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Lonely at the top: Seven effective ways to overcome entrepreneur loneliness

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Lonely at the top: Seven effective ways to overcome entrepreneur loneliness

Note: This is the first article in a six-part series from Australia’s Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) on various hand-picked entrepreneurial topics, exclusively on Dynamic Business.

While many people dream of being their own boss, they may not realise that entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey. You’re often the only person who understands your problems, with limited people to bounce ideas off or ask for help when things get tough. That can make it hard for entrepreneurs to feel like they have anyone in whom they can confide or lean on during those difficult times—but it doesn’t have to be that way. 

This article will share seven top ways to help you overcome entrepreneur isolation. You will learn how entrepreneurs can find their community and feel supported through their journey. 

Join business and entrepreneur groups in your area

Relying on friends and family for support as an entrepreneur can be tough as they’re often not in a position to understand the unique challenges you’re facing and may not always have the best advice. Joining a group or community of other like-minded entrepreneurs is one way to source aligned support and is beneficial for multiple reasons. 

Other business owners are more likely to understand what you’re experiencing and can empathise and may also have similar experiences to share that may help in how you approach any given situation. Finding a community with a deep sense of trust where you can share not only your successes but face your biggest obstacles together is important for growth, success and maintaining your mental wellbeing as a founder. 

However, not all business groups are equal. Some rely on referral models and can be heavily sales, while others may be targeting early-stage startups or specific genders only. Find what works for you and what will allow you the best chance to grow. Entrepreneurs’ Organisation is one of the longest-standing peer-to-peer entrepreneur networks globally. With five chapters across Australia, it counts some of the country’s most successful founders amongst its alumni. 

All genders are welcome, focusing on inclusivity and personal growth as well as business growth. Business owners turning over more than $ 1 million are connected through a unique forum model, where ‘advice’ is never given. Instead, real-world examples and experience sharing are encouraged to ensure anyone facing a challenge can learn from those who have been there and done that, rather than receiving potentially biased opinions. Other benefits include global learning opportunities with regular social and educational events. 

Take time away from your work often

If you don’t take regular breaks from your work, it can lead to burnout. This is true for any job, but especially if you’re an entrepreneur trying to grow a business while also dealing with the day-to-day operations and the stress that comes with them.

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Taking time off can help prevent burnout and keep you on track. If possible, try taking at least one full day off each week where you do not work at all—you may need two or three days, depending on how much of your life is dedicated to working as an entrepreneur. During this time away from work, spend some quality time doing things that bring joy into your life: spending time with family and friends; pursuing hobbies or other passions; relaxing; going out for dinner; getting caught up on sleep; reading a book or listening to music (this could even be done during a commute).

Hire or contract help for your business needs.

You can hire or contract help for your business needs. Outsourcing is a great way to save time, money, and frustration, but also to have another set of eyes across your business activities and someone to bounce ideas off. 

If you don’t have enough time to grow your business properly (because you’re too busy working on it), consider hiring someone who can take on some of those tasks for you. They might be able to do things like:

  • Create new content for social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn
  • Update and manage your website with regular blog posts and updates about product lines/services offered by customers
  • Handle customer service issues via email (or other communications mediums)

A Virtual Assistant (VA) can do the above and can be a great way to outsource some of this work before hiring an employee, which comes with its own challenges. 

Use social media like LinkedIn to find other business owners in your industry 

Connecting with others via LinkedIn is one way you can build your own network and find others in the same or similar industry. LinkedIn is a free professional social network that allows you to find and connect with other professionals in your industry, location, and niche.

LinkedIn has over 500 million users so there are plenty of people on the platform who may be able to help you solve problems or give advice. Remember to approach business owners respectfully and to offer something before asking for something. Value others’ time as much as you value your own.

Attend business and industry events in person (when safe to do so)

These days, this can be more challenging, with advice around socialising constantly changing with the waves of the pandemic and health concerns. If you can get to a networking event, go armed with more than a business card and elevator pitch. Be vulnerable and open to deeper connections. If you’re looking for a great conversation starter, consider wearing something remarkable. Something bold or colourful may also give people something to remember you by. It’s important in relationship building to maintain a connection beyond an event (even if it’s a regular business meetup where you will see them again). 

Volunteer 

If you have the flexibility and spare time to help others, volunteering can be a great way to meet people and stay connected to the community. Some entrepreneur groups may even have volunteer opportunities like the Entrepreneurs’ Organizations 360 mentoring program. In helping others, we increase our own happiness and sense of connection. 

Find a mentor that aligns with your business goals

Find someone to support and encourage you as you work toward your goals. 

A coach may also be able to help you set and stick to an action plan, but a mentor is more experienced support offering their knowledge, wisdom, and advice to those with less experience A mentor will help with identifying problems with the business and potential strategies for improving the business and are worth their weight in gold. 

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Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, but you don’t have to go it alone. However, remember that no one can do it for you! It is up to each individual to take steps in order to create the life they want for themselves. Do your research and make time for the things that matter like staying connected, and trialling each to find what works best for you.

To find out more about entrepreneurs and business owners in your local community, visit https://www.eoaustralia.org/ 

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

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Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

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The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

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At collapsed Baltimore bridge, focus shifts to the weighty job of removing the massive structure

BALTIMORE (AP) — Teams of engineers worked Saturday on the intricate process of cutting and lifting the first section of twisted steel from the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge, which crumpled into the Patapsco River this week after a massive cargo ship crashed into one of its supports.

