As the founder of a completely virtual business, I’m often touting the benefits of working from home and of not being tethered to any one spot. While there are certainly many benefits to working at home, the one big downside is that it can get lonely.
Even for the ones who prefer to work alone, social interaction is critical to overall health. Further, community is so important to our general well-being. But how can you find community when you run a virtual business?
- Coworking space vs coffee shop
But here’s the thing. I’m not the type of person to trust a stranger to actually watch my stuff while I go to the bathroom. So I literally pack everything up and unpack when I come back. Further, when you’re working in a coffee shop, you’re a lone island. The person next to you could be working on something completely different or having an annoying conversation.
At a coworking space, everyone is there for the same reason. There’s no unreasonably loud music or super low temperature. (However, there still could be annoying conversations.) While I haven’t “made friends” yet, I’ve certainly met interesting people. AND the space I joined has a lot of events I could attend where I would make friends... ahem build a community. Also, there is something about being in a working environment that I think is helping me to be more productive. I’m not there all day every day, so it still fits the virtual aspects of my work.
And to justify the nomad in you? Join a space with locations all over the world!
In the few weeks I’ve been a member, I already feel my sense of community in the business world has heightened, much more so than when I was working in coffee shops.
- JAMM and GSD sessions
The nice thing is because they are online, we can be anywhere when we do these sessions. We have even done them on the fly where we’ll text each other saying we need some accountability and bam, a JAMM session is in place (even if the other person isn’t working but just checking in via text).
Not only does this help us to be more productive, but it also gives us an avenue to reach out when we’re struggling. All of us know when someone reaches out, we need to respond. While they may say they are reaching out for accountability about work, we know it’s about not being alone too. It helps with our productivity AND with our mental health.
- Accountability partners
I also attend a group accountability meeting periodically. In the few sessions I have gone, I have noticed how much everyone wants to help each other. I have also noticed it’s helping me to up my game.
- Virtual groups or in person groups
There are virtual and in-person groups. Find the ones that match your schedule, your style, and your goals.
There are many avenues to building community in this current age of online everything. What’s most important is that you recognize the need for having a community if your life and your business and finding the right ones for you.
For more small business tips and how to navigate the virtual work world, visit our Freedom Makers website.