Before I jumped headfirst into my business full-time in 2020, I used to work in the corporate world. I had worked in marketing for many years and truth be told, I was miserable. In my last role before taking the leap, I managed a team of six and if you’re a manager yourself, you’ll know that comes with a heap of challenges.
But I loved my team, I had a decent marketing budget and a reasonable degree of job satisfaction. I guess that’s what kept me in my role for so long. Well, that and the seemingly reliable monthly pay check, although that also turned out to be misguided when I was suddenly made redundant during the pandemic.
Ultimately, I’ve discovered that I love being my own boss. The flexibility that comes with it is something that I have always dreamed of and I honestly can’t imagine going back to working for anyone else now. And it’s funny – that job satisfaction I just mentioned? It pales in comparison when I compare it to how my business and the work I do now make me feel.
But, there is something I did miss about my corporate role and that was being surrounded by like-minded creative individuals that I could bounce ideas off. You know when you can just pop up from your desk, ping your buddy a question or grab a quick cuppa to talk through an idea? It did feel like I had a bit of a void.
Business ownership can be pretty lonely at times, so something I have always wanted to achieve was building a tribe of people to help and support me. It’s something that I wholeheartedly recommend for every single entrepreneur.
Creativity – We can’t underestimate how empowering idea validation can be – sometimes, you just need someone to give that your permission slip to go for it. Offloading to your partner or a friend is never going to be as beneficial as someone within your “tribe”. Talking to someone within the business world that understands the nuances of what we do and the challenges that may occur. It’s no secret that being highly creative by yourself can be challenging.
Accountability – Founder, Director, CEO – you are all of these things when running your own business. But who is actually checking in on you? Who is holding you accountable? By having business friends, a coach, or an additional team member, you have somebody to provide that discipline and structure. A gentle nudge in the right direction, especially when you’re struggling.
Emotional support – Running a business can be tough and sometimes you can find that even your closest family and friends just don’t quite understand how challenging it can be. I have personally experienced this a lot, where I felt I didn’t fit in, and it was very isolating. In this instance, your business friends are such an incredible support network to have around you. They will be there when things are tough, but equally they’re ready for when you want to celebrate big accomplishments, and vice versa.
Networking groups – virtual or in-person – There are likely to be heaps of events in your local area, so consider attending them. Some events and organisations that you can join come at a cost but look at this investment in a rational way. If you fully commit to each opportunity, you’ll most likely get a lot back in terms of collaborations and referrals from other members. There will also be events that are more informal, ad-hoc and often free. Either way, networking events can be an extremely powerful tool. Your sphere of influence is broadened, and it really helps to build your personal brand.
Membership spaces – There are numerous membership spaces out there – we run a beautiful one called Blossom that comes at an extremely reasonable monthly cost. You can also find plenty of free communities. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, then I will say this – a smaller, intimate but highly engaged space may well be more fruitful than a huge group with next-to-no engagement. I am part of two paid membership spaces, and I can vouch that they are both wonderful, supportive, and informative.
Business events – Conferences, events and other industry-specific meet-ups are again great places to get together with like-minded people. I have attended several just in the last month, which have all been very insightful, great for self-development and improving my skills. They have also allowed me to develop and expand my connections.
Building up your professional network of trusted contacts will enable you to improve the chances of receiving fruitful referrals, which can be incredible for your business. Having a referral network means you have people actively recommending your business and sending clients/customers in your direction. This is brand advocacy – something I often refer to as “the holy grail of marketing”. It takes some work, and it involves you getting yourself out of your comfort zone, meeting new people and forging genuine relationships. But the sooner you get the wheels in motion, the better. It helped us to build significant traction – in the early days especially.
You may reach a point in your business where you need to have a serious think about outsourcing or even scaling a team. Since I made the decision to expand my team, I have brought two incredibly close friends of mine into this business, and it has been such a shift in energy and excitement. We have another joining us in January 2023. Of course, it’s a big financial commitment, but a necessary step to expand things. Both members of my team, I have worked with previously, and I knew they would bring a fountain of knowledge and support to the business.
Building your tribe is fundamental in allowing your business to flourish. Becoming well-connected within your local business community and opening yourself up to meeting new people will do wonders not only for yourself, but your business too.
We understand that meeting new people can push some of us outside of our comfort zone. Trust me, I am literally that person!
So, with all that in mind, let me talk to you about Immersion; our next in-person retreat that takes place next April.
It’s been designed to give you the opportunity to spend the whole weekend with a group of fellow creative entrepreneurs. It’s your chance to get away from it all, and realign your soul, heart and mind with your business. Surround yourself with nature, good vibes, spectacular food and equally wonderful humans in a cooperative, nurturing environment.
The retreat will be hosted at a hidden gem in South Devon (UK), where you can relax, stargaze, enjoy a Japanese sauna or even go for a wild swim. We’ll be able to connect through sunrise yoga sessions and spend time working on our businesses, with creative workshops and mindset coaching.
You can explore all the wonderfulness that the retreat has to offer here. There are just a few spaces left and we are excited to welcome soulful, supportive and creative individuals to the experience.
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