Over the past year I’ve written numerous posts about self-employment and how it correlates to the single life.
To be a freelancer (or small business owner), by definition is to be single, at least in the employment field. With this unique state of life comes unique opportunities, but also many temptations.
The biggest challenge for me is the temptation to go into isolation. Not all freelancers face this same difficulty because their work may require interaction with the public or clients.
As a freelance writer all I require is a laptop and a Wi-Fi mobile hotspot to connect to the Internet and I’m off—into a world of isolation.
Aloneness is not inherently bad—if it’s a legitimate byproduct of your business or something that comes about because of your single state in life, it can be reasonably accepted as God’s will and He will provide all the grace that is necessary.
But not all aloneness in either situation can be written off to Divine Providence. Sometimes our situation can be worsened for negative reasons that we do have control over.
First instance, on the weekend instead of getting together with friends, you may find it easier to just watch TV or read a book. If you make the effort to attend a social outing its because you feel like you “should” do it. The same temptation to isolation exists.
There is also a big temptation towards bitterness.
Many singles have been through rough situations—be it a broken relationship or even a broken marriage—and that leaves wounds. A certain level of retreat may be necessary for the wounds to heal, but if that retreat is accompanied by anger and bitterness then re-integration into a community is hindered.
To draw the analogy to working as a freelance writer, a lot of people who have gone out on their own have had negative experiences in an office environment. In November of 2011 I’d spent three years in an office that met every reasonable definition of toxic, and I was at the center of the storm.
I knew I wanted to make a move on my own for legitimate reasons, but the bad working situation was my motivator. I’m glad I made the choice I did, and I see it as God’s way of bringing good out of evil. Unfortunately the toxic residue added to the isolation effect.
In the end, happiness can’t come from being alone. Even when you’re single, you still need community. We find our greatest contentment in things achieved with others, and being a part of a team is always more satisfying that being a soloist. It can start by putting the satisfaction of others ahead of yourself.
I’m not suggesting that one play martyr or be a pushover—we have legitimate interests that have to be protected in both single life and business life. But if we enter into any initiative—professional or social—by having the primary question “what can I give?” rather than “what can I get?” we have a higher chance of lasting success.