Flying Solo

Are you “flying solo”? I have a lot of friends who work in a company of one.  They are consultants,  professional speakers, trainers, coaches, event coordinators, photographers, videographers, web designers and more.  My husband and I both fall into this category.

Others are in similar fields but have one or two staff members.  In either scenario, working alone or having one or two employees often leave the “business owner” without a trusted circle for support and inspiration.

Some seek out resources and camaraderie through professional associations and trade groups.  These are wonderful options and can provide a wealth of information, best practices, benefits and education.  I regularly recommend such groups to solo practitioners and am a member of a couple personally.

However, with rare exception, these groups do not offer opportunities for you to discuss your specific question or issue and gain targeted insights to help you move forward.  Some sophisticated (and expensive) groups have tried to address this need with small numbers of business owners who share all their information including financials.

Personally, I’ve opted for a less formal group we call our “Creativity Circle”.  About 6 times a year, I get together with 3 other professional women who I admire.  We are similar in that we are all authors and speakers, but we differ in subject matter and delivery methods. Together we share issues, ideas, leads and referrals.  We brainstorm on names for new programs we’ve developed, suggested new groups and avenues to share our information and we cheer good news and positive steps.  All this in 2 1/2 hours with scones, fruit and coffee.

Lorraine Howell‘s specialty is media training.  She works one on one with executives and business owners to craft and present their message effectively.   Marcia Brixey, Money Wise Women, holds low cost seminars and webinars to help women learn to make friends with money.  Dr. Julie Miller has held webinars and on-site training to teach effective business writing – and email writing – to some of the largest companies.  She is now about to launch her newest book “Secrets of Self-Starters” in October.  I speak to business groups of all types on  Improving the Customer Experience, Motivating your Team and other topics related to building successful businesses and careers.

How do you find a good group for you? Look in your association or trade group.  It’s helpful if your group shares an industry foundation.  It’s best if you are not directly competitors but perhaps share some synergy.   Be selective, make sure the personality fits work for you.  Share the hosting duty.  Don’t try to meet too often – you all have work to do and businesses to build!

Lastly, be prepared to go into most of the meetings thinking “I don’t have anything to offer today” and don’t be surprised when you leave  inspired, renewed, bursting with ideas.

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