Is Running a Business Making You Lonely?

Most people make their income by working at a job with a boss and a set hourly schedule. (I’m even one of them!)

Assuming that the majority of your friends and family are the same way, they may not identify with you when you want to talk about running your business. Not only that, but you may feel like they are not giving you the support that you thought they were going to when you first started out.

Here you are, making awesome handmade products, and those close to you aren’t even bothering to like your Facebook page, let alone tell other people about your stuff. What the heck, don’t they realize that you can use all of the help you can get?

The short answer is no, they don’t. I’m here to tell you that it’s not YOU, it’s them. Really.

Brown eyeglasses lanyard

Most people simply don’t understand the emotional investment that goes into selling creativity, or the amount of work it takes to actually try to make a decent living at it. Your friend Carol is totally there with you when you complain about your boss getting on your case for being 2 minutes late, but she’s only pretending to listen when you start to gripe about Etsy’s latest stance on collectives. You shouldn’t really blame her for it either, there is no common ground for her to reference.

When your closest relationships don’t seem to understand what you are going through, or don’t bother to offer you the help you thought they would, you may start to feel like you are completely on your own. That release you were once able to exercise when griping about the day’s stress at the office is no longer available to you when you want it for your business. Your friends and family aren’t lining up to help you with your craft fair booths or telling everyone they know about what great Christmas gifts your items would make. Be warned: probably the first you will hear any of them say is “oh, you can make money doing that? I should do that too!” and that’s it.

Black and blue beaded bracelet

To prevent the loneliness that can stem from feeling like no else understands what you are going through, it’s important to establish relationships with other business owners going through the same thing. Look for some groups, forums, and teams that relate to your niche. Find some crafty blogs to follow. Join a local artisan club or entrepreneur group. Reach out and share your story with those who are more able to resonate with where you are coming from.

I can tell you right now that I am more likely to have someone I’ve met online recommend my products than one of the friends I’ve known since middle school. While it certainly doesn’t hurt for us to ask our friends and family to promote for us, we shouldn’t feel disappointed when they don’t comprehend how much we rely on that word-of-mouth marketing. If they don’t know the first thing about trying to run their own business, they won’t understand us the way our new cyber friends do. That’s okay, because there is a world of online support out there to make up for it.


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18 thoughts on “Is Running a Business Making You Lonely?

  1. Between The Weeds: LRStudio November 26, 2012 at 7:07 am Reply

    Reblogged this on The Painted Cottage Home and commented:
    Feeling lonely it is OK you are alone.I like the way Megan writes about the downside to being a creative seller.

  2. Ellen November 26, 2012 at 7:08 am Reply

    Ugh. Amen!!
    Though I am lucky to have some close people promoting me, others do not get it at all. It is difficult. I am VERY glad to have discovered the online community on LinkedIn and Etsy and Facebook (lovely talks with fellow crafter-businesswomen!)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 26, 2012 at 8:24 am Reply

      Exactly Ellen, those online social outlets are great for so much more than promotion.

  3. twistedpixelstudio November 26, 2012 at 7:16 am Reply

    oh yeah. Been there. Still there. Even had a family member ask me to critique their photos to see if they could open a shop too. My brother did buy one of my ooak pieces but that’s the extent of any of my family participating.

    And sad to say they have lots of reach too. I guess you’ve hit it on the nail. Don’t expect. Actually, in the long run, probably for the better because you did it on your own. Plus you don’t have the drama that goes with it. :)

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 26, 2012 at 8:25 am Reply

      That’s true Debbie. It’s frustrating at first, but at least you know that your success is all your own when you earn it.

  4. Nelson Jewelry & Gemstones November 26, 2012 at 8:45 am Reply

    And the worst part is if you live with someone and they see you on the computer all day, they don’t realize you’re studying marketing, marketing, updating your website, learning a new skill, socializing with your peers, etc. They just think you’re goofing off and have time to do things for THEM!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 26, 2012 at 9:32 am Reply

      Sometimes even the clearest communication of “I AM working” doesn’t get through. I feel ya there. We just have to keep trying to explain ourselves sometimes.

  5. homegrownjoy November 26, 2012 at 9:25 am Reply

    I don’t know where I’d be without the online friends I’ve made. They definitely help keep me going when I’m feeling down more than friends or family do, and they offer great support and promotion.

    I will say I’m super thankful for my boyfriend since he celebrates every sale with me by doing a little dance in the living room.

  6. Cynthia@OrnamentalStyle November 26, 2012 at 10:42 am Reply

    I am fortunate to have family who support my business–both by promoting it, helping at events, helping with photos, inventory, etc. It’s the people who say, “It’s nice to have a hobby.” or “That’s a good hobby.” that get to me. I started this as way to make some extra money! If they knew how much this “hobby” has cost me in supplies, angst, stress, lack of free time… Well, let’s just say I’d like to smack them!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 26, 2012 at 11:45 am Reply

      Oh, Cynthia! I hear you there! YES I enjoy making my items BUT I would not be spending as much TIME doing so if I were not working to pay the bills by doing so. It is something we take very seriously, so it can be rather jarring when other people don’t.

  7. Nicole November 26, 2012 at 11:39 am Reply

    Yes Yes and Yes. It kills me when I have close friends that I ask to leave feedback and its like pulling teeth. They just don’t understand.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 26, 2012 at 11:45 am Reply

      But we do! We, your online community of support, are here for you Nicole!

  8. sueswordfitlyspoken November 26, 2012 at 8:54 pm Reply

    That was awesome, Megan. It made me laugh, and I so felt the pain of those feelings of rejection from those close to you who don’t support you. My mom wants to buy my things, but I’m 57, and it just isn’t what I need right now. LOL
    Thanks for the perspective!

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 27, 2012 at 8:11 am Reply

      It can be hard to explain to family members that, while it’s great they want to buy your stuff, it would be even MORE helpful if they told other people about it instead.

      Always happy to make my readers laugh! :-)

  9. Hazel Hopkinson November 29, 2012 at 1:47 am Reply

    Getting involved in community events has given me the chance to get to know others with their own business. Our town now has a monthly street market selling handmade goods and this evening we have a Christmas event. It’s good promotion for all the businesses and gets us working together

    • MegansBeadedDesigns November 29, 2012 at 8:10 am Reply

      That’s a wonderful opportunity Hazel, so glad you can participate in it!

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