Discover more from Terri Lonier’s Working Solo
You’re really lonely. Should you go back to a big company?
The isolation of working solo can be difficult to navigate. Here’s how to decide whether to stick it out or return to a corporate team.
A newsletter reader, Sadia, wrote to me last week:
How do you know if you should keep going when the journey gets lonely or when you should just join a larger firm? I’m torn and really miss being in corporate environments because of the large-team feel and grandness of scope.
Can you relate to this question? Some may say, Never! I never want to go back to corporate life. Others say, Yes, that’s me. I really miss the camaraderie of a team and working on projects with large-scale impact.
Every solopreneur usually faces these doubts on their journey, and it’s beneficial to think through these scenarios. Let’s unpack the benefits of solopreneurship and how it can serve you long-term, whether you continue working solo or return to corporate life.
Self-discovery on the fast track
There are a lot of benefits to being a solopreneur. I’ve long believed that the greatest reward is that launching and building a one-person business puts you on a fast track to self-discovery.
Nothing will teach you more about yourself. What do you like and dislike? How well do you handle stress? What’s your relationship with money? And where’s your personal line of toleration?
Plus, every day, you face your strengths and weaknesses. Hello, self-scrutiny.
When no is a win
When I taught MBA Entrepreneurship classes, I always started the term by advising the students:
“At the end of this class, you’ll either know you’d like to be an entrepreneur, or that you never want to do this again. Both are valuable discoveries. Because this self-knowledge may end up saving your house, your bank account, and maybe even your marriage. That’s a pretty good outcome.”
There were usually a few laughs, but they all understood it was OK to exit the class and say, Nope, not for me.
Understanding what fits
Returning to the reader’s question, we can see that it comes down to self-knowledge and personal choice. It’s about understanding where the decision fits into the overall fabric of your life.
Remember, there’s no single way to do solopreneurship “right.” You’re building a business — and a life.
An alternate tyranny
Remaining a solopreneur can become just as soul-sucking as staying in a W-2 job you hate. Neither option is always sunshine and blue skies, but one likely fits better.
If you’re lonely and want to work on big things in a larger company, there’s value in exploring that path. Solo side projects could feed your entrepreneurial yearnings. Plus, you can return to full-time solopreneurship later if you wish.
Before you go, however, get clear on what elements you dislike most. If it’s the isolation, you may need to network with more solo colleagues. If it’s the scope of projects, consider partnering with other independents to tackle more significant assignments.
But if you leave — either permanently or for a while — abandon the shame or guilt. You learned a lot about yourself, and that’s always a dividend.
And if you decide to come back, you’ll return with a clear understanding of what you want.
We’ll be here.
In the chat, I invite you to share how you’ve dealt with the challenge of isolation and what’s gone through your mind as you decide whether to remain working solo or return to paycheck life.