18 Ways to Beat Isolation When You’re Self-Employed

lonely entreprenuer

Being a lonely entrepreneur is tough. If you are the only person in your business you have no one to bounce ideas off with. There is no one to take some of the burden off your shoulders.  And you can feel isolated.

Gillian and I are fortunate. We are not only partners, but sisters and best friends. So loneliness is not an issue. Our responsibilities are shared. We bring different skills and thoughts to the table. Even though we live in different states we are only as far away as a Zoom call. We Zoom almost every day.

However your may be in a different situation. You may work at home and even if you have a spouse, that person might not even contribute ideas for you. So what are your options?

We belong to a membership group for women entrepreneurs called Serene Solopreneur. We enjoy the comradeship with other women to learn and share from.  Sue Allen Clayton who is the owner of the Serene Solopreneur is always providing us a space to engage, learn and be a family of women from a variety of businesses. Sue wrote a blog last week that I thought was worth sharing to our own audience.

Sue’s tips are beneficial no matter whether you are a woman or man.

18 Ways to Beat Isolation When You’re Self-Employed

serene solopreneur

Beating Isolation and Loneliness When You’re Self-Employed

There’s no question that being self-employed can make you feel lonely and isolated. This may happen because you spend a lot of time alone in your home office. Or you may be surrounded with people who have “real jobs” and don’t understand the challenges of self-employment. Regardless of why you feel isolated, there are many ways to overcome isolation when you’re a home-based and self-employed.

18 Ways to Beat Loneliness and Isolation When You’re Self-Employed

  1. Make socializing a priority. Extroverts recharge their energy from being with other people. Acknowledge that being with people is necessary for your mental health and needs to be a priority. You will not be happy spending a week alone in your house writing content! Accept your desire to be social and plan accordingly.
  2. Have a routine. One of the downsides of being self-employed is that you have no structure. It’s tempting to waste your day watching YouTube videos or Netflix. Not only does this make you feel even more lonely, it also makes you feel like crap about yourself for avoiding work. A much better system is to create routines that include regular work hours; coffee and lunch breaks; and exercise.
  3. Find an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who has similar business goals and is willing to discuss your business. Every Monday through Friday, I talk to my accountability partner at 8:55 AM. We discuss our goals for the day, as well as our wins and challenges from the previous day. Not only does sharing my daily goals makes me accountable, I also find that our daily chats make me feel connected to the world.
  4. Participate in an online group. There are an unlimited amount of Facebook and LinkedIn groups, as well as forums and other online communities. This is a great way to make friends and to feel connected. I have also participated in two private Facebook groups, each with four people. We created the groups as a place where we can post private thoughts and get immediate feedback from trusted colleagues.
  5. Participate in a coaching program. If you elect to participate in a group coaching program, you will have access to a group or forum with all of the other participants. In addition, most coaching programs have regular events and mastermind calls that will provide human interaction and the opportunity to make friends. Hiring a coach for private sessions will also make you feel supported and less isolated.
  6. Go out to eat. If possible, find a friend to meet you for breakfast, lunch or coffee. This provides a great mid-day break and time to converse over a meal. Even if you’re alone, taking a break at Starbucks will give you a change of scenery and make you feel part of the community.
  7. Join a gym. Being a member of a gym is another great way to make you feel less isolated. If you go at the same time every day, you will begin to recognize your fellow exercisers. Participating in a class, or hiring a personal trainer, will give you added attention.
  8. Schedule in-person meetings. Rather than communicating by text or email, invite your friends, clients and colleagues out for coffee, lunch or drinks. If you can’t meet face to face, try teleconferencing (I love Zoom) so that it feels like you’re meeting in person.
  9. Connect on Social Media. Participating in active social media groups is a great way to feel connected to your community. I’m currently members of groups that include podcasting, weight loss, politics, business, and marketing. I also run a private Facebook group for members of my community, the Serene Solopreneur, where female business owners can interact privately with their peers.
  10. Go for a walk. If you can, walk outside your house and enjoy the neighborhood. You may also be able to find a walking partner, so that you can get exercise while you socialize.
  11. Hear voices. Listen to the radio or audiobooks. Follow podcasts, YouTube channels, and Facebook Lives. Invest in online education. Hearing someone else talking will make you feel less isolated (plus you’ll learn something too).
  12. Get a pet. We have two dogs in our household and I love them dearly. My daughter (also a home-based business owner) and I each have a dog with us in our respective offices. It’s hard to feel isolated when you have a furry friend who wants attention. Walking my dog also creates a routine and I’ve gotten to know many people in my neighborhood.
  13. Find a coworking space. Some people find the isolation of a home office depressing. If you’ve tried working at a library or coffee shop, and still feel isolated, then it’s time to look at coworking spaces. Coworking spaces are flexible offices that provide meeting, desk and kitchen space for freelancers and independents. It is an office environment where you can chat in the kitchen, network around a table, or spend private time at a desk.
  14. Collaborate. Find someone with a complimentary skill set and work together. I truly enjoyed my partnership with a speech pathologist. We gave seminars about how to create and deliver an elevator speech. I handled the writing portion, while she handled the part about delivering an elevator speech. It was wonderful to have a creative partner.
  15. Attend networking events. Your local Chamber of Commerce, Small Business Development Center, professional associations, and many other groups have regular networking events. There are also Meetup Groups on virtually any topic. You can join an existing Meetup group or start your own.
  16. Commit to learning. One of the joys of being self-employed is that there’s always something to learn. Expand your knowledge by taking a class on email marketing, how to build a website, or how to use your accounting software. You can also join organizations such as Toastmasters – where you can learn public speaking and leadership skills – that meet regularly and help you build your business.
  17. Attend conferences and workshops. Consider attending a conference or workshop where you can meet new people. This past weekend, I attended WordCamp NYC, a two-day conference about all things WordPress. I learned a lot and met interesting people.
  18. Leverage your interests. Don’t limit your socializing to work. There’s lots of opportunity for socializing in a religious or community organization. For many years I participated in quilting guilds, which gave me regular social time with fellow quilters. I’ve also taken classes in tai chi, meditation, and ballroom dancing.

