As much as I absolutely love running my own business it can be a lonely place at times. I love being my own boss and the creative director but some days are tough and there may be days that I don’t actually speak to another adult face to face, children under the age of 10 don’t count! So I was not surprised when I read a recent survey by CEO Today which found that 73% of business owners admit to having felt lonely whilst running their business.
And it can get lonely
There is no chatting while making a coffee or having lunch together, no one to say hi to on the way to the printer or someone to just bounce off ideas with. The hard graft of working for yourself and being responsible for everything is sometimes a bit daunting. I have learned so much and quite frankly have had to just get on and do it. I am responsible for the accounts, marketing, budgets, sales etc. But I do have an A Team and couldn’t have managed without the lovely Kate and Emma who help with the production side of things. But alone and lonely are not the same thing. Some days I choose to be alone, put my head down and get through that ever growing to do list. Some days I wonder if it is all worth the hard work and long hours.
Living on a remote islands comes with it’s own set of challenges
but one I have found is that outside of family and friends it’s difficult to find those who actually understand. The biggest thing I would say is surround yourself with people who support your business. This is one reason why I joined an entrepreneur membership club, called Women in Business. Through this I have met the most inspiring women and they keep me accountable and on top of my game. We often join up for live webinars and it is where women from around the world can come together with a common interest. I travelled to London last year for one of their events as there is nothing like that here in the Outer Hebrides. So having a virtual support community is vital. A survey in 2015 by Labour Force found that 70% of those becoming self employed were women, with childcare being the biggest motivation. We need more opportunities to network, especially with other women. This is why I am super excited that there is a business hub coming soon to Stornoway. This is great news for small businesses on the island. I plan to take myself out of my comfort zone and tracky trousers and go to an office where I can be around like minded people. I will be able to book a desk during school hours and ‘go to work’. I know I have a fabulous space at home but I get easily distracted by everything around me – the washing that needs hung out, the toys that need tidying. So this is exciting!
A third of small and medium-sized business leaders suffer from poor mental health.
As I am coming to the end of my fixed term contract with the NHS it is making me realise how much I thrive on being around other people. Mental health is a hot topic and rightly so. That black dog can get anyone and it is about reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health and getting people to talk and seek help. I accept that we can all have bad days and that is ok. Some days I find I am incredibly sad for no reason at all. I have good health (certainly more so now that I got rid of my pesky tailbone) a loving family, good friends but can cry for no reason. So knowing that I am not going to be around as many people I ask myself what am I going to do to stay on top of my game. One thing I will miss is the regular income that the NHS provides. Each month I got paid – it didn’t matter how many candles I sold or how many people I saw the payslip was the same each month.
But it is not all doom and gloom
I am hugely proud of myself and what I have achieved. Every time I get feedback on how much you love my candles or how much happiness coming home to find a subscription box makes you – it makes me happier! I know I will be less stressed about managing child care. I won’t have to worry if the kids are sick or if I want to be parent help at school. There is no rush to get my holidays in before others or just realising how many days off school these kids actually get!
Tips for how I plan to keep motivated and inspired each day
- Get Outside – I live in the beautiful Outer Hebrides so this isn’t going to be difficult. It usually involves a swim in the sea or stand up paddle boarding. No long commute required here!
- Build and continue to nurture my fabulous support network
- Realise what I am able to achieve and manage. If I can’t do something find someone who makes it their job to do so.
- Keep true to my values
- Be accountable and find a mentor
Do you have a small business and feel the same?
What tips do you have to stay at the top of your game?
I would love to hear how you tackle loneliness?
On Friday the 8th of March it is International Women’s Day and #balanceforbetter is the key motto for the day. So let’s celebrate and support the fabulous women that are working hard around us.