Working as a solopreneur often means working alone. In fact, since I have no employees, it’s not uncommon for me to go days (sometimes weeks) without actually speaking to anyone other than family and friends. I’ve completed entire projects with clients I’ve never met on the phone or by video, conversing primarily via email or on project management sites.
Though this makes it easier to do my job no matter where I am in the world—whether at home in Southern California or visiting family in the Midwest or UK—it can also sometimes make it more difficult because I don’t have anyone else to really bounce ideas off of when it comes to my business.
If you’re a solopreneur who is feeling this way too, there are a few networking options that are perfect for business owners like us. Here are three to consider.
Sometimes I wonder how to deal with a specific client issue or what types of marketing work best for those in my field. There’ve also been moments when I would’ve loved a little guidance on how to price certain projects or known who to pass a potential client onto if I didn’t feel like we were the right fit. That’s where it helps to have connections with others in my field.
By having a base group of writers that I can make contact with if I have a quick question, I feel less like I’m in this alone. Plus, learning from others’ experiences can keep us from making the same mistakes ourselves, saving us time, aggravation, and, in some cases, money.
One way to make these types of connections is by joining groups in your industry. This puts you in direct contact with others who have been in your shoes and can offer advice when it comes to building and growing your business successfully.
You can find these by doing an online search and inputting your job title, adding “groups and organizations.” For instance, for me, my search would be “writing groups and organizations.” If you’re on LinkedIn, you can search for professional groups in your field there as well.
JobStars also offers a list of some of the associations and organizations that exist, separating them based on industry. So, you may want to check that out too.
A couple years ago, I felt stuck in my business. I mean stuck to the point where I wondered if it was time to just give up. It seemed that, no matter what I did, I couldn’t increase my clientele, which also meant that I wasn’t increasing my income. I had absolutely no idea what to do.
That’s when I learned that one of the industry groups I was part of offered a mastermind for writers who were earning roughly the same amount of income that I was but wanted to learn what it took to take our businesses to the next level. It sounded like a perfect fit, so I decided to join.
Looking back, I can say that becoming part of that mastermind was pivotal for me. After hearing others in the group share their stories and experiences, and seeing how they conducted their business, not only did I realize that I was undervaluing my services (which was reflected in my lower-than-low prices), but also that I wasn’t reaching out to the right clients.
After taking all that I learned from my colleagues in that mastermind and applying it in my own business, I am now reaching my annual business revenue goals. I am proud to say that last year was my best year yet (both in terms of having great clientele and achieving my income goals) and this year is already on track to surpass it, for which I am extremely excited and grateful.
When it comes to joining one, you can either join a basic business mastermind group or find one that is specific to your field, like I did. Either way, you’re sure to pick up tips and tricks that can help you take your one-person business to the next level.
Local Business Groups
If it’s face-to-face contact that you enjoy most, another networking option that is perfect for solopreneurs is joining a local business group. Most meet regularly—whether weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly—giving you the opportunity to get out and physically meet other business owners in your area.
The great thing about local business groups is that these professionals know the consumers in the area. They know how they tend to respond to certain marketing efforts, what they like and what they dislike, and where you can find them both on and offline. Plus, these business-minded people can also potentially connect you with others in the area who can benefit from your services.
To find these types of groups, call your local Chamber of Commerce or search online for “business groups near me.” Meetup can also connect you to a few of the small business groups in your area which are listed on its site, while also providing information about business networking events that are occurring locally that may be of interest to you.
Business Network International (BNI) is another professional networking group, and one with more than 8,500 chapters worldwide, making this an option to consider as well. Not only does BNI give you access to other insightful and helpful business owners, but it also places a high focus on referrals. This enables you to grow your business via recommendation of those in your community who are highly respected professionals.
Just because you’re in business for yourself and by yourself doesn’t mean that you have to go about it alone. Networking with others is a great way to grow your business, while being more sociable at the same time, helping you to better meet all of your personal and professional goals.