Q: How do you make sure to stay connected with your non-work/non-entrepreneur friends while totally immersing yourself in your business?
Invite them to happy hour. “When you have a casual work event, like a company happy hour, consider inviting some of your non-entrepreneur friends. It’s a great way to reconnect and introduce them your team. You never know what insights they’ll bring to the conversations. Friends are a great part of your network, and it’s important to keep those relationships strong without compromising work.” Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.
Give yourself a break. “Working from home is awesome for a lot of reasons, but I’m finding myself in desperate need of a change of scenery. I try to schedule a few coffee or lunch dates per week to give myself a break from laser-focusing on building my business. It’s a great way to stay in touch with my friends and get out of my head on some of the projects I’m working on. I return to work refreshed and connected.” Sydney Williams, Planet Green Socks
Create social reminders. “Start off each month by reviewing all potential outings, occasions and celebrations over the next 30 days. Is there a birthday? A graduation? An engagement party? Set reminders to yourself to send a card or flowers, or to physically pull yourself away from your business to attend a non-entrepreneur friend’s event once a week. Staying connected doesn’t just happen. It is a conscious decision.” Kim Kaupe, ZinePak
Allocate time. “I allocate specific times to catch up with non-work friends, especially if they live in other cities. Driving home from work seems to be a common time we can all chat and catch up. It gives me a nice break after a long day at the office.” Tom Alexander, PK4 Media
Schedule it in. “Having a social life is very important if you want to stay sane during the years it takes to get a company off the ground. Blocking time where you are actually disconnected will allow you to spend time with your friends. I schedule weekend activities with friends, but find time to work in the early morning and at night on those days.” Philippe Clavel, Rabbit
Connect them to essential non-business tasks. “What are things you have to do in your life? Schedule time to talk on the phone with your friends while you do laundry or clean your house. When you go the gym, schedule that with a friend so you have added accountability and a gym buddy. When you have long drives, call friends. Turn boring tasks into relationship building opportunities.” Arel Moodie, Art of Likability
Help serve others. “The best way is to get involved in a social or civic cause and engage your family and friends to share in the experience of serving. Being outwardly focused is an incredibly unifying experience, not to mention that it makes the world a better and more loving place.” Mina Chang, Linking the World
Get out there. “My wife is fantastic when it comes to making sure we stay connected to our friends. She’s great at keeping our Friday and Saturday nights active. Just like delegating anything else, you have to give authority in addition to the responsibility. Don’t be a ‘Debbie Downer’ when the plans aren’t exactly what you had in mind, and be willing to try new things.” Dan Pickett, Launch Academy
Take on new projects together. “Invite your friends to do or build exciting things together. This will give you a common goal to work toward that will bring you together more. Great examples are training to run a race together, holding a charity auction, or hosting a series of dinner parties featuring the cuisine from every country in a certain region. You’ll keep each other on track and communicate frequently.” Jared Brown, Hubstaff
Develop habits to stay in touch. “Minimize the odds that distractions will pull you away from things. Every week I email a good friend and make plans to do something. And once a week I send an email to someone I don’t know very well to check in. I also recently started sending Postagrams to people. Doing so gives me the opportunity to do something more creative and ensure I have everyone’s updated physical addresses.” Ryan Stoner, Publicis