When you’re an entrepreneur, life can feel pretty lonely sometimes.
Sure, you might be working from home. Surrounded by your family. But here’s the catch — they just don’t understand what it’s like and what it means to be an online entrepreneur.
Why can’t you come to have a long lunch date with them?
Why can’t you go to their house and sign for a package?
Why can’t you run some errands for them?
Your work doesn’t look like their work. Your work actually looks like their leisure time on the computer. They use their computer to search for flight deals for their next vacation, do online shopping, browse social media, or watch TV. You use it for WORK. I’m sure they know that. But it’s not what they’re used to work looking like.
When you’re surrounded by people who don’t understand, it is hard to stay motivated.
And trust me when I say, this is not a problem for just new entrepreneurs.
The more successful you become, the more your circle doesn’t understand.
“How can you afford to play on the computer all day?”
It must be how a stranger in a foreign land feels. Out of sorts. Unable to find a bearing. Wandering around an unfamiliar countryside, unable to communicate with anyone.
Then, walking into a cafe, the stranger hears a familiar sound. Words! In language that their ears understand!
A wave of relief washes over the stranger.
We want that same wave of relief to wash over you, too.
Because if you don’t find your people, you’ll always feel like a stranger.
Below are 7 ways to find people you can connect with to make entrepreneurship less lonely
1. Facebook groups
It might sound strange — but Facebook groups can become a second home for many online entrepreneurs. They’re full of other people just like you! They understand that you’re feeling a little lonely and isolated in this strange digital world that your family and friends don’t understand because guess what — their family and friends don’t understand it either!
Now, of course, this will look like “just dorking around on Facebook” to people who happen to walk past you and glance at your computer. BUT — join some of these Facebook groups which are full of people who have an online, work from home (or anywhere) business and you’ll find that you’re not so alone after all.
Here are some of our favorite Facebook groups for entrepreneurs:
- Living The Laptop Life
- Creative Superheros
- Creative Freelancers Unite
- The Freelance to Freedom Project
- Social Boss
- Brazen and Badass Entrepreneurs
- The Smart Passive Income Community
- Freedom Hackers
A word of caution — While we recommend the groups above, we have experienced and been a part of some not-so-great Facebook groups where the members are only interested in self-promotion and belittling other, less experienced entrepreneurs. These ARE NOT the groups we want you to be a part of, and they won’t help you overcome your feeling of isolation. If you do accidentally stumble into one of these groups then we suggest you turn around and run for the hills! You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. Find your people, answer questions you know how to answer, and connect.
As someone new to my town, I adore going to meetups, and Meetup.com is the right venue for that. It’s such a fantastic way to meet other online entrepreneurs and make this experience far less lonely.
The reason we love meetup.com so much is that it encourages you to get up and get out away from your desk. I don’t know about you, but this is something I really struggle with. Most of the time if I leave my desk it’s to run errands or go to the gym. But leaving the house to go meet other people in my same boat is another thing entirely.
With meetup.com you can search for local meetups in your area or create one yourself. You can search for meetups by category, so regardless of what industry your online business is in, you’ll be able to discover other like-minded, creative individuals to go and have a coffee with and make entrepreneurship less lonely.
The thing I like about finding meetups is the forced time away from my computer. If you’re anything like me, you sit at your computer for far longer than you’d like to admit, so getting up, getting dressed, and bringing a stack of business cards will allow you to connect with others.
3. Communities around online courses/software
There are some really awesome online courses out there and 99% of them have a community of built around them. This is really cool because everyone in the community is taking the same course and can help each other in the learning process, offer advice and make some really valuable connections. I myself have made some great friends from these types of online course communities, so I strongly recommend that you consider exploring this route.
If you want to make entrepreneurship less lonely AND improve your existing skills or even learn new ones, then joining an online course is the ideal solution for you. Two birds with one stone, right? You’ll be surrounded (virtually) by others in the same boat as you. Taking the same online course and making a career for themselves through their online business.
In a way, you can consider these communities as a step-up from Facebook groups because the members have had to make an investment in order to be a part of the community. This demonstrates they genuinely want to learn, meet new people and improve their online business — just like you!
As for an online course and communities go, we recommend the following:
- Wandering Aimfully — Jason and Caroline Zook embody this phrase: “What if you didn’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done?” Their Slack community is filled with entrepreneurs who are breaking the mold.
