Expert Business Advisor Agata Chydzinski shares why entrepreneurs need a supportive network to thrive.
I used to think entrepreneurs were born. They seemed like these unicorns that could build a business from scratch or reinvent an industry with the wave of their magic wands.
For years, I watched my entrepreneurial friends succeed at building companies and thought – “I wish I could do that too.” The reason for my hesitation? I had no idea where to start, nor did I believe myself capable of performing the same feats as my friends. So instead of taking action, I watched from the sidelines while they took risks and built empires.
Making an impact with your venture should not be an individualistic effort.
We’ve all seen the stories of entrepreneurs who started their businesses and became a success. We know of their accomplishments, but we don’t see when they failed or got rejected by investors. When we research entrepreneurship and start-ups, we look at the positive side of things: how entrepreneurs make millions in just a few years, how they created something from nothing, etc.
We rarely get a glimpse into what went wrong along their journey because it doesn’t sell magazines or books as well as “Here are ten tips for starting your own business!” But there is another important part of entrepreneurship that is often overlooked: creating an ecosystem around yourself where you have people supporting you both emotionally and financially.
It’s important to surround ourselves with people who will tell us when we are wrong.
I have found that some people do not like to hear that they are wrong, but I think it’s important to surround ourselves with people who will tell us when we are wrong.
Not only is it a good thing, it’s an essential part of being a good entrepreneur, and if you can’t take criticism, then you should probably try something else because as an entrepreneur, you will make mistakes, lots of them!
A support system is a key ingredient of entrepreneurship.
You can’t do it alone. The most successful entrepreneurs have a support system: family, friends, mentors and coaches, partners, and co-founders. It’s about having people who will help you through the tough times—and there will be plenty of those. You need to connect with others who are going through the same things that you are so that you can learn together and build confidence together.
Entrepreneurship can be a lonely journey, and a support system is the ultimate lifeline.
You will have days where you feel like nothing is going to work out. You will feel like people are against you or they don’t understand your vision. But there’s always someone who will push you in the right direction so that you can keep moving forward.
And when things get tough for us entrepreneurs, we tend to isolate ourselves from others around us–and this is when we make mistakes and lose focus on our goals and values as entrepreneurs. Don’t let that happen! Surround yourself with friends who want to see you succeed and who are willing to help make it happen!
Building an entrepreneurial ecosystem is possible.
One of the biggest problems with entrepreneurship is that it’s a lonely road. It can easily feel like you’re on your own and that there’s no one to turn to when things get tough. But if you look hard enough, you’ll find other entrepreneurs in your community who are doing great things and have tons of knowledge and experience to share!
As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve found that having a supportive community has been crucial in helping me grow my business. In addition to being able to bounce ideas off each other and share resources, we’ve formed a strong bond based on our shared passion for entrepreneurship and desire for success. We’ve also built up our own network—which includes other innovators from around town who are eager to support one another as well—and we’re constantly learning from each other about new ways of doing business more efficiently or effectively than ever before (or at least as far back as anyone can remember).
Entrepreneurship may seem like a lonely undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be – you can build your own ecosystem and motivate one another to succeed.
If you’re a new entrepreneur, it can feel like entrepreneurship is an individual pursuit. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Entrepreneurship is actually a group effort that needs to be supported by everyone involved.
There are many ways to build your network and help others succeed if you want to be an effective member of your community:
- Become a mentor or take courses on entrepreneurship and business skills (like those offered by General Assembly)
- Meet people in person through networking events or volunteer projects (the Startup Grind community hosts meetups all over the world)
- Join groups that share your interests — whether they’re focused on specific industries or areas of expertise
Life happens, and as entrepreneurs, we need to learn how to make time for everything else in life, not just our ventures or career goals.
You’ve got to find time for everything else. Your family, friends, and other interests should not take second place to your business. And if they do, you better watch out because one day soon, your business will be taking itself over.
When it comes down to it, being an entrepreneur is about balancing multiple roles: employee, boss, spouse/partner/parent/sibling/friend/etc. The last thing entrepreneurs should do is let their businesses take over their lives completely.
Entrepreneurship does not have to be lonely; find your network and team, and help your community grow.
Being an entrepreneur is lonely at times. You have to be strong and independent, trust your gut, and know when to just do it yourself. But if you find yourself in a situation where you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it. There are many people out there who want to help you grow your business so that they can grow theirs too. Find them and make them part of your team!
I hope this has inspired you to bump up your networking skills. Spend more time talking to other entrepreneurs, and think about how you can help others. Networking is a powerful tool that can lead to great things for everyone involved.