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New entrepreneurs can struggle with feelings of isolation. The very things that drive you — your own steadfast resolve and unwavering belief in seeing your vision come to life, for example — can seem quite alienating when you’re still in the process of convincing others to see its potential.
While some might say you should dream, build and spend as long as you possibly can in stealth mode, we disagree.
For example, if you run into a difficult problem, do you know where to find available resources? Do you even know which questions to be asking? It’s okay if the answer is no. This is the myth of the solopreneur. And you shouldn’t fall for it.
Instead, focus on how can you approach finding mentors, peers and team members to help build your dream in a constructive way.
Taking apart the myth of the hyper-successful solopreneur
In the U.S. especially, we are captivated by the idea of a rags-to-riches founder singlehandedly leading a business venture to ultimate success. This illusory individual took no help from anyone. They came from nothing. They had all the knowledge and skills they needed within to make it happen. Success hit them like lightning, seemingly overnight.
This person simply does not exist. No entrepreneur goes it completely alone nor should they put pressure on themselves to do so. Entrepreneurs achieve success by understanding market conditions and providing something of value by having the means to do so.
For example, Jeff Bezos founded Amazon with a roughly $250,000 investment from his parents. This was a clear and very intelligent response to the developing digital landscape. Bezos’ success hinged upon his parents having the initial capital and his own brilliant understanding of the future of commerce. But meaningful support for a new entrepreneur doesn’t have to be strictly financial.
Support is vital, but how do you get it?
Especially for new entrepreneurs, this can be a tough question to answer. After all, maybe you don’t know anyone else in your town with the same ambitions as you. There is actually a lot more support available to small business owners than many people realize.
If you are located in or near a city of any size, there are likely networking groups and nonprofits dedicated to helping entrepreneurs nearby. Do some Google research and find events, organizations and other resources that are local to you.
In addition, the U.S. Small Business Administration offers loans, grants and various resources to small businesses across the U.S. You can go on its site, type in your zip code and find out what they offer close to you.
Leveraging social media
People always talk about using social media to market a business to potential clients. By now, it has been well-established that social media has overtaken traditional advertising in many respects. If you want to reach millennials and Gen Z, it is vital.
However, especially for new entrepreneurs in the earliest days of their business, using social media to network with other entrepreneurs and find community is just as important.
Building a business alone is an undeniable rollercoaster ride. The ups and downs can be intense and the support of your peers can be vital. This is part of the reason why you find that entrepreneurs flock to online communities and social media.
In online communities, people often troubleshoot their problems together and share their successes and failures in real time. Important networking can take place naturally. If you have little firsthand experience in the world of entrepreneurship, you especially can learn so much here.
While many romanticize entrepreneurship, it is an incredibly difficult journey. Few people could handle all of the ups and downs in complete isolation. Especially on places like Twitter, TikTok and Reddit, you can find active communities of entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners. Check Facebook as well. You never know what’s out there until you look.
If you happen to be located in a small town without many of the resources above, social media may be your best bet to connect with like-minded people who are also on an entrepreneurial journey.
Ultimately, the quality of the connections you make is a large part of what will decide the fate of your business. While connecting with customers and clients is key, it’s not the only thing you should focus on.
Focus on connecting with the appropriate government and private resources and your fellow entrepreneurs for funding, networking and practical day-to-day support. If your business grows, you will also need to connect with talent and build a team. All of these connections are vital to the success of your business.
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