Amir Mulalić from Invision: Is there any bread from that?

Loneliness is associated with an increased risk of a number of physical and mental health problems, and it is crucial for entrepreneurs to proactively seek ways to alleviate them. On the other hand, since telecommuting is an increasingly shared experience in society, there are more options and tools available than ever to help combat feelings of loneliness.

Invision Consulting is an agency headed by Ajla and Amir Mulalić. They are extremely rare in the region, considering that they are professionally engaged in business coaching and make a living from it. Through a series of annual events for personal and professional development, they gather a large number of people to create connections and find a way to achieve their goals both through new knowledge and networking.

Today we are talking with Amir Mulalić about entrepreneurial isolation, which is becoming an increasing problem with the increase in the number of small businesses.

Amir, in the experience of your clients as well as in your own experience, when does this phenomenon of entrepreneurial loneliness occur and why?

It starts with the well-known question “Is there any bread from that?”, and then we begin to doubt that there is room in our environment for our neighbors to understand us. When we open a business, we are surrounded by people who don’t have a business, but have all the advice in the world. Loneliness in business comes from the fact that when we start a business, we jump out of the environment we are in, and we don’t change it. This does not mean that you should abandon your friends and family, but surround yourself with more people who can understand our challenges as entrepreneurs.

How then to balance personal and professional life so that we do not fall into entrepreneurial isolation?

People are not born alone, they are surrounded by other people and it is not natural for us to feel lonely. Humans have an indescribable need to seek connection with others and it is crucial to their mental and physical health. Since we need to have someone with whom to celebrate victories or get support when it’s difficult, it is extremely important to have people with us who can understand us. My advice is to get to know your needs well and who can fulfill them. The challenge is that we often have to come to terms with the fact that our professional needs cannot be met by people from our private lives. 

Why is it so hard to maintain friendships with the non-entrepreneurs in your life?

As a business owner, especially if you have a nice car or a secured apartment, you lose the right to have a hard time. Your problem about having to purchase a machine that costs tens or hundreds of thousands of marks, which is someone’s annual salary, is unimaginable to many. One of our clients once told us how he made a great sale and was proud to share it with his wife, and he got a comment that she had been working for months for the same money. If you brag about anything, the people around you perceive your success as their own failure, and because of that, both you and them feel bad, and you forbid yourself to celebrate successes with others so as not to hurt them. 

 Does loneliness in business become more intense or decrease over time?

The more you progress, the more daring you become. There are fewer and fewer people around you who can understand you. It doesn’t depend only on money, someone can have more money than you, but he doesn’t reach them by investing the same kind of energy as you, and that’s why he doesn’t understand you. For example, if someone inherited the company or the company has been operating for a long time. Basically, it’s a matter of closeness in ambition, potential and desire for progress. 

Is profit what separates entrepreneurs from their environment and makes them feel isolated?

 No. It’s more a matter of changing the mindset. Business is just one way of achieving results, like writing a book or playing tennis. These are all ways of breaking out of the average and anyone who gets caught will have all these same problems that entrepreneurs face regardless of the amount of money they make. To deal with any of these things, you can’t be average. Either you write great books, or you’re like everyone else.

How does Invision Consulting help entrepreneurs who face this challenge?

 One feature of Invision events is that we bring together people with the same or similar problems and thus gain that understanding. Attending events where people like you meet is a way to find like-minded people and where you can talk about your experiences without coming off as a weirdo. Also, a lot of things in business are a trade secret and you can’t always talk about it with other entrepreneurs. For example, Djokovic cannot talk about some of his strategies with other players, because tomorrow they will play against each other and he can use that against him. Djokovic can talk about it with his coach, and entrepreneurs with their business coach.

In the end, we have to ask you, what do you wish you had known, regarding this topic, before you started your business?

I wish I had taken that well-known statement more seriously that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Today, when I think that I want to be somewhere, I start by surrounding myself with such people. I read their books, listen to their podcasts and then go for it. I knew all this before, but I didn’t believe in it strongly enough to take concrete actions.