Free Report: Beating Burnout for Entrepreneurs

About Sue Allen Clayton

Sue Allen Clayton is founder of the Serene Solopreneur, an online support group for female entrepreneurs. For more information contact Sue@SereneSolopreneur.com.

NOTE: This blog post was reprinted with permission by the author. To read more articles of interest to female entrepreneurs, visit the Serene Solopreneur blog.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist



Working with Friends – Advantages or Disaster?

Yelp Reviews: the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

There are many advantages to working with friends. The same passion. Two heads instead of one. You can bounce ideas off each other. Spending time together is easy. Longtime friends know each other well, the positive and negative attributes. These may all be the right ingredients to go into partnership together to create a business.

But one always has to be cautious. Having a disagreement over money decisions can hurt the business. It could ruin your friendship. This is also an issue if you partner with a family member. Same issues. What do you need to know to make sure your business and friendship don’t end blowing up, being a disaster. You don’t want your business to be the ground for friends or family squabbling.

Business family squabbling

As an example, my partner, Gillian and I are family, we’re sisters. But we like to think of ourselves as friends. So, we are doing business as both family and friends. Double whammy. In our early business development, we made a pact, “If business disagreements interfered in our sister relationship, we would dissolve the business”. It was that important to us. Our families would suffer otherwise.

We instituted a series of guidelines. It spelled out each person’s responsibilities and authorities for our business. We wanted to avoid a potential friend or family feud or a business breakdown. Sometimes we have to be flexible. Not always get our own way. But we have been partners for 4 years and we love working with each other every day. We are working hard but having fun together. We have the same interests, so our business and personal lives are never boring. Rarely does a day go by when we don’t have some form of communication. Our husbands worry we will get sister withdrawal if we go more than two days without chatting.

