People are usually surprised to find out that I actually prefer to be in a quiet environment where I don’t really have to talk to anyone. This is especially (or, maybe mostly) the case when I’m working.
It’s not because I’m an introvert, being anti-social or being rude. I guess there are three reasons I can really put my finger on:
(1) I teach 10 yoga and group fitness classes each week (sometimes more if I’m subbing). I talk a lot before, during, and after the classes…and I really enjoy it because I love making new friends through classes and I just love teaching. But, it’s still a lot of talking, and my voice and energy are just a bit drained at times.
(2) I noticed that in every full-time job I’ve had, I was always working my butt off. Yet there were some people who always seemed to have plenty of time on their hands to chit-chat all day long! Either they didn’t have as much work as I did (argh!) or they weren’t as focused on their work…or whatever the reason. But, I always felt like I was the one just pounding away on the computer while they were roaming the halls. I guess I just preferred to work than to chat during working hours. It felt more fulfilling that way, since they were paying me and all!
(3) I started my own business – where I could work from the comfort of my own home – because of two main reasons: (a) life had taken some unique turns that made me realize I really am meant to work by and for myself (it really wears on you to be under-appreciated and undervalued for so long when all you’ve done is work your tail off) and (b) I always wanted to be entrepreneur anyway!
BUT…I’ve recently experienced a big shift when it comes to this whole “always working by myself, in such a quiet environment, and going about this 100% on my own” mindset.
It’s not that I don’t want to talk at all nor do I want to work 100% alone. That would be a little closed-minded, introverted, and risky. Wait – why risky? Risky because it seems nearly impossible to be very successful when you are going about your business (or anything, really) 100% by yourself.
It’s because I have a lot on my plate and only so many hours in the day to get it all done. I don’t have a lot of time to chit-chat with people (I know that may sound rude, but I’m just being honest), and the process of designing (graphics) and coding (websites) takes a lot of time and focus.
But what I learned and experienced was the difference between meaningless chit-chat and wonderful, beneficial conversation with the right people!
You see, I didn’t really have a chance to be lonely as a solopreneuer. Had I not joined some amazing Facebook groups with like-minded entrepreneurs early on in this adventure, I definitely would have entered into a world of lonelypreneurship (how sad!).
Because of those virtual friends I made, and now because of some partnerships that have developed out of those groups, I truly feel like I am working with a team of people, even though we are all over the world and working on our own individual companies and projects. The majority of my time as a solopreneuer has been spent communicating with all of these amazing people only via email. But recently, we took it to the next level with phone/Skype/online meetings.
That may not sound like such a massive change, but it really is. I am the first to admit that I much prefer email over voice communication. But, of course, there are going to be some times when voice communication is not only necessary but extremely beneficial.
With these fellow entrepreneurs, it first started with a casual chat to just get to know each other and each other’s businesses. But, it’s turned into so much more! We are now partnering on projects, and it feels amazing!
Whether we are working on a website together; learning about a new product/skill/program/etc. from each other; or divvying up the responsibilities of a particular project, we are working together and it feels amazing!
There is something to be said for knowing that you are not 100% alone in all of this. Now that I’ve formed some partnerships with these talented, like-minded people, I feel like I can actually take on more projects. I know that if I need some help or want to divide up the tasks, I can. It’s like having a team of people on (and by) your side, yet you’re all still working independently on your own businesses…making your dreams (and the dreams of your clients) come true.
So why is it that I enjoy working with people now when I clearly preferred to just work alone and in silence before? It all boils down to quality!
What bugged me about those previous work environments was the meaningless chit-chat that I’d overhear all day long. It was never even about work-related topics! Call me uptight, but it just wasn’t how I operated…and still isn’t. I am very focused on my business and take it very seriously, so if I’m going to take time away from client work or working on something to improve or manage my own business, then it has to be meaningful.
These partnerships that I’ve been building have been so meaningful and beneficial, and most of all, they are powerful! They mean I can take on more work (or bigger projects) without feeling overwhelmed. They mean I have a person to go to with questions or that I have someone I can divide up the responsibilities with. They mean I am not in this 100% by myself, and in addition to all those other reasons, I have moral support that you just can’t get if you’re working completely alone.
It’s like having your cake and eating it, too (yum!). I get to work by myself in the environment that best suits me, and I get to partner with people on projects when the need or desire arises. If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is!
How about you:
- Do you prefer to work alone or with people?
- If you’re a solopreneuer, have you found like-minded people who would/could be great to work with in some fashion?
- Have you had any trouble finding people to partner with? Maybe I can help connect you with someone!
Tell me about it in the comments below!