How Self-Employed Individuals Can Feel Connected & Supported The goal is to help you find enough human interfaces, for you to feel connected and supported at all times

By Nidhika Bahl

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Most people in the job situation would agree that being self-employed is their ultimate dream because there is so much freedom in it! Correct? However, the reality is often far from the one imagined. You see there is a huge catch that is often overlooked by those on the outside. Most Self-employed people suffer from isolation. A self-employed individual has very few opportunities to interact with others. So even though the freedom of working for oneself may be really great in the beginning, it can become quite uncomfortable and painful after some time! If you have been self-employed for a while and in case you don't agree it is probably because you just started working alone and are still in the honeymoon period of the newfound freedom.

But for the majority of self-employed individuals working alone can be very frustrating and depressing. So it is important for them to recognize the isolation problem and find creative ways to control it by spending quality time with others.

But before we do that it is important for you to know that overcoming isolation is a process. It does not happen overnight. So, you will need to take small steps and if something does not work out, there is no need to worry! All you got to do is to try something else. The goal is to help you find enough human interfaces, for you to feel connected and supported at all times.

1. Don't Work From Home. If you can afford it, consider getting an office in a building with other people. You will have more chances to interact and network with people in the office premises. You can also use the amenities in the building to create a social circle like using the gym!

2. Make an Effort to Stay in Touch With Your Ex-colleagues. Your old work friends don't have to stop being your friends just because you work alone now. It's easy to lose track of each other in the world that connects only on social media. Make an effort to stay in touch with those you like. It's harder to remain, friends when you don't meet very often. Don't send a message or email; pick up the phone and talk! There's something special about listening to another human voice and feeling the emotions flow during a conversation.

3. Connect With Other Self-employed People. You're not the only one feeling the isolation. Take advantage of social media and find others just like yourself. You can communicate online, but it would be much better to get together in person. Plan to meet for a coffee, share what you do with each other and explore opportunities for collaboration. A video chat can be a good option too if you wish to communicate with someone outside of your city.

4. Join Networking Groups. Is it possible to grow in isolation? Sure, but not as fast as you can grow with others. Explore the option of joining meetup groups, business networks, and other opportunities to get together with like-minded people. You might even grow your business through these activities. Look for opportunities to get out of the house on a regular basis and socialize.

5. Meet People Over Lunch. Everyone eats lunch! Be on a mission to find different lunch partners. Between your networking groups, friends, family, neighbours and old friends, you should be able to find plenty of willing lunch partners. You can use the lunch meeting as a lunch and learn session too.

6. Pets Can be Great Company. Consider getting a dog. A fish or cat might be more your style, but dogs are more interactive. Your dog will always be happy to see you. The cat might not care. No one will understand just how brilliant you are more than your dog!

7. Follow a Proper Routine. It might not make sense, but having a routine can help to beat feelings of isolation. It's easy to sit and stare out the window when you work alone. Having a schedule prevents this. Plan your time in slots of 15 minutes. You will be amazed at how much you will be able to fit in and accomplish in a single day if you follow the 15-minute planner. You will also know when your next dose of human contact is coming. Make a routine and force yourself to stick with it.

8. Take a Gym Membership and Then use it too! There is always someone at the gym. If you can stick to a schedule, you will see a lot of the same people over and over. Some of these could eventually become good friends and the source of stimulating conversations. You can also get in great shape in the process.

9. Interact With Your Clients. If you have local clients, get out of the office and stop by for a visit. They would probably welcome a short break. These interactions will also help you maintain valuable relationships and boost your social life too.

Isolation and self-employment don't have to go hand-in-hand. With a little planning, you can find plenty of people for meaningful interactions. You don't have to suffer just because you have decided to work from home. Create your own avenues of human connections and say goodbye to the loneliness of working alone. Get connected. Feel supported!

Nidhika Bahl

International Bestselling Author, TEDx Speaker & Celebrity Life Coach

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