- The Digital Gangsta — The course creator Julie Stoian says “It’s the fool-proof fail-proof way to be sure that no matter what business idea you have, even if it flops, you can leverage the skills you have to find new people, new ideas, and new businesses. Because you know how to market them.”
These two courses have great online communities as well as some truly excellent content (and in the case of Wandering Aimfully, some cool software!). But don’t take my word for it. Find courses that inspire you, then get involved in their online communities. You’ll find your people there. Plus, any course you take is sharpening your saw in terms of what you can learn.
4. Conferences in your niche
Conferences not only provide a really good opportunity to learn — they’re also a hub for entrepreneurs to network and make valuable connections with those in their niche. It’s pretty much impossible to feel alone when you’re attending a conference with so many other awesome and like-minded people.
If you’ve never had the privilege of attending a conference before, we highly recommend that you invest the money in this. Seriously — they’re like nothing else and you’ll more than likely come away feeling empowered, inspired and with some valuable connections.
Like I said, conferences come at a price. Tickets, travel, accommodation. But you should think of this as an investment. Here are some conferences that we love:
- Fincon — Where Money & Media Meet — This is the conference where I met my first online community, and I can look back and say it is responsible for my continued interest in growing my own business. 90% of my friends are from this community.
- Hustlecon — This is a conference for non-technical startup entrepreneurs.
- Craft + Commerce — A conference by Seva. Craft + Commerce is the premier event for online creators to come together to build community and learn from the world’s top creators.
- SMMW — Social Media Marketing World. Discover the best social media marketing techniques from the world’s top experts.
- Wordcamp — WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress.
5. Join or create a mastermind group
Masterminds are pretty much guaranteed to make entrepreneurship less lonely. Once you’ve met and connected with a great bunch of like-minded people — creating a mastermind or joining one would be your next step.
Masterminds serve to get everyone in them to meet up and talk more often. There’s no one-size-fits-all for masterminds. The idea is to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Some groups are simply “here’s what I accomplished this week” and some are more intense, with rotating hot seats, which means the group focuses on one person’s business — their challenges and wins — each time they meet.
I have personally been involved in a series of mastermind groups. Some have resulted in business partnerships. Some have been responsible for referrals. All have been great ways to connect with other entrepreneurs in meaningful ways.
You’ll learn about inspiring people you’re not yet familiar with, or a new method to get page views that worked for someone in your group. You’ll find focus where you lost it, and find energy where you didn’t think there was any.
6. Talk with people from conferences
Sometimes, the formality of a mastermind group can get in the way of connecting with people you’ve met at conferences.
But you do need to connect.
In this crazy online business space where you are your own boss and everything seems to rely on you, don’t underestimate the value of taking five minutes to message or call someone you met on one of these conferences. I can almost guarantee that they’re sat at their desk thinking exactly the same thing. “I just need to hear a human voice instead of my keyboard tapping.”
Reach out to someone who lives in your computer. You’ll be glad you did.
7. Find a coworking space with a reasonable drop-in rate
Working at home is just not the same as going to an office, and as much as there are upsides, there are absolutely downsides. If you’ve only been to the grocery store this week, you probably need to get out of the house.
This is where coworking spaces come into play. You may not have a lot of conversations, but you will be working around real-life people, and sometimes that’s all you need. To be in other peoples company. To get out of your pajamas and go to work.
It’s so important — no — I’d say VITAL to your survival as an online entrepreneur that you connect with others. We’re social beings and there’s just absolutely no way we can do this alone. Yes — your partner, friends, and family might be encouraging and supportive (and that’s great!) but they don’t understand what it’s like to be an online entrepreneur. You need to connect with others, just like you, for so many positive reasons:
- They can offer support and advice that’s relevant because they might have been in a similar situation themselves
- They know how you feel — literally. They know the struggles that come with being an online entrepreneur too.
- Sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone who isn’t your partner or family
- Collaborations and masterminds! This is a great reason to connect with other online entrepreneurs because we all have so much to offer each other. Support, friendship, knowledge and even the exchange of services. Connecting in this way helps all of us to grow and become even more awesome at what we do.
So, what are you waiting for? Go out and find some fellow online entrepreneurs to help make this exciting journey you’re on less lonely. No one can do it alone, and you’ll be an even better online business owner for it!