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How To Overcome The Disconnection of Working Alone

written by John Chow on February 1, 2010

The Ultimate Online Profit Model

The allure of working for yourself and working from home are two of the main upsides to being an entrepreneur and especially a web/tech entrepreneur. However, despite the glowing praise for the flexibility and convenience of working from home, one topic that often gets disregarded is the disconnection many “at home entrepreneurs” feel. While it is nice to be able to roll out of bed into the office in the mornings skipping any sort of morning commute, after a while, working for yourself means working by yourself and this can lead to a sense of disconnection from others. Here are a few ways to avoid this.

Find a Partner

I have been told by countless successful entrepreneurs to never pursue a venture unless you can find one other person who believes in it and is willing to invest their time and money into the idea. While having a partner undoubtedly complicates matters and cuts your ownership of the company in half, having someone to work with you is extremely effective in avoiding any sense of disconnection.

Having a partner who complements your strengths and weaknesses will help your company grow in its earlier stages and increase its chances of thriving in the marketplace for years to come. Unfortunately, finding the right business partner is a complicated process and a subject that hundreds of entrepreneurs and experts have discussed at length in countless articles and books.

Attend Conferences and Network

Every industry has its own conferences. Attending these conferences is a great way to meet like minded individuals with whom you can discuss business issues. Often times, it is hard to connect with people in day to day life as they don’t understand what exactly online entrepreneurs do; however, at conferences you can meet people with similar issues who “get you”.

A simple Google search will get you a list of major conferences in your industry which you can attend. From attending these conferences, you can establish connections with professionals in your area and can organize more informal, yet more frequent, local meet-ups. John’s frequent “Dot Com Phos” is a perfect example.

Talk to your “Statistics”

Often times for web entrepreneurs it comes down to statistics. How many people bought my product? How many people came to my blog? How many new users registered today? While all these stats are just numbers, there are people behind these numbers and taking the time to reach out and interact with these people will not only help you feel more connected, but will also improve your business.

Talking to customers will show you what you are doing right and what can be fixed to increase sales. Talking to blog readers or users will allow you to see what people like and don’t like about your website and discuss any possible adjustments that can be made.

Take a Break

While all of us work under heavy deadlines (even if they are ones we make up for ourselves) it is important to stop every once in a while and take a break. If you have some errands to run, go out and get them done. Eat out at lunch every once in a while or take a 1 hour break to go to the gym. Anything you can do to get away from the computer for a little while will help you stay focused when you are actually working.

Here is more information on why right now is the right time to start a business and how to take advantage of the timing. This post was written by Aditya Mahesh, founder of AMBeat.com, one of the web’s most popular entrepreneurship blogs.

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{ 31 comments }

chester February 1, 2010 at 9:23 am

Personally, I rent a desk outside of my home office and am there a few times a week. Working all the time from home or at a coffee shop sounds great but its nice to have social interaction as well.

fas February 2, 2010 at 6:43 am

Be on social networks then :p

Mid Mo Mortgage February 2, 2010 at 10:31 am

Social network interaction and physical interaction are two very, very, different things :-)

I go to Panera and Starbucks to work a lot. Food is expensive, but it’s nice to get out and see the world!

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Every Tuesday and Friday I hit the coffee shop in our downtown area just to get a different work environment.

Mid Mo Mortgage February 3, 2010 at 8:56 am

Are you really okay with a schedule like that?

I only go on a whim. I’ll pick up my things and run to the coffee shop about 1-2 times a week. But I believe I have ADD so maybe that’s just me :)

VikingBlogger February 1, 2010 at 10:30 am

You got some good points there John. I got a second job, and that helps me stay connected with the outside world.

It’s really hard sometime, since I spend so many hours in front of the computer. One thing though, it’s really important to stay in contact with your friends.

Mid Mo Mortgage February 2, 2010 at 7:30 am

I got a second job too. But then I ended up going back to doing the loner thing after I realized it just wasn’t worth my time. (I worked for about 10 times less money)

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

I could never go back to work again.

SpyGolfer - Spy Golf Blog February 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

I definitely know what you mean John. Were always striving to reach more people on the internet, but sometimes that can cut into reaching people on a personal level. Very insightful.

