Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur or you’ve already “arrived” with your business, chances are you know what I am talking about. Anyone who sets out on a path to entrepreneurship quickly realizes how isolating it sometimes is. Even if you are merely CONSIDERING entrepreneurship, you’ve probably already gotten a taste of how unsupportive people can be. Particularly if there are no other entrepreneurs in your social circle and everyone in your family comes from a traditional job background. Or, if you spent your entire life in a “secure” job and then decide to change paths to entrepreneurship later in life, OH BOY are you in for a treat!! Here you are, excited to share your idea, dive in head first with all of your time, energy and effort, when suddenly, “WHAM!”, like a ton of bricks…your excitement turns into a pile of doubts as you realize you are defending yourself to everyone you know.
Don’t take it personally. Most people fear that much change, but YOU don’t have to! Anything outside of the regular nine to five traditional job model, scares the hell out of most people. It’s too unpredictable, too “crazy”, or my favorite, too “unrealistic!” Unrealistic? Really? Well, I suppose if your goal is to stay “realistic” then you should stay at your soul sucking 9 to 5 job where you can go as far as your boss sees your potential to go, numb yourself to get through your workdays, just to enjoy ALLLLL that down time you have at the end of the day before you have to get up and do it all over again! HOW AWESOME!!! Said no one, ever.
Heaven forbid you see yourself as upper management at your soul sucking job, and your boss thinks you are fine right where you are (peon with needed skills) and you don’t take kindly to ass kissing, then you might be in for more than you bargained for. Just saying! You don’t get to the top by hard work alone…you can’t possibly believe that! You are not ten years old with a naive view of the world. There are all kinds of other factors to success in the old fashioned work place; luck, timing, opportunity, politics, being well liked, personable, office dynamics, are you an introvert? Uh oh! The list goes on and on. So when people try to dissuade you from being an entrepreneur, just think of all of the aspects you can’t control at your regular job. I’m not saying that being an entrepreneur is for everyone, it’s not. But if you have been thinking about it for a while and aren’t doing something you feel you are meant to do because you are letting the fears of other people become your own, don’t. Life is too short!
But, I digress, this post is not about being realistic and truthfully, neither is entrepreneurship!! Hellooooo! Do you think that the most successful people in life built their dreams and goals around being realistic?! No way. If it were about that, many innovations, inventions and companies would be non existent! It took people who don’t think like everyone else to take inspired action toward something, despite what other people thought! This is why the journey of an entrepreneur can be very isolating. It’s not the typical journey and certainly not the safe bet. Not many people can relate to it. Only people who think like you, are doing it/have done it already, will understand.
For this very reason, you have to surround yourself with other people who think like you and are navigating through a similar journey. Join a Facebook group or two that relates to entrepreneurship. Research and possibly join your local Chamber of Commerce. They are a great resource for small businesses and networking. It’s not uncommon for them to introduce new members and their respective businesses in newsletters or social media and to host mixers you can attend WITH OTHER ENTREPRENEURS!! Sounds exciting right?! That’s because surrounding yourself with like minded people who are not afraid to think outside of the box IS exciting! There are all kinds of meetups you can join, most of which are free. LinkedIn is another great resource to connect. Just don’t start spamming people by trying to sell them your goods or services because really, I mean…would you like someone to do that to you? Exactly. When it comes to LinkedIn or any other thing you do online, the trick is to start adding value to your niche. If you visit someone’s page/blog, add something helpful and interesting if you are so inclined. Offer to write a guest blog post. Chime in politely and genuinely with new information that you needed when you were starting out!
One of my favorite things to do is to find a few good podcasts to listen to! Podcasts that relate to your niche can be extremely informative and motivating. I listen to them while getting through my gym work outs and I actually look forward to it! Some days, my favorite podcasts are the single reason I even make it to the gym!! BONUS MOTIVATION!! Of course there are networking conferences, mastermind classes, conventions and in-person coaching you can attend but since those are on the more expensive side, I would make that a goal as your business starts to grow.
The major take away is that you do not have to go it alone! Do what you can to get involved, even if it seems awkward or scary at first! Pretty soon, you’ll be out there with your biz boss babes, creating your own amazing reality. Just remember, patience is a virtue and great things take time.