Have you ever seen that comic by the Oatmeal on why working at home is both awesome and horrible? I love it… especially because it perfectly captures the “degradation of social skills” (his words) that occurs when you’ve been working alone for an extended period of time.
How have I been affected?
- I no longer feel shame when I wear yoga pants to the Stop & Shop, or to Barnes & Noble.
- I tend to mutter to myself in public.
- I have extended conversations with my cats.
- I’m mystified when people actually call me on the phone, instead of texting or emailing.
- I don’t have a single, business-appropriate outfit, and always go into a panic whenever the odd networking event or launch party pops up.
- I tackle my husband as soon as he arrives home and try to engage him in conversation about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EVER, ALL AT ONCE.
- I have panic attacks when at large social gatherings, work myself up to the brink of passing out when public speaking, and am forced to medicate myself with a potent mix of Xanax and wine.
- Actually, that previous bullet point pretty much describes me even before I went full-time freelance!
The point is, many freelancers — especially the introverts among us — tend to hide behind our books and laptops and notebooks and cameras whenever possible.
Which is goddamn ridiculous when you’re trying to be a successful entrepreneur, as both community-building — and the ability to sell yourself — are crucial.