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Entrepreneurship & Loneliness

5 TYPES OF PEOPLE Every Entrepreneur NEEDS

I had a dark and lonely day on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023. 

Nothing in particular was askew, but it was one of those deep, dark, lonely days. It felt like everything was crashing down on me and there was no one I could turn to talk about what I was experiencing and feeling. In fact, I was surrounded by people, but I still felt extremely lonely. 

Entrepreneurship & Loneliness

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. Sometimes it feels as though your friends, family, and spouse don’t necessarily get it, and you may even feel uncomfortable sharing certain things with other business owners. 

For me, the key to abating the loneliness in entrepreneurship is to find people I can go to for support. People I trust deeply, respect, and truly want to be around their energy and personality. People I know will honor my big ideas, not steal my hard work, and not feel competitive towards me. 

This has been my personal work and journey as an entrepreneur. I fall into either being overly trusting and stumbling into the wrong relationships, to which I have to backpedal out slowly or I don’t trust the people I should because I don’t want to get hurt or let down.  

Me on top of a mountain wearing a hat to signify entrepreneurship loneliness

It’s incredibly disappointing to me when someone I think I can trust turns out to be not who I thought they were, not dependable, reliable, and able to just accept me for me. 

We each have our own versions of difficult people and difficult relationships, what inflames us and sets us off, and what we need in a relationship.

It’s our own personal journey and work to find MORE congruency in our lives -I can’t speak to what that looks like for you. 

Entrepreneurship loneliness can, however, be lessened when you commit to surrounding yourself with the RIGHT people for YOU. 

In this She Built This podcast interview with Amanda McKinney, she shares the deep soul-searching she’s done in her own life when it comes to finding your people, the people who support you in life and business. Finding your people is key to helping quell the loneliness of entrepreneurship. 

Who can help you navigate entrepreneurship loneliness? 

In our She Built This episode, Amanda helps us to group “our people” into five buckets. Ensuring that each of these buckets is filled can help to make the road of entrepreneurship a lot less lonely. 

The Five Types of Support People You Need in Your Life as an Entrepreneur 

1) Friends and Family 

In the friends and family category, consider who of your friends and family know what you do and are supportive of what you do. These are the friends and family who support you no matter what. There are some you may choose not to share any information with or be able to talk to about the difficult stuff. There are others who might be rude, dismissive, or shut down your ideas and dreams. 

Connecting with the friends and family members in your life who are supportive of what you’re building can help you to feel less lonely in entrepreneurship. Even if they aren’t entrepreneurs themselves, they can be emotionally supportive and a listening ear. 

2) Mentors

The next bucket of support people you need to help decrease the loneliness of entrepreneurship is mentors. We can get all in our heads about finding a mentor and connecting officially with someone who fits that role. But let’s expand the possibility of what a mentor could be! It doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal process to find one, a mentor could be someone who you learn from on a podcast or in a book, or hear at a speaking engagement. It could be someone famous like Mel Robbins or Oprah or someone right next door, building a business alongside you, who you love learning from. 

A mentor is someone you gain insight from and learn from in any way and is typically where you want to be, or on the road to where you want to be. A mentor is someone who gives you a piece of inspiration or information and helps empower you to take action and run with it. 

A mentor can help you feel much less lonely as an entrepreneur as they help keep you motivated and inspired along the way, even if they don’t know they’re doing it! 

3) Coaches

A coaching relationship is a more formal relationship than a mentor and could be either a paid or unpaid opportunity. A coach is someone who meets with you at a predetermined cadence and challenges you in specific areas where you get stuck or hung up as an entrepreneur. 

A coach brings something to the table that is specific for YOU and helps you along in your entrepreneurial journey. 

A coach challenges you to new heights and with new possibilities and can help you feel less lonely as an entrepreneur by standing by your side supporting you, cheerleading you, and lovingly helping to pick you up when you fall down. 

4) Therapists 

In Amanda’s words,

“When you put on the entrepreneurship hat, you should have a therapist because a lot of things come up…”

When you start to run your own businesses, you bump up against your money stories, limiting beliefs, self-confidence and self-worth, and resiliency and grit. 

Therapists are a great tool for an entrepreneur to have to help with the loneliness of entrepreneurship and can help navigate specific issues, mindsets, and problem areas in our lives that ripple into our businesses. 

5) Business Besties, Loyal Confidantes, and Trusted Colleagues 

The fifth bucket is for the fellow entrepreneurs by your side who are really by your side day in and day out. You both help each other by making the journey of entrepreneurship a whole lot less lonely because you have their back and they have yours. 

These are your undying support systems, big idea sharers, and problem-solvers. They are people who see you, understand you, trust you, and respect you and you both just really LOVE being around each other! 

Call them your biz’ bestie, your confidantes, your trusted think tankers, call them whatever you like! These are the people running a business who just GET IT. They understand the loneliness of entrepreneurship and the many challenges and struggles of owning and operating a successful business. 

For me, this is not a category I fill quickly and hastily anymore. I’ve learned about myself that I need a foundation of mutual respect, trust, and genuine excitement to be around one another. I need to like what’s happening in their hearts and their minds, and that they’re not going to talk about me behind my back. 

When you find these people, hold tight because this bucket can make the entrepreneurial journey far more fun and less lonely. 

How Do You Find These People?

First of all, it takes some trial and error and you have to put yourself out there. Scary, I know. I feel you on that one. 

They can be literally anywhere – right next to you at a conference, on your next Zoom call, the host of the next podcast you’re a guest on, or someone you bump into at the grocery store who, “Oh my gosh, I also am an entrepreneur! Let’s connect!” 

There’s no formula for it and no magical “three steps to finding your biz’ bestie” or eliminating entrepreneurial loneliness. The reality is you won’t connect with everyone. Some will work out and some won’t. 

You do have to take the steps and be proactive and Amanda suggests (which I love):

  • “Be the person you’re looking for in a business bestie.” 
  • Don’t push it or force it when it’s not naturally flowing and jiving, and allow it to grow organically like any other friendship and relationship. 

I will also add that it’s ok to let relationships go and re-establish them. Like any relationship, if it’s not a good fit, you don’t need to disclaim or give an excuse, you can simply recognize they were in your life for a season or reason, learn what needed to be learned, and move on. 

When I hit that dark and lonely wall on Tuesday, March 21st 2023, it was my own loyal and trusted business confidantes who got me through to the other side by listening, allowing me space to feel my feelings, and gently reminding me of my worth and value. 

Do you have people in each of these five buckets in your life?

Do you struggle with Entrepreneurial Loneliness? 

Here are some resources to help you find your people and fill these five buckets. So you can make new connections, and friendships, and feel less lonely as an entrepreneur: 

  • Check out the She Built This podcast – a top-rated podcast for female entrepreneurs. I bring on tons of great guests, like Amanda, who share their stories of what it’s REALLY like to build a business. Pick an episode that calls to where you are in your journey and let She Built This be your mentor and guide and cheer you on as you build your own dream.
  • Hop onto my email list where I share what I’m going through on a regular basis as an entrepreneur plus tools and resources that will help you feel less lonely on the path of entrepreneurship!