Having friends in business is so important when you’re an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship can often feel like a lonely road with lots of ups and downs. While your friends and family can support you through those times, it’s helpful to have a friend (or two) who really gets it. A fellow business owner in the trenches of entrepreneurship.
In this post, we’ll chat more about why having friends in business is important to your business growth and sustainability.
Why Having Friends in Business is Important
When you start your own business as an entrepreneur, you’re often on your own. Think about why you started your business? Was it to break out of corporate America? Was it because you saw a need and thought, “I could do that…better”? Or maybe you were looking for a creative outlet and someone suggested you started charging.
In any case, the road of starting your own business is often an individual activity. And until you have the means to hire an assistant or team member, it’s you wearing all the hats. And sometimes it can feel overwhelming and frustrating and self-doubt starts to creep in. You can feel like you’re lost on an island that no one else understands.
How Having Friends in Business is Helpful
That’s where having friends in business can be so helpful. While your family and friends can be sources of support when you’re having a good or bad day in business, unless they are in business themselves, may not fully grasp what you’re going through.
When you have friends in business, you can call them up when you’re having a challenge, or have lunch and discuss marketing strategies, or grab a drink and celebrate the sales you closed. There’s just something extra special about having friends who understand the gravity of making that first sale, booking that session, or the disappointment when a promising client decides to pass.
Sometimes, you just need to talk to someone who gets it. They’ve been in your shoes before, they’ve faced a similar challenge, and there are just things that a fellow business owner understands that your spouse/partner/friend (not in business) just doesn’t. Not because they don’t want to or can’t, it’s because they aren’t in the trenches like you and another business owner are.
How to Make Friends in Business
Now, you may be thinking, “But how do I make friends in business?” Well, glad you asked. Unlike a traditional “job” that you go to and instantly have coworkers and colleagues, you have to go out and find your own business friends.
The best way to find friends with businesses is through networking. Networking doesn’t just mean going to networking events where it feels like “speed dating” a bunch of entrepreneurs. Sometimes networking can look like reaching out to local entrepreneurs you find on social media. It can sometimes be emailing other business owners and inviting them to coffee or lunch.
Strategies to Meet other business owners
When I first moved to Texas over 12 years ago, I did not have a full time job. I was working remotely for my corporate job on a contract basis. Then they did not renew my contract so I was literally on my own. I like to joke that my husband was my only friend. And it was kind of true because I didn’t know anyone in Dallas.
Since I was starting a business, and had no personal or professional network locally, I knew that I had to build one of my own. I started with reaching out to some contacts on social media (back in the days of early social media). One friend from Twitter (yeah, Twitter was still pretty peaceful back then), connected me with her friend who lived in Dallas and happened to be a wedding planner. She is still a friend to this day even though both of our businesses have pivoted and changed over the course of a decade.
I also got out of my comfort zone and cold emailed people. I emailed other photographers, wedding professionals (I was starting a wedding photography business at that time), and venues. And while not everyone agreed to meet with me, some did. And I’m grateful for those early connections. I’m still in touch (via social media) with many of those people.
I attended networking events and industry events. I was mostly a wallflower and would spend most of my time checking out the free food (let’s be honest), and I was so thankful for the handful of people who made the first move to say hi. I did not know “how” to network, but I could ask questions. And people love talking about themselves.
Take a Chance, it could change everything
Meeting new people can feel intimidating, especially if you’re more of an introvert. It can even feel overwhelming and exhausting. But I’ve found that meeting other business owners can change the trajectory of your business.
It is so powerful to meet with other entrepreneurs, people who understand the drive and hutzpah it takes to start a business. It’s amazing what you can learn from seasoned business owners and other people that you can look to as mentors. Walking a road feels so much less lonely when you can talk to someone who has walked that road before.
I know that my business would not be where it is now without other friends in business. Having photographer friends, creative business owner friends, and small business owner friends has been so key to understanding that the entrepreneur’s journey is a struggle that is real. But so worth the effort and commitment.
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