But here is some advice that we would like to pass on. Things we have learned from our own experiences and mentoring given to us.

Five Things to Help Working with Friends:

  1. Make a list of all the major decisions that you will encounter. Decide which of the two of you will get ultimate decision making if you don’t agree how to handle something.
  2. Some of our toughest discussions are keeping friendship and business separate. We have to stay focused. Make a pact, that this “time” is for “work” only.
  3. On the opposite side of that, leave work talk for business hours. Be friends or family outside of the office.
  4. Don’t commingle monies. Set up a business account. Only business expenses come from that account. It’s not for personal use.
  5. Decide who will be responsible for which roles. Who has the best talents for accounting or marketing, or the desire. Then make sure you keep clear who “owns” those roles.

We have seen many husband and wife teams. They might have started off as business partners, then got married. It always looks exciting to see them working together. But divorces happen. How do they deal with it? Same way as any family or friend. Create a plan in advance. Like a prenup but for their business enterprise.

If you hire family members like spouses or kids, you face other issues. Write a business plan in advance. It should outline all the important things to consider. Determine income, percentage of business, who to hire, roles in advance.

If your business includes friends with family, you have to be extra careful. Don’t put yourself in a position of choosing between family or a friend. That would be a terrible situation. You may not recover in your relationships.

This also applies to having friends or family being clients. Do they expect discounts? What if you don’t meet their expectations? I don’t have a magic pill to answer those questions. But I do caution you to try and keep everything on a professional business level. Its ok to give them discounts but have a clear understanding of how that will work. They will want the same service as your regular customers. Find the balance with that.

We encourage you to work with your friends. Work with family. Have family and friends as clients. Nothing is more fun than having family or friend small businesses today. But please make sure you do not neglect an operating plan or agreement. Keep the sanctity of your family or friends, whether they are business partner or clients. Like Gillian and I, you can take all your talents and meld into a fabulous business that will serve you well.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist



Time Management Strategies to Help Boost Your Business

Time Management Strategies Clock

Time Management. Doesn’t this feel like an age-old problem? Do we avoid getting distracted during our day. Struggle with setting deadlines and finishing on time. Feeling stressed a lot. We want more time for fun and family. We need time management strategies.

Does this YouTube remind you of your business life?

If you don’t have time to watch it now let me describe it.

There are two guinea pigs on a treadmill. One fell off. He tried and tried but never got off. Funny but so sad. So, which guinea pig are you? If you are on the treadmill, would you like to get off?

Does it feel like insanity? “Doing the same thing and expecting different results”. You must make changes in your daily work habits. Perhaps you need some time management strategies.

Let’s face it. You do know what to do. There are plenty of books to help you. There are tons of videos. Plenty of courses. Great programs to learn Time Management skills.

Here are some basic time management strategies we all know.

  • First of all, stop reading emails at the beginning of the day.
  • Write a list of things you need to do – then break it down into bite size pieces.
  • Lastly, focus your to do list in order of importance

But why don’t you do it? That is the million dollar question.

Of course, we know better, but why don’t get off the treadmill?

It requires huge change. Self-discipline. Daily effort.  Habit is a key to the answer.  But don’t try and change all your habits at once. It may be too much. But each little change made a part of your routine will become a new habit.

Time Management Strategies from Janet

  • Here are some business habits I have incorporated into my business:
  • I use an online Google Calendar. I can access from my phone, Ipad, and laptop. It lets me know when it is time to do the next scheduled project.
  • I gave up scrolling Facebook in the morning. It wasn’t helping me with my business.
  • I use a timer on my laptop to mark out my daily projects. When the time is up, I stop.  I have a glass of water, take a stretch.  Work on a different project.  That’s actually a couple of habits.
  • I do the hard projects first when my brain is at its best.
  • I use an online program called  www.asana.com to map out my projects. Keeps me on task. check emails later in the day. I still struggle with this. But I am getting better at it.

