Life as a small business owner can sometimes be lonely, especially if you work from home or as a sole trader.
While some people may think it is all flexible hours and working in your pyjamas (which is a nice perk), that’s not actually the full picture of what being a one-person operation is actually like.
At times, a lack of interaction with others or feeling housebound can start to play on your wellbeing and feelings of isolation or loneliness can set in. This aloneness can seem even more acute when you haven’t been making your usual outings, due to factors such as COVID lockdowns or restrictions.
We’ve put together these tips to help you overcome any feelings of isolation. Not only will they give you a boost and some much needed interaction, but they will also have some positive impacts on your business too.
Try a co-working space
Co-working spaces can provide you with a much needed change of scenery and the chance to interact with other local business owners. Even spending one day a fortnight at a co-working space can be beneficial in preventing feelings of isolation.
There are a number of co-working spaces around Perth that can provide you with a place to work (NB: you may need to book in first or pay a small fee, so make sure you check before turning up). Many of these spaces offer not just a place to park yourself and your laptop, but meeting rooms, event spaces and the all-important access to coffee.
Your local council or library may also offer co-working spaces for business owners, so take a moment to see what services they offer. If you live in a local government area which is part of our Small Business Friendly Local Government program, they may also offer you access to a range of other events and facilities too.
Finally, don’t forget your local neighbourhood café. You can be working side by side with others while putting money back into another small business (just remember to invest in food and beverages if you are settling in for a while!).
Join an industry association or networking group
While social media has changed the way we think about networking, there is a great deal of value that can be had from participating in face-to-face networking events. Joining an industry association, your local Chamber of Commerce or business network can give you an opportunity to meet and get to know other professionals in your industry, raise your profile and could lead to business referrals or other opportunities.
If your business and family demands mean it isn't easy for you to get out and about, out virtual networking group I'm a small business owner in Western Australia is also a good place to share ideas and seek feedback in a supportive environment.
Learn something new
Undertaking regular learning and development won’t just get you out of the house, it can also help you learn new skills for the benefit of your business and help keep you at the top of your game. Professional development doesn’t have to be costly, we offer a great range of workshops available for free across the State.
If you decide to join an industry association or network group, they may also offer a range of professional development and learning opportunities.
Put aside some time for your non-work life
Whether it’s catching a movie, going out for coffee with friends or attending a group exercise class, having a few social activities scheduled into your calendar each week can help you beat feelings of isolation and will also give you something to look forward to. It can provide a much needed break from thinking about your business or being tempted to check your work email outside office hours.
Talk to someone
It may sound corny, but a problem shared is a problem halved. In business, you can face a number of challenges so speaking about any problems can help. Whether it is a fellow small business owner or a professional councillor, if you are feeling like things are getting the better of you, make the time to talk to someone.
If you are worried about how your business is tracking or involved in a business dispute, you can contact our business advisory service for free help and advice.
For more tips on managing your wellbeing as a business owner, as well as the support services available to help businesses that may be experiencing financial difficulties, visit our managing stress and anxiety page.