When we start our own business, so many times it can feel like we’re going it alone.
We can feel lonely and isolated, and that we are really not understood by the people around us.
Compare this to a feeling of being connected, and that someone has your back and that there are people you can turn to.
When I started my business, back in the day, I had no connections, no mentors and nobody in my immediate circle to turn to for support.
And actually, something you may not know is that the Australian Businesswomen’s Network (now HerBusiness), is actually the first network I joined.
And, I did so quite reluctantly.
You see, in 1993 I’d started an events business called Pow Wow Events and we were bringing an author out from the US to promote his book and we had a very small database.
I was looking for where we could promote the tour and sell tickets. And I came across the Australian Businesswomen’s Network — which was at the time run out of Melbourne by its founder.
And I organised it including a brochure with their newsletter mailing.
In conversation, Megan asked if I’d be interested in running the Sydney office of the network to which I quickly said No thanks.
And that was because
- I was so shy and introverted I couldn’t imagine running a networking organisation.
- I’d just started my own business and the idea of adding to my todo list was overwhelming. And being so new I felt a bit of a fraud heading up a community of women business owners.
My decision was made when my partner PJ suggested that I go for it — I had the skills to write newsletters, to market, to put on events…and I was bound to meet some really interesting women.
And this was a turning point — taking the role on MADE me get out of my comfort zone and start making connections — speakers, recruiting members, being at events. It was quite terrifying — I much preferred to be at home office behind my computer.
So, why do I tell you this? Because being a business owner, can be fun when you first start — you’re excited, it’s all new, and you have so much enthusiasm that you start hustling.
But then there comes a point when you realise that you don’t know what you need to know to consistently bring in customers, or to manage a team, or to write a system — so many things that we need to do as business owners.
But business is all about relationships and connections, so what can you do to feel less alone and more like you’re connected to the right information, people and opportunities that are going to alleviate the loneliness and also help you feel more successful in your business.
Love the Ones You’re With
Maybe you don’t have as many clients as you wish you had, but if you focus on really loving and serving those that you do have and helping them get results, you’ll see that it starts to build.
You get referrals, you get people staying with yo longer, buying more from you, or more frequently. And these communications can be so fulfilling.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing our members make wins and progress and my goal is to not only help[ them get those results but also sharing their results with other member so that they took an see that it’s possible.
Position Yourself For Connection
You won’t feel lonely when you put yourself in a position to interact with others.
You might feel a little less lonely when you join a Facebook group or an online community or an industry association.
But if you don’t actually interact online — liking, sharing, commenting, posting — or you don’t attend the events, or when you do attend you stick to yourself or you only mingle with those that you already know.
When I was working at home in my dressing gown — it wasn’t an optimum way for me to connect. And getting to a networking event – I’d be that person on the phone in the corner. Or I’d take a friend along and spend the whole time talking to them. And there‘s nothing wrong with that – but you may still feel alone.
For over 20 years I’ve put myself into mastermind groups and goals groups and ongoing programs that I have paid a lot of money for — to surround myself with the mentors, teachers and mainly the community that will grow with me and that I can learn from and feel supported by.
Right now I go to Canada 3 times a year and the US as many to be with the groups that I’m currently a part of — and it’s made a huge difference to the access to great people that I have any time I need support I have a group I of people I can reach out to.
And that’s the same reason I stuck with ABN for 20 years and it’s now HerBusiness — because it means that on a daily basis I’m positioning myself to be connected. And every day I’m speaking with or engaging with our members to help them get results and to help them get connected with each other — to do business together or to promote their businesses inside of our network.
Cultivate a Connection Mindset
This is a tricky one. I know I’ve battled with
- What have I got to say that’s of value?
- Maybe I’m not interesting enough, maybe people will be bored
- Why would people want to connect with me?
And at the same time, I’ve had an opposing goal to make an impact on as many people as possible. So, those things don’t work together.
And being an introvert it’s one I still struggle with — I want to be connected but I fear that it’ll mean no time for myself.
And it’s something I keep working on. Business is the biggest personal development process there is and any time we want to reach for more — and go for bigger goals we need to dig deep and check our thinking and who we are being – because that’s as important as what we are doing.
And self-limiting beliefs and resistance and fear — well, you may need support with getting over those barriers. I’ve sought support and continue to every time I find myself feeling stuck around wanting to connect to people — resigned or apathetic as well as when I’m fearful. There’s no shame in getting this support. It’s a gift to yourself and to those around you.
And a friend of mine Jen made this great distinction that I want to share with you.
Being alone is different to being lonely.
Having time alone — to plan, to dream, to think and to relax and reflect is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. And if you have a busy schedule, or young children or aging parents and loads of family our community responsibilities you know that those alone times are just perfect. Even if you don’t have those responsibilities, regularly taking time to dream and envision where you want to go – that is a huge gift to give yourself.
And that’s very differently to being lonely – where you feel disconnected, isolated, alone. And your family and friends, even though they love you, they don’t understand what it’s like to be in your own business, they don’t get why you work so hard, why you’re putting your heart and soul, why you haven’t quit even though you haven’t made any money yet.
And that’s where it so important to follow these three steps:
- Love the ones you’re with – really serve those that are already in your sphere and it’ll grow your audience.
- Position yourself for connection – be where you are likely to find connections. We’d love for you to join our network when we reopen in October. If you want to be sure to hear about that and get an invitation, just head over to HerBusiness.com/join and leave your details
- Cultivate a Connection Mindset – Lean in to connecting and notice if there’s a resistance and a barrier. And, if there is… seek support to be willing to be with people more. This is going to be important for you to develop relationships, deep relationships with your clients.
To learn more about joining our community, head over to HerBusiness.com/join and you can request an invite on to join when we open the doors in October. We’re working hard on making the experience so powerful and rewarding for you — and I can’t wait to welcome you into our network.
Here’s to doing what you love,