on a Zoom free account, your co-working session will automatically cut off after 40 minutes. 

Challenge #3: You don’t have time to figure out a schedule for co-working 

Trying to schedule anything when you’re self-employed is hard…you never know what’s coming up next. 

However, if you have a well-planned to-do list {link to B#009}, you should have no problem carving out time. 

Pick a time and date that works for you, and your people will join you if they can.

Challenge #4: You can’t set this up because you already have too much going on.

Find an existing co-working group or mastermind that connects other people who feel isolated in their self-employment. 

The benefit here is the host takes care of everything. They pay for the hosting, do all the scheduling, send out the reminders, and take care of everything. All you have to do is show up. 

The easy solution 

I have a group just like that, and I’d love for you to join us!.

Virtual co-working is how I deal with my isolation and entrepreneurial loneliness. How about you?

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