When you make money online, you have the freedom to work from just about anywhere you can get reliable Internet access. For a lot of us–whether you’re a freelance writer like me, an Internet marketer like John, or almost anything else–that usually means setting up camp in a home office. This can free you from the usual workplace politics, but it can also be a double-edged sword. When you work for yourself, you can oftentimes end up working by yourself. And that can be an awfully lonely experience.
How can you fight this isolation? Humans are a social species, after all, so even if you work best when you work alone, you still need to connect with other people for your sanity and happiness.
Networking and Meetups
Look into the local meetup groups in your area, particularly those that have to do with your industry or niche. One of the best decisions I’ve made in my professional career was choosing to attend my first Dot Com Pho several years ago. That’s where I met John Chow for the first time, along with several other online professionals with whom I’ve worked over the years.
Getting together with like-minded entrepreneurs on a regular basis helps to stir the conversation and generate fresh ideas. Your online friends can become your offline friends and vice versa. Opportunities abound!
Trade Shows and Conventions
What if there isn’t much of an online entrepreneurial scene in your local area? Even if there is, it’s a good idea to consider traveling across the country and around the world to connect with the other key people in your industry. This gives you a good excuse to travel the world for business purposes, but it also lets you meet real people face-to-face. No number of emails and Skype calls can replace a real life handshake and an after-hours beer.
The Coworking Office
The home office may be the de facto default for most of us solopreneurs, but it doesn’t have to be the case. Whether your home is too small or too busy or you simply need to get away to another space, you might want to check if there are coworking offices in your city. You pay for your desk time there and it functions like a “real” office, except everyone there is mostly in business for themselves. Like networking and meetups, this can help spark some great business connections in a total win-win situation.
Collaborations and Joint Ventures
The old saying goes that two heads are better than one. It’s also been said the the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While you may be bring one area of expertise or experience to the table, other dot com professionals might have other areas of excellence. By collaborating with these people, you break the isolation and you can leverage your respective strengths for optimal success.
Work with other people in your industry, not against them.
The Dot Com Lifestyle
Overcoming the isolation associated with the solopreneurial life of the home office can feel like a daunting challenge at times, even if you are really motivated to “crush it” with the work that you do. Sometimes, though, you just need to step away and realize why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place.
As long as you can stay connected on the go, it pays to relax now and then. Spend some time with your friends, family and loved ones. Make those real human connections, even outside of work. Don’t feel like you need to pigeon hole yourself. Sometimes all it takes is a walk to the local coffee shop to clear the air, recharge your brain, and revitalize your enthusiasm.