The terms solopreneur, entrepreneur, self-employed, freelancer, remote worker and so on, all have one thing in common: they are at the helm of their own business, and often they are the only person involved. There’s something about these words that makes us assume every self-employed person works entirely alone, at home, in their pajamas, in complete silence. While that can be true for some, it’s no reason to believe that this is the only way to live your own self-employed life, even if you’re too busy to change up your routine right now.
Leaving your 9-5 is tough, and you are suddenly plunged into a lonely working week that has the capacity to affect your mindset in very negative ways. It’s up to you to ensure your own personal wellbeing, even if that doesn’t seem to be your top priority at this moment. Here are a few ways to be more social in your self-employed life, and as a result, be happier and feel healthier:
Pair up with an accountability partner
I’ve mentioned this before on Desk Life Project and I still stand by it: having someone else who’s self-employed (or at least someone creative and available who just gets it) is a great way to be more social and feel like you have a small team of two to bounce your ideas off of. Do you have any friends who also run their own business? If so, get them involved and know each other’s goals inside out so you can always hold each other accountable. If you don’t know this person, set out on a mission to find your work soulmate.
Fill your diary
It’s common to “not feel like it” on the day of a meeting with friends or family, but it’s important to avoid becoming a recluse during your first year of self-employed life (as many do!). Plan your weeks and months ahead, with plenty of relaxing and sociable time booked in with friends and family. Not only will this keep you social, it will ensure your body and mind have the chance to recharge away from your desk. If you’re really busy and can’t make it, try hopping on Skype for 30 minutes to catch up with a friend, even if all this does is stop you feeling so cut off from the outside world.
Get sociable while you work
Coworking spaces exist for a reason, and that is to bring together a community of likeminded self-employed people and provide them with an encouraging and creative environment to work in. Coffee shops may not be designed for this, but they tend to offer a similar experience. If working from home is making you stir-crazy then grab your laptop and head to your nearest social hangout to be around others who share your creativity and work ethic, and maybe even chat to some of them too.
Can’t commit to one location, or to coworking space prices? I love the Croissant app for this, which offers a selection of spots you can rent a desk in by the hour, all using their handy app. Check it out for a free week trial when you use my affiliate link (click here).
Leave the house every day
Working from home in your first few years of self-employment is often a good move, saving money on travel, work space, and overheads. But sometimes working from home isn’t the best option if it means you lack connection to others, and as a result, begin to see your productivity, mindset, and even your mental health affected. Having set times of the day and week where you venture out of the house to be around other people, even if that means simply chatting to the person selling your lunch at a local shop, is important, and could be the thing you need most to break your day up.
Attend as many events as possible
In larger cities there is never a shortage of affordable and free networking opportunities, so it’s a great idea to register for a few each month to meet more people in your field, expand your potential client pool, find out news about your industry, ask questions that have been on your mind and offer value to your community while you do it. Attending regular events relevant to your business and life will give you more chance to be social and improve your business at the same time.
One such event is being hosted by us here at Desk Life Project, and it’s completely free! On Wednesday 14th November in London, we’re bringing together a panel of three fabulous speakers who will be talking about their experience of being self-employed, including Gemma Scopes from How To Make Friends, Julia Day from Easy as VAT, and Jess Ratcliffe from Unleash Your Extraordinary. We’d love for you to join us!
Register your attendance for this event at Eventbrite here.