Fighting Isolation as an Entrepreneur

We know that the entrepreneurial journey can be a lonely one. Trust us, you’re not alone in feeling that way. Seriously though, being an entrepreneur is all about starting something new, blazing a trail, creating a solution that didn’t exist before. That’s a pretty heavy mission. Is it exciting and inspirational? Of course! But that doesn’t mean you don’t look around and feel like you’re all alone out there from time to time. It can be a real challenge to find and connect with other people who understand - because the reality is that most people haven’t ever been where you’re at.  

Maybe you aren’t going into an office everyday or you miss the camaraderie of working towards a goal as part of a team. Maybe it just hit you that if anything goes wrong, you’re the one that’s going to be responsible for keeping the ship afloat. Whatever it is, know that it’s completely normal for entrepreneurs to feel this way and that the emotional roller coaster comes with the territory.

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With that said, there are several ways to regain some connection and sense of belonging. Actively working to mitigate your isolation will pay dividends when it comes to your overall well-being and performance. Here are a few ideas:

1. You should get out more often  

There’s a reason that the idea of a creative entrepreneur solving the world’s problems from the local coffee shop is a cliché - and it’s not just because of the free wifi anymore! It gets you out of the house and around people even if you’re working on a project solo. Co-working spaces have also gained a lot of popularity for some of the same reasons - look at WeWork or a local Entrepreneur Center. Whatever you prefer, try to make a habit of getting out of your house and working around others.

2. Endorphins fight stress  

Obviously you’re super busy - what with trying to fill at least 5 different roles at once (at any given time!) - but don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Commit to staying active. This is great for physical health, dealing with stress, mental clarity, and the list goes on. As if working out didn’t have enough positives, staying active with others can be a great source of community as well! Go for a jog with a friend or try a new workout class.

3. Seek advice

Finding a mentor that you can seek out for advice on tough decisions makes the journey a little less lonely. Being able to talk with someone who has the experience and perspective to offer counsel can be a huge relief. You may already have a great mentor in your network or you may need help finding the right person. Jumpstart Foundry has a program with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in which we connect our founders with their mentors. We’ve found that this is a great way to offer support!

4. Grow your network

Connect with people every chance that you get - whether that be at an actual networking event or by chance encounter. Ask good questions, be interested, and learn from new perspectives. Jumpstart Foundry believes in the power of a great network - like our healthcare warren. As one of our founders, Andrew Steele, CEO of BeckonCall puts it: “Your ecosystem is as - perhaps more - valuable to us than your investment in us. We’re getting massive benefit from the intros you have made for us so far!”

5. Learn from other entrepreneurs

While no one’s been exactly where you’re at before, other entrepreneurs have come close. From product development to fundraising, they’re sure to have valuable tips for you. Think of this as a chance to learn from their mistakes. You can meet other founders through networking, startup events, or even investors. Jumpstart Foundry has a portfolio of over 40 companies and we actively encourage them to help each other out - from the group Slack channel to in-person events.

  Every summer, during the Health:Further Festival, we host a gathering of all Jumpstart Alumni. This is a great opportunity for members of various cohorts to meet and learn from each other. In the photo, several seasoned founders from the Jumpstart Foundry portfolio shared stories and tips from their fundraising efforts and led a Q&A session for fellow entrepreneurs.

Every summer, during the Health:Further Festival, we host a gathering of all Jumpstart Alumni. This is a great opportunity for members of various cohorts to meet and learn from each other. In the photo, several seasoned founders from the Jumpstart Foundry portfolio shared stories and tips from their fundraising efforts and led a Q&A session for fellow entrepreneurs.

No matter how you choose to find it, connecting with others is an important aspect of your entrepreneurial journey so fight off the tendency to sink into isolation - especially as temperatures begin dropping!

How else do you connect with others as an entrepreneur? We want to hear about it!

Comments welcome...