Being an entrepreneur can be an exhilarating experience, with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It’s can also be extremely lonely and isolating as you spend your days and nights working towards your dreams. 62% of billionaires in the US are self-made (Source: Wealth X). But as the saying goes, ‘no man (or woman) is an island’, meaning we thrive when part of a community, rather than isolating ourselves.
One of the greatest factors in whether you’ll not only be successful but physically and mentally robust too is a great support network. This network consists of many different people, each as important as the next. They help and support you professionally, personally and mentally, keep you accountable and ultimately help you to achieve your goals.
Family & Friends
Being able to rely on your family and friends for support is vital. They may not have an understanding of your business, or the ins and out of the industry, but that is one of the main advantages. They are there to give you unconditional love and support which can be a great comfort in challenging times.
If you are running a business, then you are going to need specialist professional help. These people need to know what they are doing and be trustworthy. This network can consist of financial advisers, business lawyers, and accountants. This network will be important in helping you navigate the ins and outs of the business landscape so choose them wisely. Get referrals, read Reviews, do your research.
Some of the most successful people on the planet owe their part of their success to their mentors. Even Sir Isaac Newton said of his success “if I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
A mentor should be someone you admire, is experienced, and is willing to share their knowledge and wisdom with you. Mentoring can be as informal as exchanging emails from time to time, or a more formal, in-person contact.
A mentor should not be confused with a coach, who you have a more formal, transactional relationship with. There are many different types of coaches for different aspects of your life such as a life coach, careers coach, executive coach, etc. It is worth investing in some coaching time if you want to focus on specific areas of your life or business.
Professional Groups & Networks
Having a group of peers you can network with, discuss business ideas, or ask for advice. 26% of business owners turn to the internet for business-related advice. You can find these groups through professional organizations or, more commonly, online platforms such as Facebook or LinkedIn.
As we spend more of our lives online, this is usually the easiest place to build your peer network.
Choose your groups wisely. Like with most things, there are good groups and bad groups that may not be as supportive as you would like, or that you just don’t gel with.
Once you do find a group(s) you like, make sure you are participating as much as you can, so that you can get the best out of it. Together you can support each other through the successes and mistakes of being an entrepreneur.