The loneliness of the startup entrepreneur

The loneliness of the startup entrepreneur

Imagine being able to work from home full time and start your entrepreneurial business. Most people dream of being able to be their own boss – having your own business and making all executive decisions is very empowering. But are you actually ready for absolutely everything that might get thrown your way when you enter the life of an entrepreneur?

Starting Vela was an exciting part of my life, and even though I was able to map out the road ahead quite clearly, there was something I forgot to consider along the way. Being an entrepreneur and owning your business means you have to be ready for some serious work, but no one told me about the essential part of every entrepreneurship – the loneliness.

That’s right – your first few months might seem incredibly lonely, and this is the part that appears to take the toll on most young entrepreneurs. When you’re trying to figure out your business plan, set your workflow, get more clients and just basically devote your life to your business, your social life will take a step back. It is easy to lose yourself in the working environment and most entrepreneurs, including myself, can tell you they’ve been there too.

Psychological effects of being an entrepreneur

The most difficult thing about owning a startup isn’t the work – it’s the psychological effects that come with it. In an interview with Business Insider, Jonathan Hefter, the CEO of Neverware, shared his struggles of starting a business. “Starting Neverware as a sole founder was the most isolating experience of my life,” he says and mentions the struggles of having to deal with sole failure were a lot harder to get over.

Brian Bordainick, the CEO of Dinner Lab, also remembers his early years as an entrepreneur. He stresses the importance of being present on your journey instead of losing yourself – the stress might cost you your business.  Make sure you surround yourself with people who love you even outside of your business – those are the people that will be there during the darkest times of your journey. As an entrepreneur, your life changes with the growth of your company and sometimes it’s the mind and your lifestyle that struggle to keep up with the change. You will be so focused on your work you will forget to sleep, yet alone do anything else. This sudden change can cause stress and even anxiety.

No one ever told me that the road of entrepreneurship could be incredibly lonely.  I wasn’t told that I’d have days when I would just want to quit everything because things will get overwhelming. I didn’t even know you can go a whole week without speaking to anyone because you’re so focused on your tasks.

How to combat loneliness and take time out

It will be very easy to lose yourself in your work and completely forget about the outside world – don’t fall for it. Always make sure you stay present and take time out when needed. Here are some daily things you can do to benefit your overall health during your journey as an entrepreneur:

  • Morning and evening meditation – I love the Headspace app! Just 10 minutes a day does the trick and their ‘sleep’ exercise is amazing for banishing away any insomnia.
  • Journal your thoughts – Apart from using a regular notebook, task managers like Trello are perfect for storing your thoughts and allowing you to prioritise over what’s important.
  • Exercise – If you don’t have time to hit the gym, a simple HIIT session does the trick. There are apps like Seven that allow you to put in just 7 minutes of exercise into your daily life – a perfect way to declutter your mind!
  • Call your loved ones and share your success (and failures) – Don’t bottle it all in!
  • Catch up with other entrepreneurs – Get a mentor, but also be a mentor. It’ll boost your confidence and give you several valuable business lessons.
  • Set a daily priority list of your tasks – Again, Trello or any other task management app is perfect for that. Write down 3 things you need to do the next day before you head to sleep.
  • Make sure you get enough sleep – There are several sleep cycle apps that allow you to get into a good sleeping habit – aim for at least 7 hours and make sure you turn off your electronics at least 1 hour before you go to sleep.

Don’t forget – always take a step back and appreciate what you’re doing. You’re building something new, something amazing. It’s not easy – far from that. There will be failures and you will have days when you feel like you’re completely crazy. Don’t worry – it’s all a part of this amazing journey.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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