people, when you think about what it would be like to work from home, you
probably think of the obvious benefits such as working your own hours, not
having to face a stressful, tedious commute every day, actually seeing what your
garden looks like in daylight hours, not having to answer to a boss, being home
when your children are, working in a comfortable environment and so on. These
are, of course, some of only many wonderful benefits of working from home.
Before long, though, you may begin to think back to your previous life and
realize you actually miss those umpteen visitors who were constantly
interrupting you when you were trying to work, the walk in the park at lunchtime
with your best work-friend, drinks on Friday night after work, and being able to
run an idea past a colleague for instant, valuable feedback.
Now, everything is just, well, quiet. And there's no-one down the hall to go
visit who's over age four. You find yourself checking your email constantly,
wanting to connect to someone. You find yourself wishing the phone would ring.
You! The person who, when you worked in a job, cursed constant telephone
interruptions and thought voice- and e-mail was the greatest invention since
to another reality of home-based business ... home
Here are some ways to avoid the isolation trap when running a business out of
ESTABLISH A STRUCTURE
Nothing is surer to reinforce feelings of isolation as time that stretches as
far as the eye can see like a straight, one lane highway through a flat, barren
landscape. Don't start each day without a plan of what you intend to do. You
need to structure your time so that it is not some endlessly vast terrain you
must traverse alone. So write a to-do list, preferably at the end of the day
before, so that when your work day starts you get productive straight away,
before the isolation blues have a chance to take hold.
When writing your to-do list, make sure you include at least two things every
day that require you to interact with another person. Networking is a vital
skill, whether you work for someone else or for yourself. So make contacts with
people who can add value to your business, as well as connecting you with the
outside world. Joining a professional group or club, attending seminars
and trade shows relevant to your business are all great ways to meet new people
who have similar interests and challenges. Participate in the activities
organized by these groups and take a good supply of business cards with you.
ESTABLISH JOINT VENTURES
Another way to keep the isolation blues at bay is to joint venture with other
home-based business owners. Team up with other businesses that offer
complementary services to your business. Not only will you send additional
business each other's way in the form of referrals, you are establishing
professional relationships with your joint venture partners.
ORGANIZE YOUR OWN FUNCTIONS
Once you have joined various associations and formed joint venture partnerships,
take the initiative and organize functions that bring you all together. These
could be business-oriented networking sessions or purely social get-togethers
such as a barbeque in the local park. Either way, you are forging a relationship
with people in your new arena, just as you did when you were working in a
corporate office. The only difference is that now you must take the initiative
to forge these relationships. These are not people you are going to be seeing
every day at the office.
JOIN A GYM
You are, of course, health conscious and physically active, right? Of course you
are! So, why not kill two birds with one stone ... stay fit and meet new people.
If you establish a routine that allows you to be at the gym at the same time
every day, you will run into many of the same people and get to know them.
USE THE INTERNET
Making online friends
is another way of staying connected with the outside world. Be very disciplined
here though. It's way too easy to spend a lot of work time on social email
exchanges and in chat rooms. Don't fritter away your time, but do seek out and
maintain internet friendships.
Sometimes, it's only silence that reminds you you're alone. If you come from a
corporate environment, your workday was punctuated by the constant background
noise of telephones ringing, other people's conversations, hysterical laughter
from the other end of the office and lunch trolley pages over the intercom
system. If you find absolute quiet irksome, turn on the radio and have it
playing in the background while you work. Talk stations are good because it's
like having other people in the next room, but if you find yourself becoming so
engrossed with the talk topics that you stop working and start listening, switch
to a music station.
There is no avoiding the fact that making the transition from a corporate
environment to a home-based business is just that ... a transition. Most people
will have to grapple with the isolation monster in the early days of their
work-from-home career. But, as you can see, there are many ways of keeping
isolation and loneliness at bay just by reaching out and forming new
associations. Remember, just because you work alone doesn't mean you have to go
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ...
practical home business ideas for the work-from-home