One thing I learned as a home-based entrepreneur is that there’s no traditional “water cooler” where you can shoot the -um, breeze with a co-worker on your 15 minute break. You don’t have a tribe, a community. Our version of the proverbial water cooler is social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or text messaging, none of which has a time limit.
Whether it’s a computer or mobile device, we’re magnetically attracted to the instant gratification and interactivity of the world wide web. It’s just so danged easy to get sucked in – and an hour or more later, you’re still at the “virtual water cooler” having conveniently avoided doing the things that actually help grow your business and earn you income!
Working solo from home often means a lack of built-in social interaction with colleagues. It’s one of the quirks…or perks, depending on your point of view 🙂 of being a solopreneur. As humans, we all want to belong, and we all need social interaction for our emotional health and well being, but when it comes to home business, we don’t really give it much thought beyond a membership with a local chapter of Toastmasters.
Why is that?
We need a feedback loop – someone who understands the intricacies of working solo. We also need to feel connected and supported, both personally and professionally. We crave connection whether we realize it or not.
You can’t spend all your time cavorting online or tethered to your phone…and if you are, you’re leaving money on the table! Sometimes you just gotta g.o.o.y.o.w. – get out of your own way. Realize that the very technology that allows you to work from home (or on the go with a mobile device) can also become the double edge sword that kills your business. It can be a helpful tool or a big distraction preventing you from focusing on your goals and doing the things you actually need to do – like, oh I don’t know earn income!
I get it. You need to pop the cork and let off some pressure now and then. What’s the harm in a little surfing the web? But ask yourself how often you’re doing that, and is it helping your business. Are you bored? Are you lonely? Heck, are you even cut out for solopreneurship?
I had to have a conversation with me, myself and I. I realized the only person who could control my non-essential lolli-gagging was me. I’m the boss! But I also know it’s important to not feel isolated…again, quirk or perk.
If this sounds like you too, you need a workable solution.
- How do you maintain a focused business mindset?
- Can you quickly get help for your business when problems arise?
- Do you have a reliable safety valve for when you’re at your wit’s end and can’t solve a problem on your own?
- Do you have a killer idea you want to implement, but no one to share it with?
- Do you have real strategies in place that allow you to balance the all-important social connections with your daily do’s?
Find a community of like-minded people – kindred spirits who see what you see, feel how you feel and understand the work-from-home mindset. Associate yourself with people who live what you live and appreciate that while being your own boss can be rewarding, it doesn’t mean it’s an easy path…yet they choose to keep doing it just like you: Find your tribe, find your power.
Community can be incredibly valuable in helping you grow your circle of friends and colleagues in addition to your personal ones. Beyond that, immersing yourself in a supportive community can not only help you build business skills, it can help you build your business. Search social media groups on Facebook and Google+ that interest you. Plant yourself in discussion groups and forums where you can share ideas and help one another.
If the thought of this sounds too cumbersome or intimidating for you, fear not. I’ve got the perfect thing for what ails ya! It’s a swiss army knife solution for a common dilemma faced by many home-based solopreneurs. I found an online community that completely fills in the gaps where I most need help. What do I mean by that and why do I think it’s so powerful?
Because it’s not just one person. It’s a group of solopreneurs who come from diverse backgrounds who have a common interest and are willing to interact with one another. It’s called a mastermind community. They’re able to listen, teach, guide, correct, support, mentor and even join with you. (Many a partnership or join venture happens within mastermind communities.) The power comes from the collective sharing of ideas, expertise, experience and diverse backgrounds.
Imagine having a burning question, a nagging technical issue, or a milestone celebration you want to share and within an hour having 30 people respond by answering your question, or providing a helpful resource or congratulating you on your milestone. That’s the power of a mastermind community.
You don’t get that when you stay inside your little cocoon inside your home office. Worse than that your business won’t grow. So, next time you’re on social media, consider how you can use it for your business. Find a group, a discussion board or a forum to participate in. It’ll open up a whole new set of possibilities for your home business and it’ll do you a world of good.