Being able to work from home truly is a gift. The freedom to work when and where you want is something most people only dream of. BUT once you make the transition out of an office and into your pajamas, you quickly learn about the tough parts.
Cue the challenges…
Showers become optional, the temptation to eat constantly is strong, and you may go days without actually talking to a fellow human being. As a natural introvert, I enjoy sitting at my laptop and pouring my heart into the words I write. It’s where I’m comfortable, but I still yearn for real connections. I find myself lingering in the parking lot after school drop-off hoping for a little small talk before we all go about our days.
I joined a mastermind group, of course to grow my business, but more to connect with fellow female entrepreneurs. This year I have put a real emphasis on cultivating community, and the outcomes have been amazing. Not only have I increased my sales, but I’m excited about my work again. If you’ve been noticing that familiar work-from-home loneliness, here are six ways to get you out of the sweats and out into the world.
When you work from home, getting out of the house and connecting with friends in-person is a must, but that’s not always possible. On those days when your child is sick or you just have too much work to do, take advantage of your online community. There is something powerful about connecting with like-minded souls, and Facebook provides us with a free and instant way to do so. I recommend choosing just three or four groups that leave you feeling excited and inspired. Belonging to dozens of groups just leaves you feeling drained and overwhelmed. When you target the right groups for you, you’re able to consistently engage with the members and nurture real friendships. Start with HER Circle and introduce yourself!
Once you start making business connections online, consider taking them to the next level by attending a conference in your niche. I am planning to attend a conference specifically for mom entrepreneurs later this year and truly cannot wait to meet other women going through the same highs and lows that I am.
Search for conferences for female entrepreneurs to start. Ask around in Facebook groups, and read blog posts about preparing for conferences. Not only will you feel a new wave of inspiration from the conference itself, but you may make some new biz besties for life!
Maybe a national conference isn’t in the budget this year – that’s okay! Look for local opportunities to connect. Your city most likely has a small business group that meets monthly for education and networking. Try searching Facebook events, local meetups, and the local coffee shop bulletin board.
Not coming up with anything? Plan your own! You will meet local entrepreneurs while establishing yourself as an expert.
Finding a workout class you enjoy will be a lifesaver when you start working from home. Not only does it give you a chance to get active, but you’ll also have the benefit of seeing actual humans face-to-face during your workday. Even just a smile or comment about the weather will give you a genuine connection.
Look ahead at your week and commit to going to at least one class per week. As a work-at-home mom, I’ve fallen in love with my 6 a.m. yoga class. I practically skip out of class, because I’m feeling so refreshed. Then I’m able to be more present for both my children and my work for the rest of the day.
Start a Gratitude Practice
As entrepreneurs and business owners, we are natural problem solvers. Our brains automatically look for issues and ways to solve them. It’s easy to find the downsides of working from home and focus on fixing them. However, don’t forget the good stuff.
Spend time thinking about why you chose to work from home. Think back to how your life looked a year or maybe even six months ago. Remember why you wanted this and how amazing it is that you set your schedule. Sure, it’s hard to eat mindfully when you work from your kitchen, but remember the days when you were too busy at work to even think about eating? As a nurse, I never knew when or if I was going to eat lunch. Now I have total control over my day, and I do not want to take that for granted.
Spend a moment each morning to feel grateful. I like to sit with my coffee and plan out my day before anyone else in the house wakes up. I write down my top three goals and three things I am grateful for in my journal. They can be small things like hot coffee or big things like a warm house. All that matters is that you train your brain to notice the positive.
Take Advantage of the Flexibility
Because you now set your schedule, you have the freedom to prioritize your relationships. Sit down for a few moments every Sunday evening to plan your week and schedule some connection time. It’s difficult to try to fit everyone in on the weekends, so take advantage of the fact that you could meet up with friends and family during the workday. Maybe one of your friends recently had a baby and is feeling lonely at home. Perhaps your mom could meet you for lunch.
Remember that there are no rules when it comes to your schedule. You don’t have to stick to working from 8am to 5pm everyday if that doesn’t work for you. And you definitely do not have to only meet up with fellow entrepreneurs and bloggers. It’s not healthy to only talk about Facebook ads and conversion rates all week long, so be sure to make time for the people in your life who care more about your killer karaoke skills than your booming business.