My Mom taught me a famous line that has become part of my philosophy. I preach it to others who ask my advice. “When the pain to stay is worse than the pain to go, you will go”.

Making time management changes is painful. When the stress and lack of productivity are bad enough, the pain will force you to change.

#1 Tip for your time management strategies

YOU are the tip. It’s up to you to decide “its time”. The ability to change your habits is YOU. Finally, the success of your business is YOU.  You have the tools at your fingertips. Just do it.

Take baby steps to change one habit at a time.

Make a note of where you are today. Check back with yourself a year from now. See how many time management struggles you resolved.  Then reward yourself and find out what you need to change next. We constantly have to grow. Let me know.

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist



Life Lessons Learned From My Favorite Centenarian

Life lessons learned birthday cake

This past Sunday, my husband’s grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 102. Grandma T, as we fondly called her, lived a long and vibrant life. As a result, she leaves behind an incredible legacy of love, laughter, and learning. Here are some of the life lessons learned from my favorite centenarian.

Life Lessons Learned: Save It For Later

Life lessons learned jam-packed freezer

Grandma T had the most jam-packed freezer I have ever seen. She kept everything in there, sometimes well beyond the expiration date. Like we’re talking years beyond! Whenever she ate out, she would always be sure to ask for a “doggie bag.” There were a couple of times she packed up the remains of my meal too.

At first glance, you might write off this behavior as evidence she was either poor or cheap. Neither was true. It was more a result of growing up during The Depression. She was the complete opposite of the current generations of entitled folks. Grandma T knew what it was like to go without, which is why she never took anything for granted.

As entrepreneurs, I often see my clients and myself exhibiting the same behavior as Grandma T. We look at all the great information available to help us better market our business. We’re appreciative of all the free content available to consume. Free webinars, blog posts, online courses, videos, and more. Anything we need to learn is one Google Search away.

Like Grandma T, I often find myself packing away “doggie bags” of information to consume later. I like to store my online information goodies in Raindrop.io, my favorite internet bookmarking tool.

Life Lessons Learned: Reach For the Top

Life lessons learned reaching for the top of the tree

Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Grandma T spent more than half of her life in Mesa, AZ. One thing that she loved about living in the Southwest was growing citrus. A ton of citrus adorned her property. Whenever we would go to visit, the first thing she would ask us to do was to go out and pick her oranges. Grandma T would always oversee this, acting like a taskmaster. Being city slickers, we would always reach for the low hanging fruit.

Grandma T never tolerated slackers. She would bark at us to get back outside and pick the oranges at the top of the tree. To get the job done, she’d hand us a fruit picker extension, which allowed us to reach for the top.

As small business professionals, it’s easy to shy away from goals that make us stretch and grow. Instead, it’s much easier to set our sights on the goals that are easy to reach. Yet, if we look around for the right tools that help us extend our reach, we can get to the top after all.

Grandma T always believed the fruit gleaned from the top of the tree tasted better. Isn’t it the same with our goals? When we achieve those really big wins it seems so much sweeter.

Life Lessons Learned: Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up


Life lessons learned speaking up at the bar mitzvah

Grandma T was a strong and vibrant character. She also had a lot of chutzpah. I remember when she traveled up to Utah for my son’s Bar Mitzvah. She had prepared a little speech to read during the service. Unfortunately, even though she was listed on the program, the rabbi forgot to call on her. Big mistake.

Immediately after the service, as everyone was leaving, Grandma T hopped up and had a word with the rabbi. She then insisted he get everyone back in their seats. Which he promptly did. Grandma T then walked to the front of the room and gave a lovely speech in honor of her great grandson. The rabbi later confided he’d never met anyone as commanding as Grandma T. This from a man that had served in the Israeli army.

