Is Isolation Killing The Solo-Preneur?

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The best part of being a Solo-Preneur is you work for yourself.

The worst part of being a Solo-Preneur is you work by yourself.

You set your own hours. (Sort of) And you never have to work Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. Unless the money’s really good.

Being self-employed is the ultimate job. I love it. I get to choose who I work with. I get to choose the fees I charge. (Most of the time.) And if I want to play golf or take a 3 or 4 day weekend, I do it. (Most of the time.)

As a Voice Actor, I’m definitely a Solo-Preneur. There aren’t too many gigs that require 2 voices. So 99% of the time it’s just me and my microphone. And that’s okay. My microphone loves my work. She never complains about the hours and she’s always ready to work when I need her.

Okay, this is getting a little weird. Let’s quickly move on…

While there are numerous advantages of being a Solo-Preneur, there are also drawbacks. The most potentially harmful of these being isolation. We work alone. And it can get lonely. Real lonely, if we’re not careful.

As a Voice Actor, I can go 2-3 days without interacting with another human being. No — Email, Facebook and Twitter is not true interaction. Sure I have my cat Toby, but his vocabulary is somewhat limited to meow, Meow and MEOW!

The problem with isolation is – it can lead to physical, psychological and emotional issues. Not necessarily troublesome issues, unless you ignore the warning signs that you’re going too long without human contact. Isolation in any form for any reason is the precursor of depression. Don’t go down that path. Been there down that. No fun.

Even though I get to interact with my wife when she comes home from work, it’s not the same as having contact with other VO people or other Solo-Preneurs. Admit it. We speak a language most 9-5 people just don’t understand.

Every month, 9-5er’s get paychecks. 9-5er’s usually have good health insurance policies and retirement packages. 9-5er’s don’t have to worry about crashing and burning. We Solo-Preneurs are often flying by the seat of our pants or pantsuits financially. It’s the best when all things are working. But it’s hellish when several months of slow business come together. And they sometimes do.

The point is, we need contact and conversation. That need isn’t a weakness. It’s hard-wired into us. Start attending networking meetings, if you’re not already. Join a hiking or biking club. Go to a gym. Get to know some of the people there. Get active in your Church. At least once or twice a month I get together with a Church friend just to get Spiritually re-centered and uplifted. It serves as a reminder to me of what’s really the most important thing.

We were not created to be alone or lonely. We were created to interact with others. To learn from others. To teach others. To help others. To be interested in others. And that’s hard to do when we lock ourselves in our studio or home office for hours or days on end.

Make it a point to get out and about. Our bodies need sun and fresh air, Our brains need the type of visual stimulation four walls can’t provide. Our hearts benefit from being out in nature and with other earthlings. And our minds work more creatively when given a break from the work-a-day routines many of us have inadvertently locked ourselves into.

Make it a point to get out and about. Ask someone out to coffee or lunch. If you’re single go out on a date. Married? Take your spouse out to a dinner. Go on a mini-vacation. Put it on your schedule if necessary.

Hey, we only get one life. Don’t spend it in a dark room or silent office.

Lastly, I want to pass along a line I heard that I urge you to printout and place somewhere you’ll see it often.

“On their deathbeds – nobody ever regrets not spending more time at the office.”

You have much to offer the world. Go out and deliver it!