This post is going to be a bit different than previous ones. But it’s one that that every business owner/freelancer/entrepreneur knows what I’m talking about: our support system, the wind beneath our wings. Because no matter how successful we are, or how much we struggle, without these people our journey wouldn’t matter. Let me explain.
Networking was never my favorite part of business. I love telling stories, but I wasn’t always comfortable telling all of you how great I am at it. But when my late partner passed away, I had to take over this role. It wasn’t easy. He was a natural networker. He could talk to anyone, sell to anyone. I miss him. Now, I’m an extrovert, but that wasn’t my comfort zone. Still, I put myself out there, met people, watched people, learned how to network better, built relationships and friendships. And after a year of learning, I like it better now.
And this year, I’ve spent much of it reaching out to new clients, working to build clientele, making new relationships. It’s working. And when I go to networking events, big or small, I look for people I know, people I can launch conversations with and meet others. It’s fun. We drink, we talk, we laugh, we discuss our businesses and what we’re looking for. Men and women talking business. Or family. Or sports. Or business.
It’s always a good time. But I’ve found that some of the best times I’ve had networking are with other women. This isn’t a male bashing post – I promise. But when men and women network together, rarely do we talk about missteps in business. And believe me, we all make them. It’s not that we don’t know that about each other, it’s just that much of the time, men and women don’t spill the beans as quickly.
When I go to women business luncheons, we go over our mistakes; what we’ve learned, what we learn from others. And I’m not going to get into the whole women vs. men lunches – men are always invited to these luncheons, they just usually don’t come. It’s a different dynamic, and for me, it’s where I feel like one of the gang the most. We admit our hardships, that we don’t have all the answers, and we ask questions. And we get answers. We support each other, we lift each other up. I always feel better, empowered after one of these luncheons.
And then I immediately call my greatest asset and biggest networker to talk about all this great time with women: my husband. Now, I know I’ve just told you all that I feel great after these women business luncheons, that we talk it out, we have a sisterhood. It’s all true. But my greatest supporter is my husband. From the beginning he pushed me to start Alejo, he’s my biggest cheerleader, my IT guy, my listen-to-me-when-I’m-being-neurotic sounding board, my talk-me-off-the-ledge counselor. He talks me up to clients, coworkers, friends. He tells everyone how great I am. Because he truly believes it.
When I worked in broadcast I had answers. I was paid to have the answers. As a business owner, I don’t have all the answers. It’s trial and error, sometimes it’s try and fail. But my husband is always there to lift me up when I’m down.
Everyone needs a good support system, let alone a business owner. Belief in ourselves is imperative, but having someone who believes in us, cheers us on, lifts us up during those down times can be the difference between success and failure. And remember, even if your idea doesn’t take off that doesn’t mean you’re bad at what you do. It just means your idea didn’t take off. Your support system will tell you that too and you should believe them – as they believe in you.
It’s not his birthday, and it’s not Father’s Day, so before I get really crazy with another project and long hours, let me just say, thanks babe. Couldn’t do this without you.