Grandma T was never afraid to speak up. She figured that if she had something to say, then it was our job to listen. Boy, how many of us could use a big dose of that? I don’t know how many times I have been at a business event and felt self-conscious about speaking up. After watching Grandma T assert herself, I became much more courageous about speaking up.

As business professionals, we may need to tell our clients things they might not want to hear. We must not be afraid of speaking up. Even when it seems that your turn is over, and nobody seems to be listening, empower yourself to speak up anyway.

Unlike Grandma T, most of us will probably not live to 102. It is a rarity to live to see your 100th birthday. I think the people who do live that long, must do so because they have grit. Maybe that inner grit flags them for longevity.

I am honored to have known Lillian Tannenholz (aka Grandma T), for the past 25+ years. I will always be grateful for the life lessons learned from her. May her memory be a blessing.

Lillian Tannenholz at 100 years old

Lillian Tannenholz

December 10, 1915 – June 17, 2018

Launch4Life - Gillian Whitney

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant



Success Secrets for Breaking Through Your Business Struggles

Woman suffering from business struggles

Business struggles are tough. You feel like packing it in. You are thinking of trying something else. I am sure like me and many others, you have had that moment when you want to throw in the towel. It’s too hard. You are bleeding money. You are working another job to feed this business. Or perhaps you are just doubting your venture. You feel your product isn’t good enough. You need some business motivation.

It is always a gamble being an entrepreneur to know when to pack it in. I recently heard Kate Spade’s 2017 interview with NPR where she and her husband talked about how at one point they had decided to close the business. They had spent all of their 401K and savings. Andy, her husband had actually been supporting the business by working on the opposite side of the country to help Kate keep the business afloat. Not only were they sacrificing money, they were sacrificing their relationship. After four years, they had barely given themselves $15,000 in salary. They made a decision to give up on the business. But two of their equity partners begged them to keep trying. So, they pushed on. Within a couple of years, they had sold 56% of their business to Neiman Marcus for more than $30 million.

Most of their success came from recognition and publicity.  Without that they probably would never have made it.  Of course, marketing a business back in the 90s is a little different than today. But what are the takeaways from Kate’s business that you can apply to your own?

#1 Her business was an “original disruptor”. She had thought of something that no one else had thought to do before. Her line of handbags was original. She had found something that was missing in the bags currently being sold.

Does your business offer something new and innovative?

#2 Do or Die. Being 100% committed. Not having another job at the time. Even though her husband was working and giving her support, Kate quite her job and was “all in”.

Despite obstacles, are you totally committed to your message?

#3 Marketing support. Recognition for your product and its value. Today that would be your Online Marketing Machine: social media, a website, email platform and advertising.

Do you see the “big picture” of your business and how you need to orchestrate the components to accomplish your recognition and success?

I wanted to use Kate Spade‘s story to honor her and her contribution to fashion and entrepreneurs. It is so sad to hear that someone who had worked tirelessly to attain success was still unhappy. I am no psychiatrist and I am sure there is a lot of what we don’t know about Kate Spade’s personal life, but perhaps the biggest lesson her story offers us is that we need to be sure that our success does not cost us our joy in life. Making our business be part of our life, not all of our life.

Do not define your life only by your business success. 

I would be remiss if I don’t take this moment to also show my respect and regard for Anthony Bourdain. I loved watching his show “Parts Unknown”. Though I am a wimp when it comes to trying new exotic foods, I loved watching his adventurous passion. It did encourage me to explore my culinary creativity which I love to share with my family and friends.

Let Anthony and Kate’s success and teachings make you and I better entrepreneurs and help us make better contributions to the world.

RIP Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.     

Janet Elie Launch4Life

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist



Do You Need a Summer Time Goal Reboot?

How on earth did it get to be June? Wasn’t it only yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and setting our goals for 2018? The first day of summer is almost here. This might be a good time to take a look at your goals to see how you’re doing. Do a mid-year goal check-in and decide if you might need a reboot.