Dana @ Blogging Update February 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Yeah — and it is surely harm our life in long term, isn’t it?

Bryant Almeida February 1, 2010 at 11:46 am

Another great guest post, John.

It is very important to get out to conferences and meetings, not only to cure the loneliness of working alone, but also to establish connections and network with like-minded individuals.

Too often, people rely on the internet and emails to network when others; there is always something to be said for networking in person, if possible.

Cheap dell laptops February 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

I take a lot of breaks.. thats the main problem with me.. get a backlink.. play some wii.. get another.. play some ps3 :/

S Ahsan February 1, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Try playing 360 once you are done with your stuff! Its not about the resolution, its about whats in your mind and how bad you want it :)

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

I take too many breaks checking my stats

ZK @ Web Marketing Blog February 1, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Talk to statistics is really great … but I will recommend it if your statistics is good enough to motivate you. If not than do not look at this otherwise you will feel more depressed.

max February 1, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Great post, I do a lot of stuff you mentiion here such as attending shows or taking a visit to the coffee shop. I feel more ‘free’ than anything else. Working for yourself is priceless no matter how you do it.

Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach February 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm

For me as a life and business coach, working from home has helped me hone my communication skills. I hear things on the phone that I never heard before – the client’s tone, the pauses, the things unsaid that actually help me be a better coach.

But I do agree that sometimes the isolation can be overwhelming but it is great that you can seek out like minded community.

Thanks

Iyabo Asani

Chris De La Rosa February 1, 2010 at 7:01 pm

10 years plus working by myself from home and it was only the end of last year did I become part of a partnership. I now look forward to our meetings and chats on skype.

I highly recommend forming some sort of partnership.

Dana @ Blogging Update February 1, 2010 at 9:54 pm

The last tips is important — take a break and enjoy the result. :D

Simon Bunker February 2, 2010 at 12:20 am

Some good advice in the post. I believe that you should not neglect the offline networking as it does force you to get out and meet people. I have used this very effectively over the last couple of years and its surprising the business you can get whilst networking offline.

Justin @ Informant Zone! February 2, 2010 at 12:37 am

I sit here and work at home with my wife!

Adwooz February 2, 2010 at 1:05 am

Working at home is the best and the worse scenario for entrepreneur. IMHO time is just one second and no brake.
John what is your experience with partners? Please wife is not partner, sorry :)

somepalli February 2, 2010 at 5:55 am

yes, i think it’s the main problem for online publishers.
it’s harm a lot if we are careless.

Paul B February 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

Join a gym. I do a couple of hours in the gym every morning, it’s sort of like going to work but without the suit. If you go often enough you eventually start to bump into the same people, it’s also a great way of meeting other business owners and maybe talking shop.

Other than that getting out on the beer with mates is good.

Mid Mo Mortgage February 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

Anytime I get done jogging I feel like I can take on the world- really great for motivation. You also feel more energetic the next day.

And I’ll drink a beer or two while working. Just don’t overdo it. Working while drunk can lead to some.. mistakes.

Mid Mo Mortgage February 2, 2010 at 7:31 am

I’m a firm-believer in taking breaks. If it takes a week of relaxing and playing video games all day straight, then so be it. At least at the end of the week you feel refreshed and ready to take on a new load of work.

marita February 2, 2010 at 8:11 am

Nice guest post – and so true! Like Paul B I’ve discovered that going to work out every morning is a great way to counteract that disconnectedness. Plus you have to do something for your body anyway, sitting in front of the computer all day.

But let’s be realistic here: I’ll give up a day job for a bit of isolation and the ‘work’ of having to go out and be social anytime!

Weight Loss Diet Plans February 2, 2010 at 12:06 pm

I probably take too many breaks, but it’s hard to work at a long stretch with my scatterbrain.

Mid Mo Mortgage February 3, 2010 at 8:58 am

Try coffee. Or a Redbull energy drink.

I try not to depend on caffeine because I don’t like the idea of dependency on a drug in order to get through the day. But Mondays and Tuesdays it’s hard to resist!

manager chair February 2, 2010 at 12:31 pm

It’s really difficult to take a break when cranking on an exciting project, but your mental and physical health depend on it!

infopediaonlinehere February 22, 2010 at 5:17 am

True…Frequent breaks are needed for great productivity