When you start your business after having worked for years in an office surrounded by other people, the shift to working from home alone can be a traumatic one. No man or woman should be an island.
There’s no one to join you for lunch, no one to bounce ideas off and debrief the frustrating conversation with a stubborn vendor and no one is holding you accountable to get the work done except you.
It’s easy to start feeling deserted and isolated but thankfully there are several strategies to avoid this feeling. No only are these strategies easy but they are actually good for your business!
Here are six simple tips to help you avoid being an island when working from home:
An accountability partner is someone you share your goals, tasks and deadlines with on a weekly or daily basis and they hold you accountable for meeting or completing them.
Be sure to choose someone who is available and willing to play this role (often you are one another’s accountability buddy).
Avoid picking someone who will not buy into your stories or justifications and let you off the hook when you haven’t kept your commitments. You may want to hire a business coach for this role.
The Mastermind group I recommend for accountability has between 4 and 12 members whose purpose for meeting is to keep everyone in the group accountable and moving forward.
This type of group is free and it’s self-led. Weekly meetings, either in-person, via phone or webinar are recommended.
The purpose of a Mastermind group is similar to that of having an accountability partner, but in a group setting there are more people to hold you accountable and contribute to your forward progress by sharing insights, resources and support.
These types of groups works best if all members are self-employed but they do not need to be in the same profession.
Networking keeps you visible and is a great marketing activity, but it also gives you a break from being at home alone all the time. Look for a variety of networking groups. I suggest joining no more than one leads group because of the time and lead generation commitment required. You can join an unlimited number of other groups as long as you are meeting prospects and not just socializing.
Normally you will join the larger organization and then attend the local chapter meetings monthly.
Industry organizations are a great way to connect and network with others in your profession to learn about advances, trends, resources and possibly refer business to one another.
Schedule an hour every week to either call or meet with a current or former client; a colleague who is doing something interesting; or a professional in your area you want to get to know better.
Aside from keeping you connected to your community, this strategy also broadens your network.
Take your laptop to Starbucks, Panera Bread, or even the local library just one day a week to handle e-mail, write your newsletter or design a new line of business to feel like you are part of the world and not isolated in your home.
Be sure to find an environment that is productive for you. Some people may find the conversation in a coffee shop to be too distracting for them so the local library is a better option. Others may find that same conversation to be invigorating and the silence in the library too boring.
One of my clients goes to her husband’s office every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon and works in their boardroom. She likes the feel of being in an office environment and that she and her hubby can have lunch together twice a week.
Working from home doesn’t have to feel like being trapped on a deserted island. The next time you start feeling like Gilligan or the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island or Tom Hank’s character in Castaway, use one or more of the strategies above and sail to populated shores!
© Leah Grant Enterprises LLC.