Last week I was in contact with several small business owners and there was a common theme to the conversations. Each individual loved being an entrepreneur but they were all struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness. There is a unifying misconception among the entrepreneurs I spoke with, that they feel the need to be the one source of all information for their business. What a lofty and impossible goal to set for one’s self. Large corporations have teams of experts, each with their own area of knowledge, coming together to solve problems and set future strategies. Yet, the entrepreneur tries to do it all alone then wonders why they feel lonely and why they frequently fail.
Several had tried joining networking groups, but the results were just business referrals. As one individual said “ I have referrals, what I need is someone I can trust to come along side”. They were looking for a mentor a guide; they wanted a relationship. So, what about using the life partner for that purpose? Most entrepreneurs find out quickly that mixing the business and their love life gets tricky. Money, power, and sex are involved. Not a very good idea, although communicating the realities of the business with your partner is important there is a line that probably needs to be drawn to allow for downtime.
Fostering a relationship outside your business for the purpose of mentoring, honesty, and accountability will benefit your business and your own development. Seek someone out that you respect and ask if they would be willing to commit to a monthly meeting in which they would be your unbiased sounding board. Be brave, be intentional, and choose someone who will challenge you, make it happen. There is no reason to be a lonely entrepreneur.