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There are a lot of advantages to being self-employed and working from home, but there are also some downsides, like a lack of social interaction and distractions available at home.

Setting a time to meet up with two or three friends once a week who are also entrepreneurs can make a world of difference in both your life and your business.

I’m not talking about a Mastermind. While Masterminds are great, there is a focus on accountability, and the only accountability aspect of an entrepreneur meetup/break is that you show up. Unlike Mastermind groups, these quick meet-up meetings can help you take a productive break from your business.

The reason it is important that these friends are specifically entrepreneurs is that they understand the daily grind. They also are generally creating their own schedules, making planning the meetings easier as well. Just going out with friends once a week wouldn’t necessarily be productive every week.

The reason for the small number of friends at one time is to make sure that you keep to a shorter time schedule. Large numbers of people at one time will take more of your time. Also, if you are allowing some flexibility and you can’t make it on the designated night one week, you only have to get ahold of two or three other people and agree to move the get together to another night.

Here are five reasons you need to take a break with your entrepreneur friends, preferably every week:

1. Social Interaction

Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, especially if you work from home. Meeting with entrepreneur friends either in person or at the very least via video chat helps to break up the bouts of alone time, and gives your mind the needed break to keep you at the top of your game.

Keeping in touch with email chains or Slack doesn’t count. Instead of a one hour break once a week to chat about business life, tools like email and Slack add on to the list of things to do throughout the week.

Everyone can spare one hour once a week to take a breather and chat business with good friends who are also entrepreneurs.

2. Get New Ideas and Perspectives

The meeting gives you the chance to bounce ideas off others and get feedback. They may also provide new perspectives on different aspects of your business. This is especially true if your entrepreneur friends work in an entirely different industry. You also never know when something they say about their own business might spark a new idea for your business.

3. Learn About New Tech

In the digital age, there is a never ending list of tools one can use for business. Some of the tech tools are, of course, better than others. Some are great but only known about in certain industries, even though they would work great in other sectors as well.

By meeting with entrepreneur friends that work in industries different from your own, you get the opportunity to learn about tools and resources that could help you in your own business, but aren’t well known about in your industry.

4. Opportunities to Collaborate

It could be that one of your friends is in need of your services, or they may know someone that needs your services. Or it could be an excellent opportunity to reach new markets, trade services, or create a whole new project to work on together.

The more entrepreneurs that you talk to, the more you learn. It could be you learn to do things better, or find processes that are more engaging. You may even learn what not to do — either way, other’s experiences, and working with others will help you.

5. It’s a Productive Break from Work

Lastly, having an informal meeting without an agenda with your entrepreneur friends is a great way to take a break and have some fun while still finding a way to be productive.

You may have noticed that I’ve referred to this session as a break or meeting with your entrepreneur friends and not as a networking event. Networking events are great, but going to one every week gets pretty exhausting.

This is a meeting with two or three friends that are entrepreneurs. A small group of people you’ve met before so you can be open, productive  but still able to relax during your break together.

Taking a break is necessary to prevent burnout, but when you’re working for yourself, it’s easy to pile on the work. A chance to have fun, yet a way to still be productive during your break, will help to ease the guilt you may be feeling about your break. This is especially true if you are one of those who feels like you should always be working.

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Liz is a writer for hire, specializing in personal finance, entrepreneurship, and legal issues. She shares her own journey to debt freedom and helps graduates dealing with above average student loan debt on her site, Less Debt More Wine. She currently resides in NC after calling Massachusetts home for nearly a decade.

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