When you are a solopreneur…the buck stops with you.
Sure you can build a team, you can outsource, you can surround yourself with a girl (or boy) tribe of other kick arse business buddies…but ultimately you are on your own.
So often people say to me,
“I don’t have it in me, I couldn’t motivate myself to work from home”
“Gosh I’d just watch TV all day”
“I couldn’t cope with the stress..and the loneliness, don’t you miss people?”
And yes on some days I question things along a similar vein….yes, it can be lonely.
Last week I wrote a blog post called Single Working Business Mum VS Covid19 and lets just say it got a bit of traction…it struck a chord with a lot of folks…around 3-4K at last count.
I didn’t set out for it to cause such a stir, but I was frustrated at the lack of voices about the unique set of challenges us single parents have faced…it’s like a double whammy of loneliness…or at least that’s how my initial blog post read.
I sat with it on Friday though, while running my first in-person mastermind session with clients in months…5 to be exact. Something didn’t feel right about the post I had written. There I was with my million lives club mastermind, feeling anything but alone…they had been with me throughout…as had around a thousand of my most active clients from across my business.
It struck me…I was never really alone, a little lonely at times…but alone…NEVER.
The messages of support I got, the care packages, the birthday wishes, the gifts for my 7 year old, the private messages, the ad hoc zoom calls, the planned zoom calls…I was always on a bloody zoom call…but they helped, they really did.
I mean what would I have done without them?
A decade ago I set up a blog because I felt alone, alone in the sport of running. I didn’t feel like there was anyone out there like me, running in a larger body, struggling with all of the feelings about being too slow and too fat…not having the right gear, any idea of how to train…not welcome in the sport.
Finding others like me helped. It helped me feel less alone, and it helped change the way I saw things. I was never not-welcome, the sport just needed an army of folks like me to be a bit more vocal so we could be included more…it just took a bit of persistence and time.
The key to any change really, particularly in terms of business growth.
When lockdown happened I panicked a bit…just a bit…I worried that my business coaching clients would leave…and although some of that would have been about a loss of income, most of it was about the community I had created around me and a fear of losing that.
Selfish as it sounds.
I build communities because I need community. I REALLY need community. I am stronger when I am part of something bigger than me. Knowing my clients are looking for me to hold my shit together and model my style of leadership…keeps me on the straight and narrow.
We were in this together.
We were and we are, even now.
I shared with my clients my strategies for growth, my strategies for time management, I showed them what boundaries looked like, and communicated what I needed and why.
I celebrated wins, I talked about the struggles and we laughed at the lunacy of it all.
I was never lonely though, never…because I knew many of my clients were going through similar challenges, they got it. Juggling multiple priorities, managing their energy and their mental health, having to make decisions on budgets and pricing, and managing their own communities.
The last 6 months have helped me get more clarity about what I want to do with my life and with my business (the good I can do on this earth) than the last 6 years, probably the last 20.
I sometimes have to pinch myself at what a) we have endured and b) what we have achieved…and by we, I mean me and my daughter, but also me and my clients, and me and my wider business buddies too.
We don’t just build tribes so we can tap into an endless supply of paying clients and folks to stroke our egos, we build tribes because collectively we have somewhere to go and we don’t want to go there alone.
We build community around us because we know that makes us stronger, safer and more resilient as business owners. They give us additional resources…information, expertise, support, energy, influence.
Larger audiences, more engaged audiences…and of course active client lists give us better options as business owners….so it’s not all the nice touchy-feely stuff, they make good business sense.
Finding your unique style of Tribe leadership and designing an engagement strategy around that is probably the most sensible thing you can do as a business owner in these uncertain times.
The least sensible thing you can do is go it alone.
I have massive plans for continued growth as we hurtle into the second half of 2020…I have new projects, programmes and services, all with a focus on developing deeper and more meaningful connection with the people around us in our businesses.
Our communities, our client base, but more broadly than that too…I’m talking about all of the various stakeholders in our business eco-system, our part-time staff and suppliers, our joint venture pals, the people we mastermind with, are coached by, and connect with over similar missions…maybe even our competitors.
This is about people. Good people. Business people.
Finding our people, loving on our people, supporting them, and allowing them to support us, creating opportunities to collaborate, cooperate, and coexist as we all grow and move closer towards our collective and individual dreams….and as utopian as this might sound….this is the mission…my mission….and I accept.
Julie Creffield is a community engagement strategist and business mentor, through her various online group programmes and masterminds, and VIP consulting services she helps small business owners, to build profitable and impactful communities for maximum impact and income.
Her signature programme Tribe Builder opens it’s doors again in late September, but if you would like to find out more about how it could help you to build a community of engaged clients then get in touch…via firstname.lastname@example.org, you may even wish to secure a super early bird rate by putting down a deposit now.