Working from home is a dream that many of us have. Stop the commuting, avoid the office politics and just earn a living from the peace and quiet of our homes. Work when and how we choose on a business we enjoy doing. But there is a danger in this scenario that you must consider if you are seriously planning to set up your business working from home.
While there are drawbacks to office politics, endless meetings and other disruptions to your workday, there are also advantages to office life. Most of us are social creatures and in an office you can find interaction with others, the interchange of ideas and mutual support.
When they begin working from home, some people feel lonely, cut off from the world and put on the spot. They suddenly have sole responsibility for their business with nobody to talk to. And the demands of that business can make matters worse.
Starting a business is exciting. But a new business, especially an online business where you're working from home without seeing clients or customers, can quickly take over every waking hour of your life. And it is very easy to turn down invitations or put off going out, just because you are so busy.
Having a plan in place for dealing with loneliness when you work from home is very important. Dealing with loneliness does not mean that you have to neglect your growing business. Neither do you have to become the life and soul of the party. But you should plan in some time that allows you to interact with friends and family.
Each week, set aside some time to go out. Meet a friend for coffee, join your local business club or chamber of commerce and attend networking events. Build up a group of local business owners who all work from home and meet every so often to share experiences.
When you have nobody to talk to it's easy to magnify successes and failures and misjudge their significance. Your sanity needs a safety valve. Somewhere you can just talk about your day, let off steam and regain your perspective. All the typical water-cooler stuff.
Make use of technology to keep your sanity. Many business people use Twitter or Facebook to promote their business. But a social network can also make a handy support network for you.
Link up with business people, clients and customers. Set aside a little time - a coffee or lunch break - to share successes and frustrations. It will help you keep balance in your worklife and will promote your business at the same time.
Dealing with loneliness is an aspect that is often overlooked by new business owners in the excitement of starting an online business. But given the impact it can have on your health and the success of your business, planning for it should be part of your business startup preparations.