Why you need to find a community of like-minded entrepreneurs

 Image: Chriselle Lim - Aimee Song - Camila Coelho

Image: Chriselle Lim - Aimee Song - Camila Coelho

Once when I was at Home Depot buying supplies, I had a conversation with the employee who was helping me about how I’m an entrepreneur, about my business, and about my opinions of going to college (that it’s a waste of time if you don’t make the right investments). He expressed that he had the same opinions, and that he was so glad he’d run into me. He told me that he’d thought of starting a business before, but everyone he knew was skeptical about it so he never went through with it. I told him, “If you were only going to remember one thing from this entire conversation, I need it to be this: don’t ever take advice from someone who hasn’t even done it themselves. You can do it, so don’t let them stop you -- don’t let anything stop you!

Starting business is hard enough
Not only do you have to have a skill to monetize in the form of a product or service (like photography, makeup artistry, etc), but you have to manage the business side of things, too! Things like managing taxes, getting a business license, drafting contracts for clients. That’s something that so many people often don’t think about when it comes to starting a business.

As if that doesn’t make starting a business hard enough, you also have to deal with the naysayers on top of that! People who don’t believe that anybody can just become an entrepreneur, people who have never done it themselves so they assume it isn’t possible just because they don’t actually know. When you have to deal with all of these people disapproving your efforts, it becomes hard to push through -- especially when it’s your friends and family who aren’t as supportive as you need them to be.

What you need to understand about receiving help and advice
When I was talking to the man at Home Depot, it wasn’t that he knew he could start a business and he knew they just didn’t understand. He actually believed them when they said it wasn’t possible. At least when people told me they didn’t believe I could do it, I didn’t actually listen.

You’ve got to understand that you shouldn’t take advice on how to lead a healthy lifestyle if all they eat is McDonalds. You shouldn’t let a dentist with rotten teeth try to take care of yours. They aren’t qualified for the job, and neither is someone who’s never started a business qualified to tell you about how you can’t do it yourself. How the heck would they know?? You need to take advice and receive help from people who have experience with what you’re asking about. This is the first step: get informed advice from someone who knows, not scared advice from someone who doesn’t!

Communicate with your friends and family
Now you know how limiting their lack of support can be, but they may not be aware. Let your friends and family know how their commentary can negatively impact you and your goals! Communicate to them in an appropriate manner that they may not understand how it hurts you so you just wanted to make sure they were aware so it can be avoided in the future.

That’s not to say they can just never talk to you about your business! Figure out how they can be involved. Once my mom had a better understanding of exactly what solutions I provide for entrepreneurs and small business owners, she started networking whenever an opportunity presented itself which is so helpful for my business.

Another example of a way friends can be involved is how my best friend is one of my most engaged Instagram followers. I had been talking to her about how I was going to focus on growing my Instagram to get more clients, and she let me know that she wasn’t sure if it was appropriate for her to comment or not. I let her know about how the Instagram algorithm works and exactly how I prefer people to engage with my account so that she knew not only what I wanted by why I wanted it. Now she is one of my most consistently engaged followers and it’s beyond helpful to my success!

Join supportive communities in your niche
Even if you direct your friends and family to support you in ways they can best understand, it’s likely that you still don’t have anyone to talk to who understands everything on the entrepreneurial side. You need to find a community of people who have similar goals so you can ask them questions, ask for feedback, and have conversations that will feed your inspiration to keep going.

Finding the perfect group can be difficult. The best way I’ve been able to do this is join Facebook groups that are related to my niche, evaluate who my favorite members are based on their engagement, and personally ask them if they’d like to stay connected outside of the group because I value how they’ve interacted with me inside whatever group we were in together. This could mean that you start another private Facebook group with less than 100 members, you could have a group chat, or you could host monthly Zoom meetings. Whatever method you choose to stay connected through, the goal is to have a small group of highly engaged, like-minded people who are all supportive of each other.

What you should do now
You’ve learned that not having support is very harmful, that you should communicate with friends and family about how they can adjust their commentary and possibly even help you out, and that you need to join or create a group of highly engaged and supportive people who are in your niche.

I want you to leave a comment below with who you are, what you do (or want to do), and how you’d like to connect with others. Then, join 2 or 3 Facebook groups that are related to your niche. Ready? Go! :)