How To Spot Entrepreneur Isolation (and why your bank balance needs you to!)

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Entrepreneur isolation.

It’s a topic that needs to be talked about regularly because all of us are susceptible to it, and of course, the repercussions of it if left to go on too long, is very real.

It can lead to feelings of demotivation, despondency, and eventually, can contribute to depression. 

But it's not just your emotional health that suffers, it's your bank balance too. And here's why. 

When we talk about entrepreneur isolation, what we’re really talking about is not getting our social needs met. There's a fundamental, instinctive need within all of us to give and receive quality attention with others, and if that need isn't being met, it can start to seep out in unhelpful ways.

You may remember at school, that kid who was repeatedly disruptive, or acting as the 'class laugh'? Maybe you've stood behind someone in a supermarket queue, who is talking to the cashier for just a little bit too long (move along, please). Both examples of human beings (quite instinctively), looking to get their social needs met, because other more appropriate ways, may not be available to them.

So we can spot it in others, the important thing is can we spot it in ourselves? This is key because if left unchecked, can really affect the relationships you have in your business, whether that be with existing clients, prospective clients, or members of your team.

3 simple ways to check if you have entrepreneur isolation

1. Have you been talking more than your clients recently?

Talking about yourself just a little bit too much when you're with clients or potential clients is a big giveaway. If you notice you’re holding the spotlight on yourself, then it’s time to pull back. It’s a bit like driving 35 in a 30 zone, you might not be aware you're doing it at first, but as soon as you do, you slow it down.

When you're there to serve a client, interactions should be 100% about the client - and anything else is a turn-off. 

Yes, you might use an anecdote or example from your own life experiences, to demonstrate a point you're making, but check in with yourself that you are doing it for the right reason - that it's said purely for their benefit, not yours. 

2. You're 'oversharing' in your marketing 

When you post something on social media, are you doing it for you or the people you're serving? I’m asking this as a moment for you to reflect in a non-judgemental way. You’re human. If you are, it might be a sign that you’re trying to get your need for attention and recognition, but looking in the wrong place, that’s all. Just like client sessions and clients meetings where the purpose is to 100% serve and attend to their needs, it’s the same with marketing.

I know many of us create blog posts, record videos, and speak at events, and sometimes we tell stories, anecdotes and use examples from our own life, experiences and learning. I believe there is a very fine line, between a piece of content that artfully does that job well and is 100% focused on being useful to its audience; and then something that’s still beautifully and thoughtfully put together, but would be better placed in a private journal, or a coaching session as part of that person’s own personal development journey. 

That fine line is almost invisible, and it’s very innocent when it happens, but the question to ask before you press publish is for whose benefit is this?  

3. Talking for too long at networking events

Now, this is a sneaky one, because you might think to yourself, hmm I really need some social interaction – I know, I’ll go networking, but as enticing as it is, networking is not really the place to go to get all of your social needs met. 

So what is the point of networking? Well, it is to make friends with other like-minded business folk, form collaborations, swap ideas, thoughts, advice, and sometimes even create new business, but it's very much a balanced interaction. One of the best ways to achieve that is to ask questions, listen to others, be curious to learn and get to know people. It’s not an opportunity to talk about yourself for very long. We’ve all been at an event where we feel very much talked at, it’s uncomfortable and unattractive. The person doing it probably has no idea they're doing it, so go easy on them next time you spot it; and let it be a reminder to check in with yourself because next week, it could be you!

I hope you found that useful? Yes, it’s very easy to slip into isolation as an entrepreneur, but the good news is once you understand how to spot the early warning signs as mentioned here, you'll find new, more appropriate ways to get your social needs met, which frees you up to perform at your very best when you're serving existing client relationships, and creating new ones. 

And the happy side effect of that is a healthy bank balance!

Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed that, please share with someone else who might do too. If we've not met before, I'm Sarah Swanton, founder of Happy Healthy Entrepreneur, and I teach entrepreneurs how to make the most of their mental health & wellbeing, so they can enjoy the 'inner journey' of being self-employed and create a business that supports them, not exhausts them! If you'd like to delve more into what it means to be a happy, healthy entrepreneur, then you can sign up to receive my weekly newsletter, and check out my self-study online course Reignite Your Entrepreneur Resilience.

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