One of the greatest markers for progress this century must be the attitude we’ve developed towards mental health. Having said that, this message of self-care is also countered by the unhealthy work ethic we’re now forced to adapt to. Ridiculously long hours, multiple jobs, very little personal time or space, and the list of complaints goes on. It’s becoming more and more difficult to pay the bills, care for our state of mind, and be successful. So, if you’re reading this and nodding along, maybe it’s because you’ve taken the step towards starting your own business or working alone. It’s easy to forget that this doesn’t mean you need to be alone. Here are some tips for making the most of your business community.
Enter The Hive
In this day in age, it’s tough finding anybody who hasn’t already done what you’re doing or some iteration of it in the global business community. Yes, they sell custom logos and you sell custom business cards, but you’re both in graphic design and rely heavily on your online presence.
Learn from others so that you don’t make the same mistakes they did start out. It’s a cheap and beneficial way to streamline your business model and ensure you’re putting your best foot forward in the race.
There is a common misconception that your business is your business so nobody else should know anything about it. This naïve approach to starting a business is the cause for many to either collapse or stumble for longer than they should in their opening stages.
Take advantage of business communities out there with decades of prior experience or business communities full of new entrepreneurs in the very same or similar area to the venture you’ve just begun. The thought that competition drives sales down is obsolete because competition also creates the online buzz you need to make your niche heard while subsequently driving you to create the best product you can to out-do your competitors.
What’s the best way to join a group of likeminded entrepreneurs? Social media is obviously an almost infinitely vast space full of people with any interest conceivable.
Having said that, if you’re looking for a more tangible experience, maybe a hot desk at a co-working space or shared office is more suitable. Co-working spaces are full of other new and experienced business owners with advice, cautions and services up for grabs to those brave enough to just ask. The revered Harvard Business Review weighed in on the topic too.
Take the strain off yourself in the long and difficult path to starting a business that can be infinitely stressful by relying on the community around you.
Find these networks. Build that business community. Be a part of your venture’s growth.
Collaborate & Listen
You’re a part of the hive now. You’ve been accepted into a dozen small business communities and interest groups online. You’ve even begun your membership at a nearby co-working space. You’re meeting people. They’ve all given you advice and you’re well on your way to be a real-life entrepreneur and starting your small business off right. Awesome! You’ve asked all these people for advice, but what about asking them to jump on board!
Collaborating does two incredibly important things besides producing a new product:
- it merges two audiences and it shares the burden of creation. You have your own online presence, social media following and client list. Whomever you’re collaborating with also has the very same. Merging those two audiences could double your selling power!
- You can stress less! Rest assured relying on someone with just as much to gain and lose to hold up their end while also having someone to consult and bounce ideas off.
Being an entrepreneur can become exhausting after so many solo endeavors and collaboration can take the weight off while producing something better and more exciting. It’s a fool’s move not to take advantage of that! For a little more information on collaborative working, take a look at what the Ontario Healthy Communities Coalition had to say.
Furthermore, be strategic with who you collaborate with. As an entrepreneur, you must always be striving to reach the next branch up. It’s more beneficial to join forces with someone who has a larger audience than you on a project.
So, you’re a freelance journalist? Collaborate with the graphic designers on the hot desk across from yours as well as the photographers down the hall and they can provide the hard-hitting images you need for your hard-hitting article. It’s simple, effective and profitable for both parties.
There’s No Place Like Home
The allures of working from home are enticing when you’re at work all day for obscenely long hours. So, when you quit your job and started this business, you opted for just that – a work-life balance that was centred around your life at home.
I’m sure it felt like a good idea and you were in love with sleeping in at the beginning, but you’ve slowly noticed a decline in productivity now that you’re 3 months in and used to it. Your pets, children, spouses, parents and friends all require attention you can’t provide while working!
Home is truly where the heart resides, and no venture is successful without the love and support of family and friends. However, there’s a reason why the goal is called a “work-life balance”. Nothing gets done if you’re trying to fit family and work into one slot. The team at SBS Life found conclusive evidence to suggest this too.
Solve this problem by designating a room in your house for your office and ensure it’s understood that the office is virtually off-limits during business hours. Otherwise, a co-working space is still a very relevant option if you can find one with a daycare facility if you have youngsters or a local one that’s close to home so you can feed your pet. If you live in Oakleigh, find a co-working space in Melbourne’s South East to satisfy your needs. That should narrow the search down!
This way, you get the time away required to complete goals and create business networks, but you also get to plan your own hours efficiently so you’re done at a reasonable hour, allowing you to spend the necessary time with your family and friends that is necessary to your mental health and wellbeing.
Entrepreneurship is a noble decision for any born leader and innovative thinker. However, it can strike some as a very lonely path to walk. Take note of what’s been put forward in this article and make work smarter within your business community, consider the space you’re in versus a private office or co-working space hot desk, and remember to maintain the fun in life alongside your loved ones so you don’t miss a beat out of their lives either. The healthy small business model is achievable, both in mind and in action.
Be a “solopreneur”, but don’t fly solo!