Running your own business–especially if it’s operating mostly online, can feel super isolating. There are times when you’re in your PJ’s all day long, hacking away at your computer, never stepping foot outdoors and seeing not a soul…
Although that might sound super luxurious to those of you working in offices–and don’t get me wrong, more often than not it’s pretty great–at times it can feel crazy lonely.
Without the structure and support of a company, we solopreneurs can lose perspective and feel like we’re in a dark hole of aloneness.
This is why it’s IMPERATIVE that we create our own Strong Solopreneur Support Network–a community of mentors, coaches, business buddies and mastermind partners that have our backs and can hold us ACCOUNTABLE. (and this is awesome to do even if you don’t run your own biz too).
Creating my SSS Network has been a saving grace for my sanity and my business, so keep reading for my 5 step process to building your own so you can stop feeling so isolated and start thriving in your biz!
STEP 1 – Find an Accountability Buddy
Your accountability bud is someone you can check in with every week, and make sure you’re keeping on track with your goals, visions and dreams.
Here’s how it works. Find someone you resonate and connect with in your industry, agree to meet for an hour once a week or every other over the phone, and give each other 30 minutes of your undivided attention and time, then switch. Ask you partner what she needs support with, strategize and offer your guidance. This not only will help you each get clarity on the next steps for your respective businesses, but will also help you to become a better coach and leader moving forward.
I met my accountability buddy Laura Thompson Brady through our mutual health coach at IIN. When we met in person for the first time at our first live IIN event in NYC, we made a pact at the end of the weekend that we’d be accountability buds moving forward…Now we’re business partners for the Dare To Be Seen & Heard Movement…although we live 3000 miles apart. Pretty rad right?
STEP 2 —Create a Virtual Mastermind Group
Creating my own mastermind group has been one of the smartest (and free) investments that I’ve ever made during my entrepreneurial journey.
You can form this group by engaging in online forums or private facebook groups, connecting at live events, or by reaching out to people in your community in your respective field. Once you’ve formed your group, keep your session between 60-90 min. with 2-4 people max and meet 1-4 times per month. Make sure you allot a good chunk of time for each person to state what’s going well, what they need support with, and leave ample time for each person in your circle to offer a bit of feedback and guidence…then switch off to the next person.
I formed my mastermind group with Laura and two other gals, Ashley and Beth that we met at a live business event. Beth, Ashley, Laura & I became fast friends and the four of us made a commitment to each other that weekend that radically changed the growth of our respective businesses. We live all over the country, and now these three ladies are some of my best friends on the face of the planet.
STEP 3 – Develop a Local Ladypreneur Network
If you’re in school, reach out to your fellow classmates and start a private small group in your hometown to meet with monthly, and if you’re out of school, connect with some of your fellow grads or other creative entrepreneurs and start an in person monthly support group.
The layout of the eve can be more formal, following the mastermind format above, or can be casual, connecting, chatting and giving each gal (conscious) bragging rights throughout the eve.
I created both of these groups–one while in school and one right after–and it WILDLY helped me to feel in community. While in school my SF friend Naz and I reached out to our local IIN classmates on the Online Education Forum, and formed a little traveling potluck group. And upon graduation, I reached out to a few of us newly certified health coaches in SF and 6 of us created a group. Not only were we able to support and hold the space for all our exciting entrepreneurial journeys moving forward, but these gals have also become some of my dearest friends to date.
STEP 4 – Set Up In Person One-On-One Lady Dates
This might be a no brainer but one of the best ways to move forward in business is to connect one-on-one with other women in your industry in person.
Make plans to grab a midday tea, a happy hour drink or dinner and talk biz. I recommend designating a day or two per week for these kinds of meetings and scheduling one to two per week. Always see how you can support this sister first, whether it be by sending referrals her way or hashing some ideas out with her, but give her the space and then she’ll do the same for you.
A lot of my dearest friends and referral partners have come from me reaching blindly out to someone that I don’t really know and asking for a date. We don’t talk biz the whole time of course (sometimes we talk boys and such), but honestly this is a great way to get out of the house, gain a new friend, and potentially create new business too.
STEP 5 – Get Support From Your Own Personal Coaches
All the above steps to building your Strong Solopreneur Support Network are powerful ways to move forward, AND it is still SO important for us to get support from our own coaches and mentors along the entrepreneurial process. If there is one piece of advice I can give budding entrepreneurs it’s to invest in your own transformational business coach. Find someone that you resonate with that has the kind of business you desire, book a strategy session with her to make sure it’s a good fit and go for it!
When we try to do our business all by ourselves by studying websites, and signing up for countless free training programs, we don’t often get the results we want and end up with little direction. When money has been on the line and I’ve had to be accountable to someone in this way, that’s when I’ve experienced the most exponential amounts of growth in my business. Without that energetic investment, I’m just not going to do the work as efficiently, or at all.
I invested in my own business coaches right after I graduated from IIN and it made A WORLD of difference in running my own business. I had been an entrepreneur for about 3 years prior, running my own massage therapy practice, then adding in health coaching, and I was floundering and wasting precious time… After investing in my coaches, I was able to get my business streamlined, feel a deeper sense of guidance and community and I doubled my income. So, weather it be with me or another coach, I encourage you to take the bold next step for your business and invest in a coach.
Now I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite ways to create community in business? Please share in the comments below!
Alright dear friends, get to work on starting your own Strong Sister Support Network and let me know how it goes.