When I left the world that was corporate banking, the one thing I missed was the people. I’m a people kind of a person and I really missed the company. From a psychometric, MBTI, Social Styles point of view, I have a preference for extraversion; meaning that I get my energy predominantly from being outside and among people. So quite how I expected solo working without some kind of people-fix to work for me I’m not sure.
I know for sure that I really struggled with it in the beginning. I found it hard to be productive, and was almost constantly distracted. I threw myself into networking, which helped a bit, but so many of them were early morning events, which isn’t the time of day that I’m at my best.
So I thought I’d try a shared office. I found one in a great location at a great price, which was unfortunately occupied by a young sales team that insisted on playing commercial pop radio while they worked. There are only so many times a day you can listen to a One Direction song and not want to shoot yourself in the head. So I left.
My next shared office was much better, and soon there were four of us in this lovely, airy, creative space and it worked really well. There were other creative people to bounce ideas off of, and we all had similar challenges with customers and suppliers. It was an ideal working environment. Unfortunately, one person left, then another, and before I knew it I was paying what felt like a substantial sum of money each month to work in the same conditions I could work in at home.
So I moved back, and while it was okay, I was still lonely and the husband was getting fed up with being assaulted by conversation when he got home from work. So we got Kimber. Hooray!! And that was great, because I had her to chat to, and I had to leave the house to take her for walks, meaning I got fresh air, exercise, and other dog-walkers to talk with.
Which was fine for a while. Until I had a kind of existential crisis. I’d been ill and so unable to go networking or get out much at all. I thought that my business and life had no purpose. I felt really lost. Luckily I have an outspoken, observant, Australian friend, who was able to break me out of it by pointing out what should have been so obvious. I needed to be around people.
So now I have a five pronged solution. I work out of a cafe twice a week, where the staff don’t mind me hanging out all day: I am apparently their highest paying customer! I invite people to come and co-work with me, which helps my standing in the cafe, as well as giving me someone to have the occasional chat with and bounce ideas off. I nurture an online network of solopreneurs who I can call up on Skype if I need to talk to another human being. I also attend a regular networking event, and sign in to Coffitivity when I’m at home. I find as a result of implementing these strategies, I’m more productive, more creative, and more energised than ever before, even when I’m working from home.