Dylan and I like so many other people, are building our own business as entrepreneurs.
Unlike most entrepreneurs who go it alone, we’re lucky because we have each other.
Although the idea of being your own boss can seem really enticing, the reality can be rather lonely.
Working alone all the time isn’t good for you
Maybe you’ve heard family and friends say you should get out more.
Well, there’s more evidence coming out all the time that working alone can be bad for your health.
In an interview with the Boston Globe, former U.S. surgeon general Dr. Vivek Murthy stated that the death rate associated with loneliness is similar to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
Yes, you read that correctly.
According to Paula Allen, vice-president of research for Morneau Shepell:
"Isolation impacts everything with respect to health," she says. "It impacts mental health and the risk of depression, and it impacts anxiety and people's personal well-being. It also impacts physical health. The strain that state puts on you has been associated with cardiovascular disease and immune system disease."
Relax. You don’t have to give up entrepreneurship.
However, if you’d like a change of scenery and a break from the isolation of working alone, we’ve put together this list of 5 ways you can connect with other entrepreneurs.
Now you might be wondering what this is doing on the list, but bear with me.
For some reason, we entrepreneurs tend to feel like we need to be working on our businesses ALL OF THE TIME.
Pair this with feeling alone, and you’ve got a toxic combination.
According to HelpGuide, volunteering is good for your mind:
Volunteering helps counteract the effects of stress, anger, and anxiety
Volunteering combats depression
Volunteering makes you happy
Volunteering increases self-confidence
Volunteering provides a sense of purpose
There are lots of organizations that need volunteers.
Since the goal is to connect with other entrepreneurs while you volunteer, look for opportunities that support or include your local business community.
If you’re ready to start your search for a volunteer position, Volunteer Connector is a great place to start. They offer a database of opportunities that you can browse by region, your skill set and even what you care about.
We might be a little biased, but we honestly believe that coworking is one of the best ways to fight the isolation of being a solo-entrepreneur.
In fact, most coworking spaces adopt some version of “Work for yourself, not by yourself.”
Community is one of the items we highlighted recently in 14 Things To Love About Coworking.
It’s not just us, our members tell us all the time that the people at URBN Cowork is part of what it makes it special.
Even if you don’t feel like chatting or you’re a bit of an introvert, being surrounded by other humans can do a lot to make working for yourself feel not so lonely.
03. Business associations
Becoming a member of a local business association is another great way to connect with other entrepreneurs and business owners.
They often have one or more regular events and some offer them at different times during the day.
For example, the Sherwood Park District Chamber of Commerce has meetings at breakfast, lunch and in the evening.
If you’re located in South Edmonton like our second coworking space, you might want to check out the Summerside Business Network.
With regular meeting you have the chance to connect with other business owners on a regular basis and build relationships.
04. Conferences and events
Putting yourself in a room filled with other entrepreneurs and business owners provides a great situation for connecting with some new people.
These are a great option if you like the idea of connecting in person with other entrepreneurs but aren’t keen on the commitment that’s often required with business associations.
With so many options available, there is bound to be one that fits your industry, or interests.
There are conferences that happen every year locally like YEG Startup Week.
If you’re a female entrepreneur, organizations like AWE offer events and workshops for women entrepreneurs in Alberta.
There are also lots of Meetups for entrepreneurs that you can try on for size.
We’ve given you a bunch of places to start your search, but only you can go out and try some.
05. Find your entrepreneur tribe
If you like the idea of building relationships and are craving a community, we’ve got the answer for you.
It’s memberships and networking groups.
For example, YEG Boss Babes is a growing network of women in business. They have events, a membership directory and offer discounts to their members.
There are also virtual membership groups such as Online Geniuses, which is the largest Slack community for marketers.
If you do a Google search for “your industry + online group” you’re sure to find a few options.
Another way to find one is to ask your online network of friends and colleagues.
Lastly, if you can’t find your tribe or a cozy place to connect with other entrepreneurs, start something.
Now you might be asking “Seriously?”
With Meetup and online options like Facebook groups, it’s easier than it has ever been to create a place (in-person or virtual) to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs.
It’s important to your overall wellbeing to make sure you aren’t always deep in work and all alone.
Whether you find a posse of entrepreneurs you can meet up with on a regular basis or join an existing community or organization, we hope you find the connection you’re looking for.
PS: If you haven't had the chance to check out our coworking spaces in Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Dylan & I would love to show you around and answer your questions about coworking. Book a tour now.