We all can benefit from a solid support system, especially those of us who are self-employed. Because we typically don’t have the office camaraderie and co-worker support that’s organic in many corporate and educational environments, building our own individual support system of family, friends and colleagues is vital.
Whether you’re about to make the switch to begin working for yourself, or if you just want to get more involved encouragement from your existing support network, here are a few ways you can expand and enhance your core support group.
There is always someone in our lives who likes to play devil’s advocate. While this can be very beneficial at times, these people usually don’t make the best members of your support team. Value their realistic outlook and turn to them for idea troubleshooting and problem anticipation, but you may want to exclude them from your core group of cheerleaders.
Follow the Principles of Give and Take
After you’ve eliminated the negativity and before you start asking for support, understand that it can’t be a one-way street. For every request you make of your support group and every bit of encouragement you receive, you should return the favor. To develop a reciprocal and sustainable group, become a supporter of each member of your team and help them reach their own success.
Share Your Story
Being open and transparent is an important step when you want to enlist the help of others. Approach each person individually, explain your situation, and outline what you envision their role being. Getting everyone on the same page can be the deciding factor when building a long-lasting group.
Ask for Help from the Experts
You will likely have a few people in your support group that are excellent at what they do. Single them out and ask for their expertise in the form of mentor or advisor when necessary. Not only will you be able to benefit from their experience, but they will feel invested in your success.
Think Beyond the Obvious
Yes, your immediate family, close friends and industry colleagues can be great members of your support team. But don’t limit yourself. Expand your horizons to consider people you’ve met in non-traditional outlets – like social media, for example. The relationships you form online can help you develop a community of shared support that provides opinions, experience and knowledge you might not have otherwise found.
If you are surrounded by positivity and encouragement, it becomes a lot easier to take on and conquer challenges in your business. In fact, if you have the support of a few key people, you may find that risk-taking is not quite as scary. And if you’re willing to take more risks, the psychological and financial benefits can be astounding.
How have you built your support system? How has it helped you create success?
Image credit: Sigurd Decroos
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