Whether you set personal goals, professional goals, or both, it’s good to evaluate if you’re on track to reach whatever deadline you set. This year, I set quite a few goals to accomplish. Some have already been accomplished. Hurray!  However, quite a few are nowhere near being on track. Darn!  Which is why, I am implementing a plan of… Stop, Drop, and Roll.

Stop, Drop, and Roll was a fire safety technique I learned back in Canada when I was a kid. It was the safety precaution that was drilled into us, so we would know  what to do if our clothes ever caught on fire. It was a proactive measure to “learn not to burn.”  Even after fifty years – I still remember that lesson. I figured this was a great metaphor to prevent getting “burned” by elusive goals.  Ready to Stop, Drop and Roll? Lets get started.



Mid-year is a great time to stop what you’re doing and reflect. Have you made the progress you were hoping to accomplish? Are you just a little off track? Or, are you totally derailed?

Taking the time to reflect lets you evaluate what might be keeping you stuck. When we stop and look at where we currently are, we can better figure out what’s holding us back. What are our roadblocks? Is the goal too big? Did we break it down into enough actionable tasks? Do we need a better plan?

During this period of reflection, it’s a good idea to think of ways you can tweak your goal or change the process, so you can get where you want to be. Zoom out and look at the big picture. Think about where you are now and where you want to go. Once you have that vision, think about everything that has to happen between the two points.

If you evaluate your progress and you realize that you’re not getting closer to your goals, you need to re-adjust your approach. Reaching our goals is kind of like flying an airplane. If the pilot doesn’t know where they are and where they want to go, they will never reach the final destination.



Sometimes we may find that the goal we set for ourselves no longer matters. We are constantly changing and so is our business. Think about why you created the goal in the first place. Maybe what was important to you in January is no longer important to you in June?  It’s perfectly fine to change your mind.

If your goal no longer resonants for you, it’s okay to drop it and take it off your list. After all, the only goals that really matter… are the goals that really matter.  When we set goals it’s almost a given that we are going to encounter setbacks and failures. When we meet resistance it’s normal to feel like giving up. If you have a really strong reason to keep pushing through, because the final outcome really matters, you will find a way to persevere. On the same token, if don’t have a big enough WHY you won’t have the motivation to stay the course.



If you decide that your goal still matters and you want to make better progress, you need to roll away any roadblocks you’re encountering. Most often our biggest hinderance to achieving our goals is “us”. We can be our own worst enemies with the stories we tell ourselves.

Have you ever battled with some of these thoughts?  “If only…” or “I’m never…”  or “Why do I always…” When this kind of “stinkin-thinkin” gets planted in our head it can grow like a weed. Negative thoughts dis-empower us and stop us from taking action.

For anyone that has ever gardened, you know that weeds have a nasty habit of choking the flowers. If weeds are left to grow they can eventually take over the whole flower bed. Unfortunately, getting rid of those weeds is a lot of work. You can’t just rip off the tops because they’ll grow right back. Instead, you have to pull those weeds out by their roots. This is a great mirror of what happens to us when we allow negative thoughts to take root. Negative thoughts effect our beliefs, which in turn effects our actions, which in turn effects our results.


In conclusion, our goals must have meaning and purpose. To achieve our goals requires continual reflection and analysis.  We must be mindful of how our thoughts, beliefs, and actions impact our results. I hope you will join me in doing a Summertime Goal Reboot.

Yesterday was my birthday. I decided it was the perfect time to Stop, Drop, and Roll. I am happy to announce that some of my 2018 goals have been dropped from my list. By doing that, I was able to add new goals that better resonate for me. The final result is that I now feel more energized in my personal and professional life.

Before you head off for your summer vacation, take this opportunity for a mid-year check-in to determine if you need to reboot your 2018 goals.


By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant