Although most days my little blog is a refuge for the hopeless romantics, creatives and wanderers of the world… Today, I want to get real with you. I am breaking down the walls and sharing one of my greatest struggles… The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship.
You see, winter in general is a challenging time for me. The lack of sunlight, the bitter cold, and switching gears from the constant adrenaline rush of shooting weddings to office work, taxes, and meetings is challenging. And no matter how hard I try to pretend that it doesn’t exist, this loneliness creeps in right around February and dares to drown me in a vast sea of self-doubt and comparison.
The truth is, I’ve been in business long enough to know that we all go through peaks and valleys. As Entrepreneurs, regardless of what we’re facing each week, when we charge forth into the world on Monday mornings we have to put on a brave face.
We carry on as if there aren’t tear stained cheeks and a mile long to-do list sitting on the other side of the computer screen. We share the polished highlights of our lives and sweep away the dusty, darkened fears that exist mere inches from the borders of our latest Instagram. And I do not believe it is because we’re too weak to face the realities that sit in front of us. But rather, because we are strong enough to recognize that building a business isn’t easy. We see the impossible odds staring us down and, as business owners, we decide that we’re going to march forward anyway. We refuse to quit.
So we wakeup, get dressed, put on a smile, and press onward in the hope of being courageous – without realizing that by struggling in silence, we perpetuate an unrealistic perception of entrepreneurial perfection… And other small business owners, going through the same challenges that we are, simply assume they are alone in their struggles. They see the decorated walls, perfectly packaged materials, and wonder if we have fairy-dust in our veins with a matching magic wand. And in an instant, our Entrepreneurial Bravery unintentionally becomes something detrimental.
I have watched so many new photographers come through my doors for mentoring & embarrassingly admit their struggles as if I couldn’t possibly understand or haven’t endured them myself. And I simply take them by the shoulders and I tell them: You are not alone.
I have been where you are sitting right now and I have cried those same tears. I have felt inadequate. I have doubted my work. I have worried and struggled and fought with every ounce of my being to keep this business alive. There have been days where I wanted to quit, roll my hands into fists and pound away at the brand that I’ve built until it’s nothing but rubble. I’ve seen doors slammed in my face and in those early years, I wondered if new ones would ever open. It’s hard to see it now because I’ve come such a long way over the years, but I have been where you are… and believe me when I say that you don’t have to do this alone.
You see, we’re all in this together. Hundreds of thousands of big dreamers, risk takers, and ground shakers. Leadership doesn’t have to be lonely. It doesn’t have to mean going at it alone. We dare to believe that with our hands and in our minds, we can carve out a better future for ourselves and our clients. We have the audacity to take big risks and seek a life that revolves around our passion rather than a time-clock.
Sleepless nights, overdue emails, client cancellations and rapidly approaching deadlines… We’ve all been there. Each year brings another onslaught of challenging situations to navigate, but rest easy in knowing that you will get better at handling the bumps in the road.
Loneliness is best overcome by being a part of a community! And there are so many phenomenal groups out there for you to be a part of, both locally and nationally! Your first step is to see if there are groups in your area who meet regularly and ask to join! You can also check out larger communities like the ones I’ve listed below!
Communities for Photographers + Creatives:
>> Service Based Communities: Shoot & Share + Pursuit31
>> Educational + Inspirational Communities: Creative at Heart Conference
>> Networking Groups: We host Happy Hours Quarterly for Annapolis Wedding Professionals
And if you can’t find a community where you fit, don’t be afraid to create your own! Monthly coffee meetings are an amazing way to meet other business owners, share stories, and exchange ideas! This year, I’m looking forward to hosting a few “Editing Sessions” around the Annapolis Area where photographers can come with their laptops, edit together, and simply work side by side! (This is such an easy thing to start up in your own city too! Hosting my first editing session next month, be sure to join The Newsletter for more details!)
If you live in a more rural location or have a little one at home, consider planning monthly Virtual Meetings with friends over Skype or Google Hangout! You could set a repeating time and whoever is free can pop online for an hour to chat + brainstorm together.
Remember: Just because you have a home office, does not mean that you are required to work alone everyday.
One of the biggest causes of loneliness among Entrepreneurs originates from working from home. So find a local coffee shop that you love and setup camp one day a week. There are some mornings where I really need to hear the buzz of human conversation and I’m not afraid to pack up my laptop and drive a few miles down the road to work remotely!
Also, remember to take breaks throughout the day and create a work-life balance custom to your unique personal needs. A few weeks ago, I started going back to the gym every morning for an hour before the workday started. It centers my mind and prepares me to take on the day! I have friends who take breaks in the afternoon for prayer and meditation, which I think is a fantastic idea!
Entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be a lonely place. And I genuinely believe that we can overcome so much if we simply work together.
© 2023 Natalie Franke
Love this Natalie! So proud of how far you have come! I just started leading the Pursuit Gainesville group and it’s such a blessing to be in community with other creatives. I would love to have coffee with you sometime!:-)
What an amazing post! So true 🙂
Thanks so much for being vulnerable with us!! So often I feel like it is encouraged for us to just push through and be better… No matter what the cost! I’m so proud of you for being so authentic!! Love this and you!!!
Yes Natalie!! I love this post, and I love the timing of this post. My first off season has been nothing but a struggle, and knowing that I’m not the only one who goes through this is such a weight off my shoulders. xoxo
This was exactly what I needed to wake up to. Thank you, friend, for sharing your heart and not being afraid!! Love you!
I sooooooo needed this today! Thank you for sharing your brave, encouraging post. This and a million others reasons are why I adore you Natalie!!
You are so motivating and inspiring — absolutely love this post!! Thanks for the Tuesday pick me up 🙂
These words really hit home for me. I struggled with the loneliness and hugeness of my business all of 2013 and info last year until you told me you saw me doing something completely different in a few years time.not even shooting weddings. Owning a business is the loneliest and most difficult thing I’ve ever done but it has introduced me to so many other amazing people!!! Thank you for sharing your hearty Natalie!!! Love you so much!
Natalie, thank you for this inspiring post & for pouring out your heart! Your words are so encouraging & exactly what I needed this morning!! xo 🙂
Agreed!! To everything! Community in your art is huge. It’s amazing when you realize everyone feels lonely sometimes and you just need one another. A walk, a coffee date, or even working in silence but in the same room helps me focus on my art rather than listen to the lies. The Lord built us for community! Thanks for this post Natalie! Love you!
Such an awesome, well-written post! Thanks for sharing this. Off-season can definitely become a difficult time for those who work for themselves and it’s good to know we’ve all been there and that we can all conquer it! 🙂
So needed to read this today. Thanks so much Natalie! xo
It’s like you read my diary.. It feels so good to know that I’m not the only one who feels like this. THANK YOU!!!
Natalie this speaks right to my heart! Thank you for being so open and sharing your heart with the world – and for cultivating an environment where creatives encourage one another! 🙂 You rock!
So inspiring! Thank you for sharing this!
Wow, I really needed to hear this today. I went to bed so lonely last night wondering why I am even doing this. It’s so hard when no one believes in you, even tells you it’s impossible or won’t succeed. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your struggles and fears, it reminds us that we are not alone. Thank you.
editing sessions– so great! a few photographers and i were talking about doing something like this. thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings and for writing this post! <3
Natalie, this post was so amazing. Thank you so much for always being so honest and so inspiring!! 🙂
Natalie, this was wonderful!
Thank you so, so much for being so open, vulnerable, and forth-coming with your heart. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Natalie, you are so sweet! This is such a great, honest post! Thank you for your friendship and your honesty! Can’t wait to get together again soon!
Thanks for this article Natalie! I was totally feeling this way late January in to February. Your words perked me up this morning. I am not alone! LOL. All will be fine once we persevere and follow our gut feelings that what we are doing is the right thing for us and our business. I did a class yesterday with a personal trainer for the first time ever. I’m so sore but I feel great that I did something for me and indeed found that balance that you speak of. Now back to editing and collage making! 😀
Ugh. Tears. This is SO GOOD. Thank you so much for being vulnerable. This is so on point and balm to my soul. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Your blog is the first one I read every morning! 🙂 I loved this post and it was SO encouraging to me! Thank you!
Your vulnerability is brave and relatable! I’m newer to my entrepreneurship so I am still working another job until my photography can fully support me, but this is something I have thought about as I’ve set up a home office. Thanks for sharing.
This is refreshing to my soul! I keep trying to remember not to compare someone else’s middle to my beginning! Thank you for being so real, Natalie!
Thanks for this. Sometimes I kick myself for not having “a real job” to communicate with others. Gives me hope.
Thank you for these words, Natalie! It is definitely easy to remember to look past everyone’s pretty images and know that no one’s business is perfect. And that’s something that we all have in common!
Seriously!! You totally rock because this is exactly how I have been feeling. I just wrote a blog post myself about the Winter Slowdown…but you did such an amazing job talking about this and trying to help others. Thanks for sharing!!!
SO true and well written Natalie! Thank you so much for sharing your heart- you are such an inspiration!
Natalie, this post speaks volumes! Straight from the heart. I needed to hear this today. Been going through one of those valleys. So thanks for sharing the encouragement.
Hands down, one of my favorite things you’ve ever posted. You write the truth so eloquently, friend! Thankful to know you! xoxo! <3
1. I wish we lived closer.
2. I wish I were full time and could hang out and have “edit dates”. That’s my favorite! haha.
3. I hate winter haha. I need the sunshine and I totally get the winter blues too! Let’s go to the beach! 🙂
Thanks for such a sweet and encouraging post! <3
This is pure gold!! Love you!
this is just perfect- LOVE YOU.
[…] The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship […]
Rock ON, girlie. Thank you.
I needed to hear and read this today. I feel the same way in the winter months. After the hustle and bustle now to find myself lost in making change for the new year. Sometimes you need to be part of the change and cheer for others instead of working against other creatives. Thanks for the good read!
this was exactly what I needed today! Been feeling that feeling a lot during this off season and this was SO encouraging!
Thank you. Your insights have inspired me and countless others.
Such great advice! I joined a collective studio last fall and have found one of the biggest benefits is being able to go into town and work alongside other creatives on days when I need it. Community is so important!
Natalie, you so nailed this! For me at least! So many times it just feels like an uphill battle dotted with little triumphs. But I guess it is that dream that keeps us going and marching forward! You are such an inspiration!!
Loved reading this. Thanks for the reminder and inspiration. This has definitely been a challenge of mine, but am constantly reminded that I am not alone. So, Thank You , Natalie!
Thank you so much for the tips on which groups to join!
[…] few weeks ago, I shared one of the most vulnerable posts that I had ever written about the Loneliness of Entrepreneurship. And as I sat there feverishly typing those words that had been weighing on my heart, I knew that […]
Love this post… we are creating a very warm and welcoming community over in The Female Photographer Association to overcome issues specifically like this. <3
Thank you for sharing your beautiful words xx
Just started doing weekly coffee work sessions last month out here in Portland for this very reason! Love to see that others around the country are seeking the same. Thank you for sharing!
Wow! This is amazing. I was at last year’s Pursuit 31 Conference, and though we sat at the table together once, I am much too introverted and shy to have actually talked to you and gotten to know you. Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom in your words. This was a much needed read. It makes a world of difference when you hear that the best out there have been where you are.
[…] You see, we’re all in this together. Hundreds of thousands of big dreamers, risk takers, and ground shakers. Leadership doesn’t have to be lonely. It doesn’t have to mean going at it alone. We dare to believe that with our hands and in our minds, we can carve out a better future for ourselves and our clients. We have the audacity to take big risks and seek a life that revolves around our passion rather than a time-clock.” (The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship) […]
[…] solitude, it’s easy to feel lost. Natalie shared this notion a few weeks ago in a post on the Loneliness of Entrepreneurship and it was one of the primary catalysts for our Tuesdays Together […]
[…] recently written blog post about overcoming comparison and her earlier post about the loneliness of entrepreneurship. Her words resonated deeply within me, articulating with startling accuracy the depth and tangle of […]
[…] back to the origins of the “community over competition” movement. Natalie Franke, discovered The Loneliness of Entrepreneurship and published a blog post on that and on Overcoming Comparison. Soon after these blog posts, she […]