Solopreneurship and the Friendship Desert

Being a solopreneur means spending a lot of time alone. That can lead to serious mental health issues. Here's how to beat loneliness and build an exceptional life.

Big shoutout to todays sponsor Solo OS. Running a solo business is amazing. But when you’re trying to manage everything by yourself it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks.

That’s where Solo OS comes in. it’s a complete operating system for your entire solo business. And right now you can get a free copy when you enroll in the Bootstrap-It course for just $125

But act now. This offer is only good for a short time. 

Hello, my friend,

(Yes, you have at least one) 😁

In 1990 I was 11. That would put me in the 4th or 5th grade.

Things were very different back then. Gas was $1.32 a gallon.

The most popular show on TV was Cheers. Followed closely by Roseanne and Murphy Brown.

The internet wasn’t a thing yet. It had only been released to the public the previous year. In fact, most families still didn’t have a home computer.

We were less connected than we are today. Life was simpler. Slower.

I look back fondly on those times. Although I wasn’t a popular kid in school I was never short on friends. Although we were poor, we were rich in love and community.

There’s a psychological term called Rosy Retrospective. It refers to our tendency to recall past events more fondly than the present. I’ve often used this to explain why things seemed “better” back then than they are today.

But it turns out, things may have actually been better.

We’ve Got Fewer Friends Than Ever

A recent study from the Survey Center on American Life found that 15% of American men admit to not having a single close friend

That’s up from 3% in 1990. An increase of 400%

Despite being more connected than ever it turns out we are more alone than at any time in history.

Close friends are important. We need people in our lives to share in the ups and downs. We need someone we can be vulnerable with.

Unfortunately, today we’ve created a world where being vulnerable is dangerous. A world where being phony is the key to attention and recognition.

How many carefully manicured social media feeds have you seen this week? People posting the highlights of an otherwise normal life. 

Think about what that does to your psyche. We repeatedly tell our subconscious,

“Don’t let anyone in. Don’t let them see the real you.
Don’t break the facade or everyone will know you’re a fraud.”

Is it any wonder we have fewer “close” friends than ever before? 

If you want to see what someone’s life is really like, convince them to join “BeReal”.  It’s an app that sends you a notification at random times asking you to take a picture of what you’re doing at that moment. 

My kids and I are on it. I didn’t realize how ordinary my life was until I posted the 150th picture of me sitting at my desk creating content…alone.

And that’s really the subject of today’s letter.

Solopreneurs Need to
Monitor Their Mental Health

As solopreneurs, we spend a lot of time alone, doing work most people will never see.

On average I spend about 10 hours a day completely alone. Even though my wife works a hundred feet away from me, we don’t spend much time together during working hours.

There’s no other way to say it. Solopreneurship is a lonely business. If we don’t make an effort to stay connected with others we risk serious health issues.

When I was in the Marines I was surrounded by friends 24/7. We lived, worked, and ate together. We were like brothers.

When I left the service it was like losing my family. I struggled to make friends, eventually going back to work for the government doing security work. At least part of my reason for that was a desire to have close relationships again.

Solopreneurs feel the same shock when they trade in their 9-5 for a home office.

No more office gossip in the break room. No more lunches with your coworker to complain about the job. No sounding board to vent your client frustrations to.

When this happens our initial reaction is to seek out others in the same situation. We develop “internet friends”. Many of these relationships can be fulfilling. But none of them is a replacement for an in-person human connection.

Building Relationships Takes
Time and Commitment

I know I normally write about marketing and business systems. Many of my readers tune in to learn about a new process or business tactic I’m using to grow my solo empire.

But we are in the midst of a mental health crisis in America. Don’t believe for one second that all the shootings, violence, and polarization in our country aren’t connected to the decline in deep, meaningful relationships.

I don’t have any tricks to finding a good friend in this world. I wish I did. But I know it starts with being honest and vulnerable. 

In order for you to have the kind of meaningful relationships you want requires you to be someone real and trustworthy.

You have to be willing to show people who you are. It’s scary and dangerous. Especially with how quickly news and gossip can spread.

But the alternative is a life of emotional isolation. Something 97% of the world just isn’t built for.

So make the effort. Knock off early to have a beer with that friend you’ve been neglecting. (You have my permission) Invite them into your life in a more meaningful way.

Be the shoulder someone else needs when times get dark and I promise they’ll show up for you as well. Because we’re all searching for the same thing. We’re all desperate for a connection.

Until next week,

Jason

If  you enjoyed this newsletter there are 2 ways I can help you:

1. If you’re looking to start or grow your business and you’re making less than $100k/yr, I’d recommend starting with an affordable course designed specifically to help you do that:

“Bootstrap It” is a comprehensive course for solopreneurs who want to grow a six-figure business but need a little help getting started.

2. If you have a successful business but you’re feeling burned out and frustrated then it’s time to start building the systems into your business that will free you from the day-to-day grind:

The Business Growth Accelerator – Get your business unstuck so you can enjoy the freedom and flexibility that comes from building a company correctly.

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