“Wonderful, you did it all by yourself!”
Did anyone tell you this when you were a child? Or maybe, if you are like me and have children at home, you’re probably constantly telling them this to encourage them to do things on their own, and develop their autonomy.
While that is absolutely true growing up, trying to do #allthethings by ourselves, without support or community is probably the worst way to go about things when we are starting and growing a business, whatever that business is.
Why? Because building a business is difficult and it takes a lot of dedication, patience and resilience.
Of course, at first, the idea of working for ourselves, by ourselves can seem like paradise! No one to report to, no one pushing us to do things we don’t want to do, no need to put on make-up in the morning… Like I said, paradise!
Yet, after a while, the same things that we were so much looking forward to, can become the things that make our entrepreneurial journey the most difficult.
Don’t just take my word for it. In the 2013 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 34 percent of entrepreneurs - 4 percentage points more than other workers - reported they were worried. And 45 percent of entrepreneurs said they were stressed, 3 percentage points more than other workers.
And one of the top stress factors of being an entrepreneur, is without a doubt: loneliness.
That’s right. Isn’t it ironic?
We are conditioned throughout our childhood to be proud of doing things “by ourselves”, yet when it comes to building and starting a business, that’s probably the worst thing you could be doing!
I see it first hand with my clients, but also with the artists that actively take part in The Artist Entrepreneur Network, those who seek support AND those who reach out to others who need it by giving them support, do much better and feel much better about their business.
Whether you are just starting out or at a point where you are ready to scale your business, you should surround yourself with people who can listen, help and lift you.
Here are 5 ways you can get out of isolation and thrive in business:
1) Join an online community: I know, we all want to spend less time on social media, I get it. But finding a space where you can connect and share with like-minded creatives can be a constructive way to use it. Did you join The Artist Entrepreneur Network yet? It’s full of artists and creatives ready to support you!
2) Join a local support group for entrepreneurs: There’s definitely power in meeting and connecting with people face to face. You’ll learn from each other’s experience and this networking opportunity could lead to new friendships, and wait for it, new clients! Check out Meetup or look for local business associations on Google.
3) Create a Mastermind: Mastermind groups are great because we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. But who said you had to pay for them? Know a few people who are in business and could benefit from a support group? Offer them to join your mastermind. My tip to make it work: Make the rules of engagement and what is expected from each participant very clear AND have a start and end date so that everyone knows what they are getting themselves into.
4) Reach out to a mentor: So many entrepreneurs have been there before you, so why try to reinvent the wheel? Reach out to someone you know who’s been there and see if he/she would be open to the idea of mentoring you for a few months. Don’t know anyone? Many local organizations offer mentor-matching opportunities.
5) Hire team members: I know, it might sound counter intuitive, how can you think of hiring someone if you can’t even make ends meet. I get it, investing in your business is scary, but growth almost always requires some sort of investment. I’m not saying you should hire a full-time assistant, rather look at what your needs are, and see if you can find a freelancer that could help you a few hours a month. I promise, it will cost you less than what you think.
Because, like my mentor told me *again* last week, “No dear, you won’t be getting a medal for doing it all yourself.”
You see, even I have to be reminded of the importance of community and team work once in a while!
What are your thoughts? What do you do to feel supported or support others? We want to hear your ideas and experiences. Leave us a comment below!