Being a small business owner, entrepreneur, or freelancer can be lonely. Sometimes, this is physical loneliness caused by working remotely. Sometimes, it's the feeling that your friends and family don’t understand the particular stresses of what you do.
To combat that loneliness and help your business thrive, it’s essential to find a community and mentors to turn to. This isn’t always easy, even as the world opens back up and networking events are happening in person again. If you’ve been struggling to connect with a support system, we’ve got four ways to help you find community and mentors.
Join a Virtual Community That’s Right for You
The internet is full of both good and bad things, but one of the best things about it is the way it can connect you with people all over the globe. No matter where you are, you can find a community of people with the same interests, wants, and needs as you.
The best way to choose a virtual community is to think about what your interests are and what you hope to get out of the community.Joining a community with similar interests and goals allows you to relate to the other members more, which helps you grow your relationships more organically.
Joining a community that’s looking for the same things you are or has the same interests you do also means that the content and experiences the group shares will be more beneficial to you. If you’re a freelance graphic designer, you don’t want to join a group for entrepreneurial restauranteurs. You want to join a community of other freelancers and artists because they’ll be able to share things that are relevant to your goals.
An added benefit to joining a virtual community is that it’s easy and requires little effort, which is a bonus when you’re spending all your effort trying to get your business off the ground. You can sign up from your laptop, and the price is often very reasonable.
At Norby, we partner with several virtual communities to help you connect with others. These include:
- Black Girl Magik: a spiritual community for black women offering wellness courses and a private membership platform.
- Female Founder World: a community for female creative entrepreneurs that includes workshops and events, including free weekly virtual organizational meetings every Monday.
- Freelance Founders: a private membership that gives top-tier talent access to exclusive job opportunities, professional development resources and templates, and a community of likeminded creatives to collaborate with.
- Female Startup Club: Female Startup Club’s Hype Club is a network that allows you to connect with mentors and other female entrepreneurs.
- PR Girl Manifesto: an inclusive digital community and industry-leading platform on a mission to make Communications a more accessible career path.
- Freelancing Females: The world’s largest community of freelancing women, which includes job postings and a freelancer directory.
- Geneva: a chat app for groups, clubs, and communities that’s home to hundreds of virtual communities like SAPPH-LIT, Sprezza, and more!
Hold Yourself Accountable to Take Advantage of The Community
It’s easy to sign up for a virtual community and then sit back and do nothing with it. But isolating yourself and failing to take advantage of the opportunities that community presents is not going to help your business grow or help you grow as a business owner.
The first step to taking advantage of what your community has to offer is to set goals for yourself. Your goal could be one virtual coffee with one new person from each of your communities each month. Or it could be participating in a routine community event each week or month. The point is to set goals to keep yourself connecting and engaging with the community you’re a part of.
The second step to taking advantage of your community is to use your time effectively. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with your community — ask questions, vent frustrations, and share your highs and lows.
You need to be willing to return the favor as well. Listen to what your new contact has to say. Offer advice or just an ear to vent to. Creating valuable exchanges and establishing mutual accountability allows you both to leave the meetup with new insight and a new friend.
Before you part ways, exchange contact information and facilitate ways to stay in touch. You can set up a recurring check-in meeting, exchange social media profiles, or exchange your Norby signup so you can get updates about each other’s business or content.
Try New Things and Put Yourself Out There
Self-promotion can sometimes feel awkward, but the truth is, having a little confidence can go a long way. Find a social media platform that you’re comfortable with using consistently and start sharing your success and pitching yourself. Don’t deny yourself opportunities either — if there’s a person or organization you’d really like to work with, reach out. Send an email, introduce yourself, and tell them why you think you’d work well together. By putting your name out there, you’re generating new opportunities for yourself.
Not sure where to start? Follow business development consultant, Terry Rice, for more tips and read his 5 Key to Success.
Invest in a Formal Mentorship or Coaching Program
A formal mentorship or coaching program can be life-changing. People who’ve been where you’ve been and succeeded can offer you opportunities, insight, and advice you may not be able to get elsewhere.
Sometimes, mentorships and coaching programs can be pricey. If you have the resources, they're worth the investment. If the cost is out of your reach, look into scholarship programs. Many platforms offer scholarships now to help cover the cost.
At Norby, we partner with a few different mentorship and coaching programs, including:
- ilovecreatives: a site full of resources for creatives that includes courses and a directory of potential collaborators and coaches.
- Big World NRG Creative Coaching: a creative and personal coach who helps freelancers and creators find their footing and look toward the future.
- Sara McCabe: a business consultant with 12 years of industry experience who helps business owners and entrepreneurs problem solve and strategize.
Trying to find a community and mentors can feel daunting, especially when you’re trying to balance the responsibilities of being a business owner or freelancer. Using virtual communities, mentorship, or coaching programs and finding the courage to put yourself out there can go a long way. Joining Norby can help you stay connected while putting the best digital marketing tools at your fingertips.
With Norby, you’ll have access to a full suite of digital marketing tools and techniques, including contact management software with the best CRM platforms, landing page marketing, text messaging, and the best email blast service out there.
Ready to get started? Join Norby today!