“I got a lot of support from my parents. That’s the one thing I always appreciated. They didn’t tell me I was being stupid; they told me I was being funny.”~ Jim Carrey
A solopreneur, by definition is an entrepreneur that does it ALL in their businesses, often with no (or very little) help. They wear all the hats in the company. And that my friend, can make for some lonely times.
Some of us can turn to our families, our spouses and/or our friends. But just as often, those in our closest circles don’t exactly get what it is we do exactly. They know we spend a lot of time in our home offices or online, or even talking with people on the phone, but they’re not sure what we do during those times. Or they don’t understand what you’re talking about when you bring up your blog or your newsletter challenges.
This can often lead to feeling even more isolated and alone. It’s like no one understands what it’s like to be you. Which of course obviously means that no one could possibly be experiencing the same problems or challenges you might be going through.
And right there is where you’re wrong.
Support can be found anywhere – on the phone, in online communities or even in small, local groups. You just have to know where to look for it.
Online Groups – There are tons of places online where you can turn to when you need support. There are bulletin board sites (and online communities) for almost any topic. Seriously, any topic. Just do a search for your kind of business – such as “massage therapists” or “homeopathic practitioner” – and the term “community” and you’re bound to find something. And better still, you’ll have more than one option to choose from – women only, local groups, national or international groups…you name it.
Social Networks – A lot of support can also be found on the various social networks. When I have a question or need help with a business challenge, I post the question to Facebook and Twitter. There’s also an entire section in LinkedIn just for Q&A (not to mention the various groups you can find there). Take a few moments and search for interests on the various social networks you frequent (women in business, mompreneurs, direct sales, life coaches…you’ll quickly find that the possibilities are endless). The more you become involved within the various networks and group, the stronger the relationships you’ll build. I’ve met some awesome “virtual” friends that are my core group of people that I run ideas by. I’m looking forward to the day that I can meet them in person.
Local Groups – I think this is my favorite way to find support. I love interacting with people in a live, casual setting. When looking for local groups, I suggest checking out Meetup.com. They have groups for any interest or topic imaginable (much like online communities) and it’s easy to find new groups. You can find a group today and get out there networking and problem solving with peers tomorrow. I also suggest searching the web for local groups – I use a key phrase like “women in business” or “networking groups” and add a location “Los Angeles” and see what the GoogleGods come up with. I’ve found quite a few new local groups this way (including the one I did speed coaching for last week).
Membership Groups – Local chapters of national membership-based groups are also around. For example, Ladies Who Launch and e-Women Network have local chapters all around the country and often have classes, workshops and conferences that are open to the public for a fee. You can do a simple search like outlined above and you’ll likely hit on some membership-based groups. You might also want to check out Eventbrite.com for various chapter events or classes in your area.
Virtual Groups – These might be the more challenging groups to just stumble upon, but you’ll no doubt come across them in your searches. Mastermind and/or accountability groups can be virtual or held live and in person. I’ve personally found mastermind and accountability groups to be extremely helpful when working on new products or brainstorming new ideas or solutions. And I’ve done both virtually and in person.
I’ve met some amazing women – some live and in person, some only virtually – that I can regularly count on for help, support, or advice (or to just complain to from time to time). But like anything, you’re not going to find the right sort of connections (and subsequently, support) if you don’t get out there and participate.
Basically, you just need to put the word out that you’re looking for some support and you’re bound to get at least one good lead. And when all else fails, feel free to start your own group. You can use meetup.com, eventbrite.com, you local free paper, or even fliers in local shops and libraries to advertise what you’re looking for. You just need an idea, a date and time and a location.
Where is your most likely place to turn for support when you need it?