“It is far better to be alone than to be in bad company.” George Washington “Solitude is certainly a fine thing; but there is pleasure in having someone who can answer, from time to time, that it is a fine thing.” Balzac Whether because of personal preference, economics or other circumstances, more and more of us find ourselves working in one-person companies. While there are aspects of this that are positive (no one messes with the messes on your desk, you don’t have to play company politics and you know EVERYTHING that’s going on in the company…because you ARE the company) there is one decided disadvantage. Chiefly, you have to do all the work. There are many keys to surviving work in a one-person company. These include: • Setting and sticking with goals and plans • Learn to say “no” to additional work • Take care of your physical work space and the physical YOU • Give yourself breaks, especially from anything with a screen! • If you are working from home, establish an “office” space and “office” hours However, the most import tip for surviving working alone is to not do it. Most of the successful people I know in one-person companies are really one person in name only. These people successfully co-opt others into their business world. They recruit interns and volunteers. They find and nurture quality vendor and customer relationships. They participate in community and industry networks and involve others in the company’s mission and outreach. They build a support network and surround themselves with it. By developing and nurturing community connections, a savvy solo business owner can essentially have the entire community working for her. By working with others and being open about business goals and challenges, an on-her-toes entrepreneur can involve the entire community with her “to do” list. Those colleagues and friends you make will become your customers or referrals. They will connect you with resources, recommend solutions and offer support. They’ll even chat around the water cooler, virtual or otherwise! Ultimately, since any business involves communicating and working with others, you never truly work alone. Done well, the lone entrepreneur can build a team without hiring a single employee!