Do you remember the excitement you felt when you initially came up with your brilliant business idea, and decided that it could actually be good enough to pursue full-time? When you realized that, “Maybe I could even earn a living from this?!”
I’m sure you will agree; it was beautiful.
No one was going to hold you back. You were unstoppable. You were sure that your invention or idea was going to be successful, impactful, and that friends and family would rally behind you with only good things to say.
I certainly felt that way when I started So Worth Loving, a clothing and lifestyle brand, in 2011. Let’s be honest; one of these thoughts has crossed your mind too.
But we weren’t completely naive. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and that there would be bumps in the road. Though, we didn’t realize the loneliness that started to sprout up in our heart would stay and then grow.
The Business of Loneliness
I ultimately have a strong support network of friends and family who have offered encouragement and advice at all the right times. But sometimes it feels like loneliness is the one consistent friend in your life when pursuing your own endeavor.
Loneliness is reading over your shoulder at an email bearing bad news. It is hovering over your creativity and brainstorming sessions. It is often there when you need someone to say “Keep going, you are doing such a good job!”
It is even keeping you company when you’re working alone at home, or when you grab a bite to eat for lunch. As a startup and often on the journey of entrepreneurship, loneliness is ever looming.
Don’t Feed the Fears
When you experience loneliness it’s really easy to hate the circumstances you are in. It’s easy to let doubt creep in too, and you think: “Maybe this isn’t a good idea anymore.”
“What was I thinking?”
“Is it worth it?”
“If ____ was like ____ then I wouldn’t feel this way and I would be happy.”
We feed these emotions and this thought pattern becomes second nature to us. The self-doubt and loneliness then starts to impact our performance and as a result, we feel even worse because we allowed that to happen. Next thing we know we are in a slump.
However, I’m learning that we can find contentment and peace wherever we are in life. Our outlook is what makes us or breaks us. Our state of mind has potential of impacting our creativity and our business, so we have to be careful not to let negativity take over.
4 Tips to Stay Encouraged
Think about it for a second; how many people do you know that are courageous enough to pursue something they love and believe in? It takes immense determination and bravery.
Here are four things that have helped me stay encouraged in business:
I started to engage more and more with community during my time of loneliness as a startup entrepreneur and realized I am not alone, there isn’t anything wrong with me, and it is normal to have the tendencies to feel the way I do. Once my insecurities were validated by the people around me, I was able to control them much better. I was able to recognize why I felt this way, confirm it and move through it.
Practice intentionality and positivity.
Every morning I make an intentional decision that “today is going to be a good day”. I know that I have a tendency to feel lonely and there’s the possibility of it limiting my vision and productivity. So, I sit down for 15 minutes and plan my day. I am not a structured planner, but I have found that knowing what I am going to do through-out the course of my day helps me to not have time to feel lonely.
Network, engage and invest.
Engage with others in what they are doing. Ask questions. The more you learn about others the more you aren’t prone into bringing up and discussing all of your problems and frustrations that you’re having with your own startup. Instead, I try to share one thing that I am learning and am proud of.
Looking for opportunities to be involved with a non-profit or community through volunteering allowed me to not be isolated and meant I could give back. Being a solo entrepreneur means it can easily become the “me show”. Finding community and getting involved has allowed me to feel significant outside of my immediate vocation.
I’m still learning how to be a successful and connected entrepreneur, but whatever you’re doing, keep going! Reach out and connect with those around you, share ideas and don’t give up. Loneliness doesn’t have to be your constant companion, and if it does visit once in a while, that’s okay too.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Social entrepreneur and creative, Eryn Eddy Erickson is the founder of So Worth Loving– a lifestyle clothing brand. Since it’s start in 2011, SWL has grown into a notable company that has sold to all 50 states, 24 countries, and continues to garner a growing presence of over 40,000 across social media channels. Connect with @soworthloving on Twitter.