Written by Laura Yeo, Founder of Young Entrepreneurs of England
No one really prepares you for the journey, social media has seemingly put a filter over the reality of entrepreneurship, and we are bombarded with posts of ‘overnight’ successes, flashy cars and fancy events.
We don’t realise just how much time we spend sitting alone in front of the computer. Spending time with yourself is not a bad thing. Relying on yourself to make decisions is not a bad thing. Spending every waking hour working on your business without coming up for air is definitely not a good thing.
Loneliness leads to depression, stress, anxiety and can cause a range of mental illnesses. In the past 2 years we have had to work from home, distant ourselves from family and friends, no touch anyone, we are now, whether we admit it or not more distant and lonelier than ever before. With the world becoming ever more virtual, our daily lives are spent with less and less human contact. We are becoming a society of virtual residents.
So why can entrepreneurship be lonely?
You take the ‘road less travelled’
Despite the spike of entrepreneurs in the past ten years, entrepreneurship is still considered to be an unconventional path. The challenges experienced are much different from that of 95% of people and that could mean that you feel like very few people truly understand or relate to the challenges that you may be going through.
You are responsible for sustaining yourself (and others)
As an employee, you’ll still get paid if you don’t go to work, take a holiday or get sick. As an early-stage entrepreneur, any absence or mistake can cost you basic security. When you go out on your own, there’s no one outside of yourself that you’re relying on. That brings stress and loneliness.
You may have no one to share the burden of running a business with
Unless you have a co-founder, an entrepreneur holds the burden of running a business solely on his/her shoulders. From our experience, it gets heavy. I’m currently scaling the Young Entrepreneurs of England business and it could be said that it is out of the ‘start-up’ phase, but I don’t encounter a single month without an urgent problem that I don’t have to solve immediately. And I am the only one who can solve the issue in question. That can be draining, and lonely.
If you hold on to the vision
If your execution is effective
If you realise that loneliness is just a feeling like any other
If you overcome all the challenges
You might just…
Do something you love
Yes, it’s tough. Yes, it’s lonely. Yes, I thought about giving up 1,000 times. But giving up for what? I don’t see myself doing anything else. The life of an entrepreneur is unconventional, lonely and painful. But it’s worth it because to me there is no other choice! My personality could not handle anything else than that…
Create a new way of life
You might just grow a team of people who are passionate about what they do. Who don’t just need the money, but do a job they truly love. You might create an environment where your co-workers are not just people you share an office with, but lifelong friends.
You might just help realise that nothing worth having comes easy. The journey is tough – but isn’t being stuck in a job you hate also tough? Simply a different kind of tough
Bringing it all together and hopefully, my answer helps: YES, entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, but that’s just one side of the coin.
Life has the good and the bad, and there’s no other journey I’d rather pursue.