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The Loneliness of the Self Employed

I went full-time as a self-employed person about 2 years ago, and I can testify first-hand to how lonely a career it can be. Being a freelancer/self-employed person usually means you work from home alone, and some days can be a lot harder than others, even for the introverts.

 

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I have always been an introvert, I am very comfortable being by myself, and I do enjoy being alone most of the time. But sometimes I miss the chit-chat and the buzz that goes on in a regular workplace; being able to have meetings, bounce off ideas, and just the usual office banter. Just so you know, I was not a fan of any of these things when I had my normal job, but I guess sometimes we humans miss things we don’t have, even if we don’t really like it. Why we do, I don’t know, we just do.

The loneliness of being a freelancer is real, so I won’t advise anyone who enjoys being in the company of others to go self-employed, except you have a form of working arrangement that involves working or meeting regularly with other self-employed people in your niche.

There are ways to deal with the loneliness and frustrations of the self-employed world, here is how I deal with them –

 

Have a sounding board

Having a sounding board is very important when you are self-employed. A sounding board is someone you trust who would listen to your achievements, frustrations, and just someone you can have a chat with about your work, and who can offer you good advice as well. The more sounding boards you have, the better. I have one main sounding board, and a few others. They all help keep me sane. Whenever I feel like having a rant, I know I can trust them to listen. It also feels great to share milestones and achievements with them.

 

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Take regular breaks

Regular breaks are very important when you work alone from home, because you can easily find yourself working continuously on your coach, without taking a break for hours. Taking breaks means you get to do other things which is great for your mental health and fitness life. Taking regular breaks also means you can leave the house for a walk, which is great because you get to interact with others while you are at it.

I try to go for long walks everyday, and I love how fit I am. My Fitbit stats speak for itself.

 

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Working in coffee shops

Working in coffee shops also help combat the loneliness and isolation. I personally find working in coffee shops very distracting, so I tend not to do this, but I know many who do and enjoy it.

 

Joining Facebook groups and Twitter chats

I have joined a couple of Facebook blogging and freelance groups, and I also try to take part in as many Twitter chats as I can. These groups and chats help combat the isolation.

 

Overall, working from home works well for me. I won’t change my flexible working conditions for anything, but some days I need to have my Spotify playlists on repeat to get rid of the silence.

 

Do you work from home? How do you deal with the loneliness?

 

 

 

 

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32 responses

  1. Yes I understand introverted. People are often surprised to hear that of me. I am very sociable however I do prefer being home on my own or/and with my Hubby.

    I never realised this about myself as when the children were young I didn’t get the opportunities to have solitude.

    If we have company or go to family a couple of hours is enough for me.

    Fortunately for me what I do does involve a level of meetings and presentations so I do have to socialise at all levels.

    Yes I love to sit in coffee shops and observe. Though I do hate it if someone comes in I know.

    It’s very easy to isolate if you don’t have an awareness of yourself.

    Good blog topic and thought provoking. Yes we all need mentors

  2. Congratulations on being so successful and self-employed. I have considered becoming self employed in a few years but I guess these points are something to bear in mind. I do really appreciate having lunch with my colleagues at the moment.

  3. Some great ways to stop yourself from feeling lonely. When I worked alone, I would spend some time working in co-working spaces like the Google Hub in East London. It was great meeting with people from different industries.

  4. I’m an introvert myself, so the loneliness doesn’t really get to me. Normally I am looking for more quiet. My husband is retired military so he is home all day, it never fails that when I start working he decides he wants to talk about things. These are some good ideas for dealing with the loneliness if it gets to you.

  5. I can’t say I ever felt lonely when working from home – I loved the solitude, if I am honest. However, I rarely took any substantial breaks, often just eating at my desk, so being reminded of the importance of regular breaks is a great tip!

  6. This post is so helpful,especially for an introvert. I do love being around certain people and miss being in an office setting as well.

    I just started going to the coffee shop a few weeks ago and sometimes it’s distracting .

  7. I can totally relate to this post as I also work from home. It’s hard not having a lot of company but I always try and take time out to see friends when possible and work from a coffee shop now and then. I’m lucky that I tend to do a bit of travelling too which makes things quite exciting! xo

  8. I sort of understand although I work in an office during the week, I work from home on weekends and it’s tough. I would want to work from home someday (working towards that) but I would also make time to hang out with fellow bloggers and attend events and conferences that always helps not to feel so lonely.

  9. I’m not self-employed and doesn’t appeal to me for this reason. I like being around others too much. It’s a very brave step, and does look like many ways to deal with it though; strategies you have discovered x

  10. I work from home too, but I quite enjoy it. I find I get distracted easily when there are others around. I do find, like you, that it is important to have a couple of sounding boards (plus sometimes I just want to run my content by someone before I post it!) The thing that does bug me sometimes though is that people tend to think that because I work from home I somehow have spare time during the day to do random things like go, shopping, out for coffee or lunch, when the reality is I’m up working at around 6am and usually clock at least 10 hours of work time…

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