Sparks could be seen flying from a section of bent and crumpled steel in the afternoon, and video released by officials in the evening showed demolition crews using a cutting torch to slice through the thick beams. The joint incident command said in a statement that the work was being done on the top of the north side of the collapsed structure.

Crews were carefully measuring and cutting the steel from the broken bridge before attaching straps so it can be lifted onto a barge and floated away, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Shannon Gilreath said.

Seven floating cranes — including a massive one capable of lifting 1,000 tons — 10 tugboats, nine barges, eight salvage vessels and five Coast Guard boats were on site in the water southeast of Baltimore.

Each movement affects what happens next and ultimately how long it will take to remove all the debris and reopen the ship channel and the blocked Port of Baltimore, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said.

“I cannot stress enough how important today and the first movement of this bridge and of the wreckage is. This is going to be a remarkably complicated process,” Moore said.

Undeterred by the chilly morning weather, longtime Baltimore resident Randy Lichtenberg and others took cellphone photos or just quietly looked at the broken pieces of the bridge, which including its steel trusses weigh as much as 4,000 tons.

“I wouldn’t want to be in that water. It’s got to be cold. It’s a tough job,” Lichtenberg said from a spot on the river called Sparrows Point.

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The shock of waking up Tuesday morning to video of what he called an iconic part of the Baltimore skyline falling into the water has given way to sadness.

“It never hits you that quickly. It’s just unbelievable,” Lichtenberg said.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

One of the first goals for crews on the water is to get a smaller auxiliary ship channel open so tugboats and other small barges can move freely. Crews also want to stabilize the site so divers can resume searching for four missing workers who are presumed dead.

Two other workers were rescued from the water in the hours following the bridge collapse, and the bodies of two more were recovered from a pickup truck that fell and was submerged in the river. They had been filling potholes on the bridge and while police were able to stop vehicle traffic after the ship called in a mayday, they could not get to the construction workers, who were from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The crew of the cargo ship Dali, which is managed by Synergy Marine Group, remained on board with the debris from the bridge around it, and were safe and were being interviewed. They are keeping the ship running as they will be needed to get it out of the channel once more debris has been removed.

The vessel is owned by Grace Ocean Private Ltd. and was chartered by Danish shipping giant Maersk.

The collision and collapse appeared to be an accident that came after the ship lost power. Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine why.

Assuaging concern about possible pollution from the crash, Adam Ortiz, the Environmental Protection Agency’s mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, said there was no indication in the water of active releases from the ship or materials hazardous to human health.

REBUILDING

Officials are also trying to figure out how to handle the economic impact of a closed port and the severing of a major highway link. The bridge was completed in 1977 and carried Interstate 695 around southeast Baltimore.

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Maryland transportation officials are planning to rebuild the bridge, promising to consider innovative designs or building materials to hopefully shorten a project that could take years.

President Joe Biden’s administration has approved $60 million in immediate aid and promised the federal government will pay the full cost to rebuild.

Ship traffic at the Port of Baltimore remains suspended, but the Maryland Port Administration said trucks were still being processed at marine terminals.

The loss of a road that carried 30,000 vehicles a day and the port disruption will affect not only thousands of dockworkers and commuters, but also U.S. consumers, who are likely to feel the impact of shipping delays. The port handles more cars and more farm equipment than any other U.S. facility.

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Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. Associated Press writers Sarah Brumfield in Washington, D.C.; Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tennessee; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed.

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

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The Texas attorney general is investigating a key Boeing supplier and asking about diversity

DALLAS (AP) — The Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into a key Boeing supplier that is already facing scrutiny from federal regulators over quality of parts that it provides to the aircraft maker.

The office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said it began looking into Spirit AeroSystems because of “apparent manufacturing defects” in parts that “have led to numerous concerning or dangerous incidents.”

In a statement Friday, a Spirit spokesman said, “While we do not comment on investigations, Spirit is wholly focused on providing the highest quality products to all our customers, to include the Boeing Company.”

Paxton asked the Wichita, Kansas-based supplier to turn over documents produced since the start of 2022 about communication with investors and Boeing about flaws in parts and corrective steps the company took.

The request goes into detail in seeking internal discussions around Spirit’s efforts to create a diverse workforce “and whether those commitments are unlawful or are compromising the company’s manufacturing processes.” Paxton asked for a breakdown of Spirit’s workforce by race, sexual orientation and other factors, and whether the makeup has changed over time.

Since a Spirit-made door-plug panel blew off an Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max in January, some conservatives have tried to link aviation safety to diversity at manufacturers.

Paxton is a conservative Republican who this week agreed to pay $271,000 in restitution to victims and take 15 hours of training in legal ethics to settle felony charges of securities fraud. Paxton did not admit wrongdoing in the 9-year-old case.

The Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation into Boeing Spirit after the Alaska Airlines incident. An FAA audit of manufacturing procedures in Spirit’s factory gave the company failing grades in seven of 13 areas.

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Boeing is in talks to buy back Spirit, which it spun off nearly 20 years ago, as part of a plan to tighten oversight of manufacturing in its supply chain.

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