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Resourceful Designer podcast: Offering tips, tricks and advice for starting and growing your graphic or web design business.

Do you worry about isolation while working from home?

Isolation is one of the major concerns when running a home-based design business. Spending day after day, week after week having minimal contact with other people can take its toll on some people. That's why working from home is not for everyone.

When asked about working from home most people will give one of two responses.

  1. I wish I could do that. Be my own boss, work my own hours with nobody looking over your shoulder.
  2. I don't think I could do that. It would drive me crazy being by myself all the time.

The type of person you are will determine if isolating yourself to run a home-based design business is right for you. After all, to live a healthy and fulfilling life you need to have close, interpersonal relationships. Which isn't always easy for home-based designers.

Before I go any further, let me just state that I am not a qualified therapist or health professional. If you are feeling the effects of isolation to the point where you are feeling lonely or depressed, please seek professional help.

Ways to cope with isolation when working from home.

Create a happy work environment

A key factor to a pleasant work at home experience is working in a space you enjoy. If at all possible, have a dedicated room in your home for your workspace. If your living arrangements don't allow for this try dedicating a corner of a room with a desk and other things you need to run your business.

Liven up your workspace with artwork and mementoes that make you feel good. Work with music if that's something you like, or if you find music too distracting you can try soothing sounds of nature. And make sure you have good lighting. Natural light from a window is best, but a good daylight lamp will suffice if need be.

If you like your working environment, chances are you will feel less isolated when you spend time in it.

Get out for a bit

Whenever you start to feel isolated, it may be a good time to take a break and get out. Go for a walk in a park or spend some time at a mall. Just being around other people, even if you don't interact with them will help alleviate some of your feelings of isolation.

Move your workspace

If you work on a laptop or tablet why not take it to a coffee shop or some other place with wifi. You could also try a shared work space. Many cities now offer short-term office space rentals. Think about renting a space for a couple of hours once per week. Shared office paces give you the opportunity to work on your business while still being around others. Simply being around other people can have a therapeutic effect when you're struggling with isolation.

Become part of a community

Try joining groups or clubs in your area. Joining a group or club is a great way to meet new people and give you a chance to interact outside of a work environment. Check your local community centre for recreational sports leagues or other social gatherings.

For a quick fix from feeling isolated don't discount the power of social media. Being part of an online community can help take the stress out of your busy work life.

Mastermind and networking groups are another great way to interact with like-minded people. See if there are any in your area you could join.

Sometimes, all it takes to get over that feeling of isolation is to share your thoughts and experiences with other people.

Get a pet

This might not be for everyone, but having a pet in your house can help you feel less alone. Pets are very therapeutic and have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. Dogs are great listeners and give you their undivided attention when you need it, and cats have a way of knowing when you need a little affection.

If cats or dogs are not an option, perhaps you may want to try a fish or some other less demanding animal. Simply having another living being in your house can help curb that feeling of isolation.

Talk to yourself

I know, it sounds crazy. But when you're in a pinch talking to yourself can be a way of feeling less alone. Simply hearing a voice, even if it's your own can relieve stress and soothe you. After all, who better to discuss your design and business issues with than the person who knows you best, you.

There are far worse things you can do than have a conversation with yourself when you are feeling isolated.

Working from home can be a wonderful experience. It does take discipline and willpower, but if you can get over the isolation, you shouldn't have any problems.

How do you cope with isolation?

Let me know by leaving a comment for this episode.

Questions of the Week

Submit your question to be featured in a future episode of the podcast by visiting the feedback page.

This week’s question comes from Shenai

I'm listening to episode 93 and you just hit on a problem that I've been struggling with. Having a main business and then a separate brand for a niche.

I have been struggling back and forth with the idea of using my own name or a business name that I already have picked out. I would like to keep it personal with my local clients but also have my own designs and plans of printed materials that I would rather have a business name attached to. (for marketing and also privacy) Should I do both? Or just pick a route and stick to it? How would you recommend setting up banking and such for these different brands to keep it less confusing?

To find out what I told Shenai you’ll have to listen to the podcast.

Resource of the week Fontreach.com

This week's resource is fontreach.com. A fun site that shows the popularity of various fonts being used by the top one million websites. Want to know how many of them use Arial, or Helvetica Neue? Simply type in a font, and the site will tell you. Or you can view a list of the top fonts being used. As I said, this is a fun site that you may want to check out the next time you're deciding on fonts for a web project.

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I want to help you.

Running a graphic design or web design business all by yourself isn't easy. If there are any struggles you face running your design business please reach out to me. I'll do my best to help you by addressing your issues in a future blog post or podcast episode here at Resourceful Designer. You can reach me at feedback@resourcefuldesigner.com