If you want to become a founder, you will be alone for a long time. The challenge is not just in the beginning but in the long run. I’ve found that the struggle to be alone is something most entrepreneurs go through as they work on their startup ideas and as they build their companies over time.
Most people don’t see the struggle as loneliness but as building up their businesses and taking on challenges (like starting a company). But as we build our own companies and start our own companies, we inevitably become more and more lonely.
As we move through our day, we will meet people, and we will talk to them; we will be excited about something and excited about something else; we will tell jokes and make funny faces; and we will help people and learn from them (most of the time). We will experience moments of joy and moments of pain.
But most of the time we will feel alone. Most of the time, we will think about what we’re working on and how it relates to other people and their businesses. We will wonder what others are doing and what they’re thinking about. We will wonder if our ideas are going to work out. We will feel alone in a crowd of other people.
And this feeling of being alone is not something that everyone has to deal with, but it is something that most entrepreneurs have to deal with at some point in their startups or in their companies as they move through the day and through the weeks and months.
This feeling of being alone is why many entrepreneurs struggle with loneliness as they go through the work day. Here are several ways that I’ve found that help me deal with loneliness as a startup founder.
Listen to podcasts and learn from them.
The challenge of being alone is best handled by finding some kind of podcast that you like and listening to it. Podcasts are usually quite short, so you can listen to them while you’re working or when you’re commuting or while you’re doing something else.
When I find a podcast that I like, I’ll usually start listening for an hour or two each day and then listen again in the evenings before bedtime. These podcasts give me great insight into how other entrepreneurs work and think about their businesses; they give me great insight into how they overcome challenges; and they give me great insights into their daily lives (like how they get up in the morning).
These podcasts are like getting coaching from other entrepreneurs who have already had success building companies; they give me great ideas about how to deal with challenges that I face as a startup founder; and they give me great insights into how to improve my own thinking.
Create a journal and keep it.
Another way that I deal with loneliness is by keeping a journal. I started keeping a journal as soon as I started building my business. The first few days that I was building my business, I kept a diary of what happened each day and the challenges that came up and the people that I met and talked to; and this diary was very helpful in the early days of building my business.
When I get up in the morning, before doing anything else, I would write down what happened during the night (and sometimes during the day) and then go through this diary later on when it was time for me to reflect on what happened during the day.
This diary helped me see how other entrepreneurs were dealing with challenges that they faced; it helped me learn from their experiences; it helped me learn from their mistakes; and it helped me figure out how to better solve my own problems (which led to better strategies for dealing with those problems).
This diary also gave me great ideas about how other entrepreneurs were solving their problems (which led to better strategies for solving my own problems). And this diary also gave me great ideas about how to think about problems differently and how to better deal with them.
Talk to other entrepreneurs and find new friends.
Another way that I deal with loneliness is by talking to other entrepreneurs and finding new friends. As I mentioned above, most of the time we will feel alone as we go through our day. And most of the time, we won’t talk about what we’re working on or what we’re thinking about or what others are doing or how they’re dealing with challenges that they face.
Most of the time we’ll just think about what we’re working on and how it relates to other people and their businesses; and most of the time we’ll just think about our own problems and how they relate to other people’s problems
But as entrepreneurs, there are always going to be other entrepreneurs around us (and as long as there are other entrepreneurs around us, it’s okay for us not to talk all the time).
And as these entrepreneurs start talking to us, we will realize that we are not alone; and we will realize that there are other people who are building businesses just like the one that we’re building; and these other entrepreneurs will give us great ideas about how to deal with our problems; and these other entrepreneurs will give us great ideas about how to think about our problems differently.
And when I talk to other entrepreneurs, I’m not talking about my problems or what I’m working on or what others are doing or how they’re dealing with challenges that they face. Instead, I’m talking about what they’re working on and how it relates to my business.
And this way of talking helps me deal with loneliness because it helps me connect with people who have already built successful companies (and as a result of this connection, these people become friends); it helps me learn from the experiences of others and their mistakes; and it helps me think about my problems differently.
About the Author
I am the Founder of Cudy Technologies (www.cudy.co), a full-stack EdTech startup helping teachers and students learn better. I am also a mentor and angel investor in other Startups of my other interests (Proptech, Fintech, HRtech, Ride-hailing, C2C marketplaces, and SaaS). You can also find me on Cudy for early-stage Startup Founder mentorship and advice.
You can connect with me on Linkedin (https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexanderlhk) and let me know that you are a reader of my Medium posts in your invitation message.