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Lonely no more

shutterstock_294489926An often quoted consequence of having your own business is that it can get quite lonely at times. This can be the case when you’ve been working in a company with teams and departments around you. So what can you do about it?

We often hear that we create our own environments. Here is an example of how I started working in a productive and supportive work environment.

When I started working from home, my husband suggested I look for an office to meet people. He said he was afraid I would talk his head off when he got home if I had have spent a whole day alone. He was half serious and half joking. He knows me well ;-)

What do I want?

My criteria list was short. Opportunity to meet people, within a small budget and up to 15 minutes commute by foot or bike.

Fortunately, there are many options out there, here are some examples of where you can work:-

1) Local library. No budget, it’s quiet and there’s wifi.

2) Starbucks / cafe. Cost of a drink (and cake perhaps :-), noise level depends on the place, not so private.

3) Co-working spaces. Examples in Zurich include The Impact Hub, Citizen Space, Office Lab, just to name a few. They have good infrastructure and you can rent desks or meeting rooms by the hour, day or month.

4) Private offices. I found many examples of people renting out desks in their office spaces on Ron Orp.

I ruled out the library and cafes because I wanted to meet people. I’m sure you can meet people there but I decided I wanted to meet other business owners.

I visited some co working spaces and private offices. I liked the places I saw and in particular, one private office stood out. It was just 5 minutes away from home by foot and it was a bright airy office space. The people were young, friendly and worked in design and advertising. I had a good feeling about this place.

After giving it some more thought, I decided that I liked the people I met and I could get to know them over time. However, what I really wanted was to have people around me that I trusted and wanted to work with NOW. People that I could open up to, ask questions and sound ideas with. And then it came to me….

Let’s work together!

A few of my friends had recently started their own business and we were all working from home. I sat down with them and asked them what they thought about working at each other’s place a few days a week. We could save on rent, have good infrastructure and get to work around people we liked and trusted. We decided to try it out and see.

I can only speak for myself, but I loved it. We were able to help one another with technical aspects. We became sounding boards for ideas. We had lunches together and more.

It felt like we had a team around us even though we were working on our own business. It made me realise that you don’t have to be alone when you’re a solopreneur.

The idea itself is not new. Over the years, many mums have teamed up to look after each other’s children. This gave the other mum time to work or do chores. Why not bring the concept into the small business environment too?

Are you a small business owner that could do with having a team around you? List out your criteria and take steps to create your own team around you – just how you want it.

UPDATE 29.01.2016

I’ve started back at work again and this time, we’re taking it to another level. This week I’ve been working with lots of different people, some at my place, some at other places on different days and it’s been great having different expertise, views and opinions. So, try varying it up once in a while too!

7 Responses to Lonely no more

  1. Jessica Fabrizi at 12:58 pm #

    Amazing solution, Selina! I founded a think tank about coworking in zurich. We meet once a month, and you should join once!

    • Selina at 9:11 am #

      Thanks Jessica, great that you setup such a think tank, it will help a lot of people become more productive! Yes, I’d love to come by and check it out. Let me know the details.

  2. Aileen Mauracher at 2:51 pm #

    I understand the importance of being able to bounce your ideas off another person, however I cannot imagine that another persons home would work for me. There is something about going to an office that makes me put some makeup on and attempt to look professional, actually on mornings when I know I am not motivated I intentionally put extra effort into my makeup and clothes.

    I have been looking for an office to share, so I really appreciate your post!

    • Selina at 9:13 am #

      Thanks Aileen, there are many coworking possibilities out there and we have to find the ones that work for us personally. It’s great that you know that you need an office to go to because then you can focus on looking for that. Best of luck with the office search.

  3. Sahar at 5:13 pm #

    Hello Selina, great idea! Is there spare space ;)
    Best wishes for your new year start. The program looks really tempting!!

  4. Leslie Kuster at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Selina, what a brilliant idea! I can totally relate and perhaps I can find something like this.

  5. Lisa Christen at 1:35 pm #

    What a great idea to get past the loneliness of entrepreneurship! I created and run two Mastermind Groups and have found they REALLY make a difference. Someone who actually listens and understands! Somebody who knows where to order the best business cards from! Someone who has already used Google AdWords! And somebody who actually figured out how to successfully manage their schedules!! The support is what’s critical.

    Maybe the next step is desksurfing like you suggested :)

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