The self-employed life can be a little lonely sometimes. The more work you put into your business, the less it seems you can relate to anyone else. It’s not that you’re actively pushing friends and family away; it’s just they can’t understand your specific issues.
Even worse, you start to live in a bubble that eventually won’t pop. You start to think you’ve got everything down pat and there’s no room to grow. This is how businesses get stuck in ruts and start to decline. Once this pattern is set, it’s tough to crack it.
That’s why it’s vital you involve yourself in a business community as soon as possible. Not only will it help you break out of your comfort zone, but meeting other business professionals can help your learn new ways to do things.
1. Information Sharing
This is one of the most obvious ways a community can help a professional learn, but it can’t be overstated. You accumulate a lot of knowledge during your time as a business professional and you start to think you know it all. All it takes is one person – or worse, one lost client – to come along and show you how little you know.
Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing! Realizing you’re nowhere near as smart or experienced as you think allows you to grow in ways you didn’t expect. Use your colleagues and even your competitors to expand your knowledge, both locally and globally. Don’t forget: they need your expertise too, so don’t be afraid to share.
2. Different Perspectives
Besides information, perspective is something that can only be gained when you talk to other people or consult new sources. Again, after doing business for so long, you start to think your way is the only way. It’s only when we’re challenged do we see how wrong we are.
Let’s say you’ve been selling your product offering one way for years and it’s never failed you. As a result, you become incredibly confident in your methods. However, at a community meeting, you realize your colleague is selling the same service in a drastically different way — and it’s never failed her, either. The conversations you could have about that alone could be business-altering!
3. Gets You Away From Work — Sort of
Part of getting stuck in a rut involves doing the same thing over and over, all day every day. If you’re always at the office or going to meetings or working on paperwork, you’re going to hit a wall and burn out. It’s happened before and it will happen again, even to the best professionals out there.
Getting out of the office once in a while and talking to others in your same position is a great way to free your brain up for a while and relax while you still move forward with your company. You’re not pulling yourself completely away, but simply hanging out with like-minded individuals (even online) can help you step away from any problems you’re having and see them from a new perspective. Just taking your mind off of the same ol’ thing for a while goes a long way toward allowing your brain to recharge.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from your colleagues or your competitors in online communities?