The people we hang around with influence us more than we think.
That’s because our perception of what’s normal comes from the people around us. Hang around with struggling self-employed people who have clients-from-hell and are working their butts off just to make minimum wage and you’d conclude that’s just the way that self-employed life is. But if you spend time with self employed people who are doing well and have clients who are generally a pleasure to work with, then your perception would be very different.
I believe it’s very easy for us women in particular to get close to our business friends. We get to know and like them, and soon enough they become true friends. That’s great for overcoming the isolation that the self employed life can bring, but as the people around you have such a huge impact on you, it’s good to pay attention to who is in your circle every now and then.
Women’s desire to help others can be a problem here, too. Helping others is usually a really positive thing, but there comes a time when you’re so busy helping others that you neglect yourself. You can only effectively support people in your own business community (possibly any community?) if you’re exposed to positive influences yourself. Otherwise your community becomes a crowd of knackered and frustrated people who are just propping each other up!
Am I suggesting that you drop friends who are not helping you progress? Absolutely not, that would be really selfish. But you aren’t restricted to just the one community. There’s nothing to stop you building a network among people who are going to challenge you just a bit more than where you are now. By ‘challenge’, I mean that they stretch you a little, expose you to new ideas and create a bigger sense of what your world could be.
It’s so easy to slip into spending an hour in an internet forum or in a Facebook group which is, if you’re really honest, doing very little for your business. Instead, why not spend ten minutes there and another twenty in a group that will really help you and your business grow?
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