Founder & Solo Entrepreneur Socialization Tips: How to Keep Your Skills Sharp
Here are 5 things that you can do right now to kickstart your social life and social skills.
Hey there, my name is Eric Waisman and I'm a founder just like you. I run Jaunty.org, an organization that works as a gym for your social skills. It can be tough sometimes when you're working by yourself all the time, but it's important to make sure that you stay socialized.
I'm going to share some non-obvious practical tips on how to do just that using the information we gathered from hundreds of people who we helped through the work changes of the pandemic and the now dominating work-from-home model.
Identify a bite-sized social circle
Who is in your inner circle?
- Identify your closest (and favorite) few friends, colleagues, and family members. This gave me a lot of gratitude and confidence as it reminded me that I have supportive people in my social circle. It gave me the feeling of abundance. It does not take a big number of people to feel socially fulfilled.
- Schedule a call or hang out once a week with one of them. Once I finally forced myself to get out of the house, I found that my social skills started to come back. I started feeling socially motivated again.
Practice riffing with an online random sentence generator
This may sound crazy but it works.
I found an online random sentence generator and started practicing conversation with it. This helped me because I had to think on my feet and come up with responses quickly.
It also allowed me to practice thinking of things to say spontaneously, which is a skill that comes in handy when networking. One of our exercises at Jaunty is to practice the combination of acknowledging the statement, then riffing off of it:
Our clients then advance to leading conversation into and out of small talk and into deeper topics. You can add questions too, this is where practicing with real people helps.
Get a dog
This may not be possible for everyone, but if you can, get a dog!
Dogs are great icebreakers and conversation starters. They're also great listeners (unlike some people 😆).
I found that getting a dog helped me socialize more because I had to take her on walks and talk to people when I was out. I started meeting more and more neighbors and people at the dog parks. Also, create an Instagram account for him/her. Here is our little Tova's page. This way you can always ask if their dog has a page too and follow each other and plan a doggy play date.
Honestly, getting a dog was the greatest decision I've ever made. Tova makes me more engaged in life and is my closest companion.
Make something you already do social
This has been one of my most successful tools.
You're probably already doing something that you enjoy, such as working out, cooking, reading, or hiking. But you can make it social by joining a group or class for it.
I joined a workout/community and made some great friends there. I also started going to a swanky social club, which was a great way to meet people who shared my interests. If you read daily, join a book club. If you love making your coffee, go to a cafe for that cappuccino and ask the barista how they make it exactly. If you work remotely, take a day or two and use a co-working space.
Ask people how they get their social fix
This is a great way to start a conversation and get some ideas of things you can do to socialize more and even get invited to events. Especially if you are newer to a city. I did this when I moved to New York for a short time to open a new office there. You may be surprised at how many people are happy to chat about this topic. Since we are all getting over the isolation of the pandemic, it makes sense.
These are just some of the things you can do to keep your social skills sharp. If you have any other tips, please share them in the Jaunty Gym! And founders, as we all know, need to focus on their product and company most of the time but this shouldn't be at the full expense of their social life!