TARA SHELTON of Dream & Do – Chasing your dreams can be lonely business
There’s no doubt that as an entrepreneur, it can be a pretty lonely road, filled with anxieties about potential failure. As long as we’re prepared for it, we can overcome it. Dream & Do share some insights, stories and personal tips about how to keep loneliness and anxiety at bay on your journey to success.
No one said this journey was going to be easy. Although we’re bombarded with success stories left, right and centre, inspirational talks and motivational workshops, you rarely hear about the people who fail, or give up, or feel so lonely they quit and go back to their office job so they can have light water cooler conversation every day (do people even do that?!).
As start-ups, we all feel overwhelming pressure to succeed. Maybe you quit your full-time job to give this a red-hot go, or defied your parents or your partner who didn’t believe in you. We’re all afraid of failure, but we just need to learn to look at it differently. From failure comes more, sometimes better, doors opening. Failure builds resilience and winning builds confidence. You can learn from failure, but always plan to win. There’s a lot of inspirational quotes floating around about ‘failing hard, failing fast’, but what if we can just learn to take baby steps as well, pivot and grow as ideas change and blossom? It doesn’t all have to be so dramatic.
According to Business Insider, depression is becoming an epidemic in the start-up world, with 30% of founders dealing with its effects, as opposed to 7% of the general population. We can’t help but think anxiety and loneliness has something to do with that.. As your ideas and business grow, your life starts to change just as rapidly, and it can feel like a fast-moving train you’re struggling to hold onto.
In fact, as any kind of creative person, loneliness is inevitable on the journey. We need to be alone to think, to absorb and to create.
That’s not to say that creative entrepreneurs are all hermits with social anxiety. After all, you’re only as creative as the experiences you have. Sure, you can hide away in a cave practising Buddhism and enlightenment for years at a time, but is that really realistic for most of us? What’s more, does that really help us produce culturally-relevant art, design, products and ideas?
When you’re starting out or taking the next big step, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to work, work, work, 24/7. But you’ll just burn out. As well as shaking up your daily routine, remember to surround yourself with a social network. Collaborations, or strategic partnerships, are a great way to manage your business and beat the loneliness blues. Joining a shared office, even just one day a week, is another great way to meet like-minded people, share ideas and brainstorm innovative ideas. Go to events and talks, even if you hate networking, because being surrounded by people who just *get* you – not to mention actual human beings – will make a world of difference.
We’re going to insert some shameless self-promotion here and invite you along to our breakfast meet-up event series, Cereal Entrepreneurs! It’s a fun live interview and workshop series combining creativity, business and big ideas. Free breakfast included.
A lot of people we talk to feel pretty lonely in their business, particularly as a start-up. When Dream & Do was just founder Tara on her laptop, she implemented a routine to help: get up with her husband to make him breakfast, get dressed, and go to a library or café for the day to treat it like an office. After a while, she hired an intern, which was great company, help with the business, projecting ideas and giving them work experience. And when you become a successful business with a huge team, you’ll be craving those lonely times, like Tara does sometimes.
One of our new clients called us in tears recently, feeling scared that she’d soon get lonely. Tara reassured her that it wouldn’t last long – she’d soon be meeting clients and growing with the business. Plus it’s all worth it in the end – loneliness is just the initial cost of chasing your dreams.
Maybe you’ve thought of booking in to a business coach? It’s all well and good to talk the ears off your partner, friends, or anyone who will listen, but you can’t put a price on the comfort of talking to someone who actually understands what you’re going through, the path you’ve chosen, and advice to impart. A recent client, Peacock Chocolates, had been in business two years before booking a creative workshop session with Tara. She was selling chocolates at markets every weekend and didn’t know where to take the online store/delivery side of things – she was feeling unmotivated, stale and alone. After the workshop, her creative spark has reignited and we’re now doing a full rebrand for the business, now called Ms Peacock offering an exclusive same-day delivery service in the CBD. Lisa is taking her dream to the next level.
– TARA SHELTON.
Dream & Do is a creative agency based in Sydney, specialising in branding, graphic design and creative content for start-ups, business visionaries and dreamers everywhere. They champion the age of the entrepreneur; you dream, let’s do.
RESIDENTS of The Office Space can enjoy an exclusive 50% off a Creative Brand Workshop with Tara, as part of the Equip by The Office Space program. Go here to find out more.