Regardless of which business you’re in, if you’re behind a new business or just getting started as an entrepreneur you definitely have an uphill climb ahead of you. Of course, all of that work, all of the hardships and difficulties, all of the fear and anxieties are totally worth it (I promise). But, no matter what, you’re going to have to go through them if you want to come out on the other side successful.
Because there’s so much going on when creating a new business and getting it off the ground, it’s easy to get sucked into the weeds. If you’re not careful, you’ll end up spending your days doing one menial task after another and, while your business might operate, it will be incredibly difficult for it to grow like this. And, let’s face it, is being tied to your desk doing task after task really why you wanted to go into business for yourself?
When it comes to success for any new business, the key is to be able to pick your head up from the work from time to time so that you can really check in on the bigger picture. Yes, doing this isn’t always easy, sometimes it’s downright terrifying, but it’s essential to know where you’re going, how you’re doing, and to recognize as quickly as possible what you need to keep going. Not doing this definitely won’t get you the success you want – and it definitely won’t be beneficial for your lifestyle either.
Here’s why community is the answer:
As an entrepreneur and business owner, you’re at the top from the very beginning. And, like the saying goes, sometimes being at the top gets lonely. One of the biggest drawbacks of entrepreneurship can be the fact that it is so isolating. Many women who consider starting a business for themselves actually back out simply because they like having somewhere to go and people to see each day.
That’s why those who have decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship need to be intelligent when it comes to building a community of like-minded people. While it will feel like you couldn’t possibly have time for people at the very beginning, you have to recognize that not making time makes it nearly impossible to get past the beginning.
Without a community there to support you every step of the way, you’re not going to get very far. (And it for sure won’t be any fun.)
When you look at the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners in the world, one of the things every single one of them has in common is an incredible group of people that they surround themselves with regularly (sometimes even virtually when necessary). They do this because it’s true that who you spend the most time with is who you become.
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn
As an entrepreneur, you need to be surrounding yourself with great people. If you look around a room and find yourself as the smartest, most successful, most driven, most passionate person in the room – then you have to get out of that room! The environment you place yourself in will determine how successful you’ll become. If the trajectory of the lives of your closest community isn’t going the direction you want yours to go, then you need to take action – and fast.
So, how do you find your people?
The first thing you need to do is to decide who you need in your community. Most success experts and coaches tell you to look for these three people, specifically: a mentor, a protege, and a peer.
The mentor is someone who can teach you, someone that will offer advice and guidance when you need it the most. The mentor is, most importantly, someone who is achieving what you would like to achieve. When you look at their life, you are fascinated with knowing how to get there.
A protege is someone who is on the same path as you but who is still a few steps behind you. This person is someone you can teach and advise – someone you can inspire. Having a protege in your community is a great way to add value. And, by giving back, it’s a great way to make you feel good and keep you encouraged.
And then there’s a peer. This person is someone who is running neck-and-neck with you. While most likely not your direct competition, this is someone who understands exactly what you are going through. This is the person you can sit down with and really get real. They are also essential for brainstorming and problem-solving!
I believe in community so much, and to be honest, was feeling the isolation of being alone in a small industry in my physical community that in 2013, I started a whole week-long conference for entrepreneurs in the Virgin Islands to tag along to the Global Entrepreneurship Week movement. The week brings together entrepreneurs at various levels for learning experiences, networking, and a marketplace.
Attending these types of events provides you with energy to continue to fuel your entrepreneurship dream, but it also provides you with a curated group of individuals who are often burning the midnight oil, just as you are doing to bring their ideas successfully to market. Who else could immediately be better to bounce ideas off of and to learn from?
Because I know how important community is for new businesses, I’ve started an incredible online group for women entrepreneurs called the Boss Bar. It’s the place to go when you’re looking for all three of those key community members – and the best part is that you don’t have to even leave your house. Come check it out now!