#FEARLESSFOUNDER Interviews

#BossHack No. 2: The 3 Types of Support Every Entrepreneur Needs

October 8th, 2014 | Sara Davidson

Welcome to our #BossHack series. This is Part 2 of our #BossHacks (or fundamentals) that every game-changing entrepreneur needs to know to build a wildly profitable business that makes them feel alive. Catch up on Part 1: The 4 Thing You Don’t Learn in School here

There is no better time to start a business and become an entrepreneur. With the internet, we have the world at our fingertips with access to education and people who we can turn. So why is there still the mindset floating around that “it’s lonely at the top”?

Well, maybe it doesn’t have to be anymore. In fact, research has proven that mentorship and support is key for long-term entrepreneurial success. And here’s why:

MENTORS

Mentors can really be a game-changer for an entrepreneur. My first business, I originally tried to “go it alone” — to scared to ask for help or for advice. Which is frightening, since I had no clue what I was doing when I started. But once I surrounded myself with incredible, caring, smart mentors, the sky was the limit in my revenue and growth potential.

So why do mentors matter?

  • They are a sounding board for all of your ideas
  • They are rooting for you (and it’s awfully nice to have when you doubt yourself)
  • They can open doors for you that you wouldn’t have otherwise
  • They’ve been there and significantly decrease your learning curve
  • You stop wasting time guessing because you can get (great) answers to your questions quickly
  • And they challenge you to be better and dream bigger

So what type of mentors do you need?

The truth is that when you’re starting a business or are in the early stages of your business, you need to be prepared to find a lot of different types of mentors. These mentors will vary overtime, based on your particular needs.

  • A long-term mentor — someone who is there at the beginning understands your business fully and provides feedback on an ongoing basis. They tend to make themselves more available to you, as they are personally invested and want you to succeed.
  • Short-term mentors — These mentors serve as sounding boards for particular parts of your business, such as marketing, product development, hiring and more. Oftentimes, you hire them for particular projects or engage with them only when you have very specific questions. They’re experts in their field and know their stuff.
  • Coaches — these mentors are incredible motivators, but can help you with your own personal growth, not only as a leader in your business, but in your personal life as well. They can help round you out to make sure you’re living a fully integrated life and your relationships, health, etc.

So how do you find them? The first step is to get really clear on what you need and to be fearless in asking for help. You can either identify them online or find them in your local community. Then, you merely ask them for 20 minutes of their time and begin to build that relationships to see if it’s a great fit. It’s truly unbelievable how much more accessible and willing to chip in these mentors can be. And 9/10, they’ll like say yes, so go for it! What do you have to lose?

In Boss School, mentorship is a HUGE value that we provide the women, with access to more than 20+ world-class mentors in every industry. Go on over here to check out the list.

COMMUNITY

Have you ever had a big dream that you felt like no one around you really understood? Or they couldn’t really relate to what you were going through or provide any helpful advice? The #1 thing I hear entrepreneurs talk about is how sometimes they feel lonely (or kind of on an island by themselves) as they are building their business. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way as you can find a community of people just like you to who are there for each other as they take big leaps in their businesses and lives.

Now, what do I mean by the term “community?” It’s a general term for a circle of people that can support you as you’re building your business. They are there to encourage you, share their experiences and hold you accountable for achieving your goals. There are two primary types of communities:

Local community

These are folks in the city you live in who are either building companies or in some way are involved in the entrepreneurship ecosystem (advisors, lawyers, investors, business centers, etc.). Years ago when I lived in Omaha (and even when I moved to Kansas City), the entrepreneurship community was pretty fragmented. As in, it was pretty difficult to find other entrepreneurs — especially women — who were creating businesses. But I pounded the pavement to make sure that I found others going through the same struggles as I was, so if I ever need a jam session, drinks or just a shoulder to cry on, they were right there.

So how can you find them? Check out your local business centers, your Chamber of Commerce or even search for Meetup groups to see if there are any unofficial gatherings. You’d be surprised — even if you’re in a smaller town, there are entrepreneurs everywhere! And if not, you can create one yourself (which is what I did in Kansas City with the Athena League).

Virtual community

These are people that can exist anywhere in the world, where you mostly communicate online, phone or video calls. This has hands-down been one of the most transformational keys to my own growth and success as an entrepreneur. Here, you can self-select based on the particular industry you’re in, your passions, your common goals, your unique personality/flavor, age-groups — anything. Some are paid, some are free. But what’s great is that you can literally get 24/7 support and make friends with other ambitious, game-changing entrepreneurs from all over the world. I personally belong to numerous virtual communities that serve a wide array a purposes, varying from personal growth, female entrepreneurship, internet marketing and more.

In Boss School, you immediately get a community of aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs from all over the world. Find out more information here.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS

While this may seem obvious, I’m putting it in here for a very specific reason. Sometimes, as entrepreneurs, we have a tendency to isolate ourselves from others who might not entirely relate to what we’re doing. While you need to set healthy boundaries (as in, get rid of toxic people and those who hold you back), it’s so important to have other people you spend time with where you don’t always talk about your business. In fact, sometimes they may even have a different perspective that you never considered. And, these are the people who will be there for you through thick and thin, pick you back up if you fail and kind remind you of the other amazing parts of yourself outside of being an entrepreneur.

 

Remember to make time for these people and invest in these relationships — as they are equally as important to your success and fulfillment in life and business as any other person. Make time to play, chat on the phone and laugh your ass off. And even if you have a hard day, they might just give you the perspective you need to keep going.

 

Boss School is a proven, step-by-step 10-week online course that teaches aspiring and existing female entrepreneurs exactly how to start (or whip into shape) their dream business. Enrollment for this class closes on October 10th and spaces are limited. Find out more details and enroll here.

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