Big visionaries behind small businesses share their insights and experiences in this series. Learn how to share your brand story here.
You don't have to convince me about the power of community, the power of networking, etc etc. I worked as a professional at a desk job for over 10 years in addition to creating and running my jewelry business and many business lessons were learned on both sides.
Yet, somehow, as I strove to make my small business dream my full-time job, all the sinews and connectedness started dwindling away. Along with the apron strings, the network was severed. I got my goal -- I now work full-time on my business -- but I find myself wondering who my community is now?
When you are a solopreneur, there are no bitch sessions over the watercooler, no pulling someone into the nearest conference room to vent. When you need a resource, your computer is your BFF.
Since I started my business, I've known that I needed to network with fellow business owners. Of course, time seemed to work against me. Also insecurity and that feeling of competition, especially among jewelry designers, made it difficult to be on open terms. We all fear each other yet NEED each other. It's a dichotomy that I still find unsettling.
What have I tried? I've tried creating my own "success squad". I've tried taking classes. I've tried reaching out to colleagues (who are just as - conveniently? - busy as I am). These days, Facebook, forums and Twitter are my network. Yet I know that even these are not enough.
But when I attend in-person events, I still feel like an Outsider. An Other. On my Own. Maybe it's because I feel like a cagey old vet, yet have questions like a newbie. That I bristle at raw enthusiasm, a bristle of envy at passion that I once had, long ago, when I was just starting. Eye rolling at business owners who want to "get out there", but can't be bothered to use Facebook or Twitter. Wondering, what can I get out of this time I am spending? while wondering at the same time, what do they expect of me?
I'm not looking for a pat on the back -- "Wow, that's wonderful news! You must be so excited!" -- I know what I don't want, but what do I want?
Answers. Help. Truth. Experience.
Where do you find it?
Some resources I have known (and enjoyed-- honest):