The Loneliness of the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs are driven to start new businesses and succeed or fail by the decisions they make. But it can be a lonely task.

Busy by nature               

Entrepreneurs are by their nature busy people as they meet and mix with customers and collaborators to sell their ideas and build their businesses. But being active and in a crowd doesn’t mean you are not on your own.

Working intensely for long periods of time to get a business started can create a sense of lonesomeness. Social media even causes separation and increases isolation as the balance between virtual and real friends gets skewed in the wrong direction.

Technology too plays a role as greater automation of services and addiction to screen time reduce our day-to-day interactions with friends and family. Even something as mundane as shopping online reduces the contact we have with others and increases the amount of time we spend on our own.

Loneliness has more sinister effects too, as it harms our physical and mental health in as serious a way as cigarettes, alcohol or obesity. It shortens lifespan and reduces our sense of control over what we are doing, which leads to poor decision-making and higher levels of stress and anxiety.

Loneliness is also associated with an impaired immune system, which reduces the body’s ability to stave off illness and stay healthy in the long-term. But entrepreneurs are reluctant to talk about it, as they thrive on taking action and being positive about the challenges they face. Nevertheless, they run a particular risk as they often work on their own with few resources and little support.

Relationships matter most

Relationships matter most when it comes to reducing loneliness and the quality rather than the quantity of links is essential to lessen insecurity and build resilience.

A reliable cluster of close friends helps maintain a balanced and healthy perspective, which provides reserves for when the pressures of business are daunting.

The interactions, commitments and social ties that come from relationships reduce feelings of isolation. Entrepreneurs with a strong sense of purpose, particularly when it helps others, are less likely to suffer from loneliness.

Loneliness has positive effects too, of course, as it guides us to seek the company of others and benefit from being part of a group, which is vital in testing times. It encourages us to connect with family and friends and reminds even the most ardent entrepreneurs about the value of including others in their endeavours.

But the desire for friends and friendships runs deep as women and men have always flourished when working as part of a larger group rather than alone and unaided.

So, entrepreneurs are driven to create new businesses but they don’t have to do it alone or feel alone while doing it.