According to the U.S. Census, 52 percent of US businesses are home-based. More than a third of those home-based businesses are owned by women.
They are a thriving sector of the U-S economy with their own sets of benefits and challenges.
It sounds like a dream job to many aspiring business owners. But one unexpected challenge that often faces home-based business owners is a feeling of isolation. Lenette Hall got a taste of it when she started her online business, Urn Garden.
“I had always worked as a team player in environments that had healthy budgets and lots of support. Now, I’m a one-woman show. Running my own business is much more rewarding than when I was working for someone else, but I was not prepared for the loneliness and isolation that comes from working at home,” Lenette says.
Feeling like you are cut-off from the rest of the world can breed negativity and depression, and those are not good for your bottom line!
Here are eight ways to combat the home-based business blues.
- Serve as a volunteer or board member for a non-profit organization. Not only will you feel good about the time you are contributing, serving as a volunteer or on a board can be a great networking opportunity.
- Find time for fitness. Lenette added a fitness routine to her daily schedule and says it has been a life saver and a stress buster. “Since I’m shackled to the computer all day, it’s been mandatory that I move for at least an hour every day,” she says. “It keeps me from getting too cranky.”
- Get some face time. Instead of working out details of a project via email or over the phone, schedule a meeting in person once in awhile. You’ll benefit from the interaction. Plus, it’s a much more personal approach that leaves your client with an impression that you care about personalized customer service.
- Find networking opportunities that work for you. Networking groups and events are not one-size fits all. So try a few on for size and regularly attend the ones that you enjoy and benefit you the most.
- Work offsite on occasion. If you are able to run your business for a few hours off of your laptop and Wi-Fi, take your show on the road. Set up your mobile office in a coffee shop or your local library for a refreshing change of scenery.
- Reach out at least once a day. Make a phone call, send an email, pay a bill in person. Do at least one thing every day to interact with another human being.
- Take a part-time job. Lenette has kept a part-time job since opening her business several years ago. It was in part, a small safety net, in case her business didn’t succeed, but has become a way to keep her connected to the world outside of her home-based business. Since Urn Garden is exclusively online, she has very little opportunity for personal interaction in the course of her business day.
- Take a class. If it helps improve your knowledge and skills to be better at running your business, then it is a great investment of your money and time. If it’s just for fun, well, it’s fun!