Being in business is hard. But, you knew that already.
What’s more accurate is that being in business can often become a lonely experience, and to me, that’s one of the most challenging aspects.
These last few months have truly been eye-opening for me, and I learned why even as a solopreneur, you should never go completely solo and what every solopreneur needs in their business lives.
While it’s certainly necessary and beneficial, oftentimes superficial “networking” isn’t enough. In my experience, what I’ve found even more impactful has been time spent in finding and engaging with what I like to call my “entrepreneurial village.”
I’ve also found that the number of people I know isn’t quite as important as the quality of my relationships with those people, or who knows me.
I’m finding that just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to build a business.
Finding your entrepreneurial village is especially necessary when you’re a solopreneur because there will be times you’ll need help. There will be times you’re frustrated beyond belief. There will be times you’ll feel “stuck.”
The beauty of an entrepreneurial village is that there is a group of people who understand your struggles and support you through these times. And, more than just some shoulders to cry on or people to celebrate big wins with, your village should challenge you, offer abundant resources, knowledge, skills and contacts that – when pooled together – increase the odds of your success. Some people even call them mastermind groups.
And, there’s really no limit to the number of “villages” you become a part of. The most important thing, though, is that you find yourself in one.
As important as it is to glean from your village, it’s also imperative that you contribute and invest just as much. You’ll be surprised at the number of strategic partnerships and brilliant ideas that pop up!
So, while you run your business yourself, you don’t have to go completely solo.
In fact, it’s one of the quickest ways to multiply your struggles. Why?
Even though I’m guilty of being head-down in my own “stuff,” I find it refreshing and imperative to make time to check in with my village consistently. Just when I think there’s no solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem I’m facing, that’s when someone in my village shoots me an email, calls me up or sends an instant message about the very thing I was in need of. Either that, or I simply reach out and ask for help or if I need to talk through something I’m unsure of, no matter how busy these folks are, they always find a way to help me out. In fact, it’s during these times and through these relationships that many opportunities have presented themselves. I’d dare say that without these folks in my circle, I wouldn’t even have been aware of most of the business opportunities and activities I now participate in.
Some say your network is your net worth, and I agree with that. I’ll even venture to say that having a village – and I mean a group or group(s) of people you know, trust and create lasting relationships with – is what will undoubtedly take you to the next level. Without it, new ideas, new business and new knowledge will pass you by.
So, as a solopreneur or even as a small business owner, one thing I’ll never do again is try to go it alone.
What are you doing to cultivate your entrepreneurial village? How has your village helped you?
Courtney Herring is the founder ofÂ The Champ Media Agency andÂ a consulting entreproducer dedicated to helping time-starved entrepreneurs execute their content strategy to nurture inspired and engaged online communities by taking the headache out of editing, social media, and Web content maintenance, allowing clients to be successful in other pursuits. You can follow her onÂ Facebook,Â Twitter, andÂ LinkedIn.