Home alone: the isolation of working from home

One of the comments on my last post sparked an idea for this one: it is LONELY working from home. Those of you with small children still at home probably have no idea what I’m talking about. You would welcome a few hours of silence, or even the ability to go to the bathroom alone.

For those of us without kids running around all the time (mine are both in school), being home alone all day really can be a problem. My friend Terry actually joked that she was going to buy a volleyball, put a red hand print on it and call it “Wilson” (if you haven’t seen Tom Hanks in Castaway, you won’t get that).

I am an extrovert. While I really enjoy those days where I get to really focus and dig into my work, there are other days when I just want to talk to someone other than my cat. Oh, I talk on the phone a lot but somehow that just doesn’t do it. I feel drawn to GET OUT…to press the flesh, as they say. To meet people and hear about what they’re doing (because it might spark an idea for me) or brainstorm with colleagues about what I should be doing.

It really hit home (no pun intended) when I was looking through an old photo album from my first entrepreneurial venture. That business outgrew my house after 4 years, but I still worked from home on many occasions. We had picnics, went bowling and played laser tag. Every year we had a fun holiday party in the office (complete with piñata – don’t ask!) and an opportunity to dress up for an elegant soirée at a nice restaurant. Looking at the pictures of the smiling faces from the company I had built made me realize I MISS WORKING WITH PEOPLE.

So what’s my solution?

For me, I learned the hard way the first time around that having a company that depends solely on my direct efforts for revenues was NOT the way to grow. At the same time, I am not in a hurry to move out of my comfy home office and incur the expense of an office and employees.

I’m working on bringing partners into my business that will remain working out of their homes, but we’ll make opportunities to get together at least once a month to talk about the business, where we’re going and how we’re going to continue growing.

I’ve also found a few fellow women entrepreneurs with whom I have lunch every couple weeks. We take turns mentoring and being mentored, and some days just spend the whole time laughing. My own little mastermind group – it’s a great release.

For everyone else, what you do depends on what your ultimate goals are. If you’re happy flying solo, make sure you get out there and find fruitful opportunities to network. Volunteer in your community. Sit on the board of your professional association. Just GET OUT and you’ll grow to appreciate the quiet times at home and look forward to the next venture out.

Julie Lenzer Kirk, an award-winning entrepreneur and mother of two, grew her business to multi-millions in revenues while raising her family. She cashed out of her company and now teaches entrepreneurship at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County while providing workshops, consulting, and keynotes as the President & CEO of Path Forward International. She is the author of The ParentPreneur Edge: What Parenting Teaches About Building a Successful Business (John Wiley & Sons) and can be reached at Julie@JulieLenzerKirk.com or sign up for her monthly Boot in the Butt™ e-newsletter at www.JulieLenzerKirk.com.

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