After a huge amount of deliberation, uncertainty, fear and those awful little butterflies in your stomach… you finally decide it’s time to start up something on your own.
Reaching this decision wasn’t as easy as you thought, or hoped, it would be.
What if it fails? What if you look silly? What if this is a decision you regret?
The doubts are still whirring around your mind but you silence them, knowing that deep in your gut you’re making the right decision. You are following your passion – your purpose.
You tell yourself that you have the power to design your own life. You’re the only person who can make this decision and you’re not about to let yourself down. You’re not about to let down the little girl that had all of those big dreams and promised herself she’d make them come true, just as soon as she was old enough.
To an outsider, they don’t understand how hard it is for you to put yourself out there and how much you’d love that little bit of reassurance that you’re doing the right thing.
You just decide to go for it.
But, just when you expect your friends to rally up and get behind you like an army, the deflating truth is that they didn’t.
Some of them just don’t understand, some of them don’t take an interest and some of them distance themselves from you because they wish they were doing it themselves.
You know that if the tables were turned, you’d be their biggest cheerleader and their strongest shoulder.
You’ve heard it a million times: unfollow those in real life who don’t support you.
You know it’s just not that easy. It hurts. You begin question yourself, “does this really mean I’m not doing the right thing?”.
This can then turn to anger: “They’re such terrible friends, they shouldn’t be treating me this way”.
But, should your friends really be supportive of your business?
Well, they don’t have to do anything.
Notice the dialogue leading up to this point, it’s been all about you.
Sometimes, we get too caught up in ourselves that we tend to overlook the feelings of those around us.
You’re taking an entirely new direction in your life. Things are going to change and you’re going to make sacrifices.
You’re no longer going to have as much social time as your friends are used to you having.
You’re going to get stressed out in a way that you never did with your job.
Talking about your business all the time will become normality to you.
Some of your friends are going to be scared for you and the risk you’re taking.
Others are going to be worried that you’ll end up leaving them behind when things take off and you finally have the freedom that is driving you to do this in the first place.
You’re at a complete loss. What do you do in this situation?
Well, there are just three possible outcomes that are going to apply to every one of the people that matter in your life.
1. They’re is going to get behind you completely and they’re in a very similar situation. They’re your Business BFF. Think: pulling late nights together, a bottle of wine when you need it and a congratulations when it’s due.
2. They don’t understand what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, but you know that they fully have your back. They’re your Ride or Die and you know when you’re with them that you don’t even have to think about the emails pilling up in your inbox.
3. They are completely unsupportive, uninterested and perhaps discouraging. You feel in your gut that this friendship is coming to an end and your fresh start is around the corner. It’s tough to let go and you feel as if you’re mourning a break-up, but you know that to be unstoppable you need to do this.
Now, it’s time to build YOUR Girl Gang.
Whenever I’m asked what I believe in and passionate about, my answer is always the same:
“Collaboration over Competition.”
Those Instagrammers and bloggers you see with hundreds and thousands of followers, are they always alone on their images? Nope. They’re with other people, doing the exact same thing as themselves, and collaborating to collectively build audiences.
If you were to ask me what tools have been most important in my business journey so far, I’d tell you:
Having a support network around you is invaluable.
As much as you think you can completely go at it alone, you need someone to bounce ideas off and get advice from. There are people out there who’ve done exactly what you’re doing, both successfully and unsuccessfully who can offer you invaluable advice. You also need a hug every now and then – you’re not a robot!
So the golden question is, how do you build your own?
Doing this both online and offline will be the most effective strategy.
To network online, joining communities such as the Boss Babe Academy is an essential. You’ll have a ready-made group of Business BFFs who are all in your shoes.
You can find various online communities like Boss Babe in Facebook groups, membership sites and simply by reaching out to those who inspire you or seem to be on a similar path to you.
Never be scared to put yourself out there.
Trust me, this person wants to hear from you as much as you want to contact them. Of course, always be incredibly polite, genuine and don’t ‘take, take, take’.
When looking for your Business BFFs offline, you’re going to need to put in a little more effort! Find out about networking in your area and make sure you’re always going to events that you know people similar to you will be attending.
Again, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone and ask if they’d like to have coffee with you. If that turns into the “we said coffee but drank a bottle of wine and shared our life stories” instead, then you’ve definitely found yourself a keeper!
Now, let’s flip it the other side.
In what way should you support your fellow Boss Babes?
Let’s get this out the way early, it does not mean you have to buy their products or services. If it’s something you can afford and would like to support them in that way with, however, then that’s fantastic.
One important thing to make note of is don’t expect a discount just because they’re your friends and definitely never ask for a ‘freebie’. If this was how they did business with everyone, they’d struggle to even get the business off the ground.
Transactions like this should always involve value for both parties.
Supporting your fellow BBs can mean so many things…
- Make valuable introductions whenever you can, not just when you’d like something in return;
- Listen to their issues, even when they don’t concern your business at all;
- Be completely selfless when giving advice, even if you know they’ll benefit from it more than you;
- Don’t ever get jealous of their success. Be completely happy for them and know that this also means you can achieve your own version of success;
- Don’t get your back up if someone is in the exact same industry as you. Embrace it and understand that this is a huge opportunity for you both!
- Try to aim for open, honest and respectful relationships where you can openly give your constructive feedback without fear of hurting their feelings. This will benefit their business a lot more than nodding and staying silent rather than giving honest opinions.
Finally, understand that there is room for all of you to be successful.
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