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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

How to Avoid Isolation as an Entrepreneur

I had coffee with a friend and colleague this morning, and he said something to me that I’ve been thinking about all day:

 

I’d love it if you’d send me a quick note or text a couple of times each month. It’s so easy to fall out of touch with people as busy as we are, and I want to refer as much work to you as possible. So, I want you to stay top of mind. Is that OK?

 

I thought that was an interesting request. I certainly have no problem staying in touch because I respect him and I value his presence in my firm’s orbit and as a friend. But, how many times have I wondered how a friend was doing, or how a colleague’s business was performing, and if I didn’t sit down right then to send a quick note, nothing happened until I ran into him or her three months later? I think it happens all the time, more often than we’d like to admit, and it’s not at all personal. We are all just busy.

 

One of the biggest foes we have as entrepreneurs is that feeling of isolation. I joke in the office that sometimes we all look like computer coders, with our heads down and blinders on, just doing work from the time we get in until we leave, where no personal contact is made.

 

I strongly feel that isolation is one of the biggest killers of small businesses. Why do I think that?

  • We are Connection Junkies: I think that we crave connection with people and with causes bigger than ourselves, but our nature is to just put our heads down and work. We need to reach out to others and ask for help, offer a kind word of our own, and disconnect from the work for a moment. There’s nothing wrong with that.
  • There’s a Reason Ostriches are Uninformed: I feel that if you’re isolating yourself from news and interesting events, you’ll miss something that could actually help you do your job better and further your knowledge. I look at LinkedIn every morning over breakfast, because it never fails that I find something interesting to read or something I want to save until later. There’s a lot of knowledge out there, just waiting for us to absorb it and use it to our advantage.
  • You’re Special, but Not Really: If you’re isolating yourself from other professionals, you’re less likely to ask for help because you lose that understanding that everyone suffers and everyone struggles. I am really bad about this one. If I’m having a less than desirable week or month, I tend to just stay quiet and work my way through it. What I find if I just raise my head for a few minutes is that other colleagues of mine have similar struggles, and we can find answers if we share our problems and ask for help.

 

That’s why we don’t price anything in our office by the hour. We want to see your face. 90% of communication is body language, tone, inflection, and posture, so we encourage face-to-face time, even if it’s through a video call. Email is notorious for being forgotten or brushed aside for later, and more often than not, the tone of the email is completely misread or misunderstood. If I can see you, then I can learn more, and hopefully help you in a more complete way.

 

With what are you struggling now that we can assist in solving? Reach out and let us know.

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