A couple of years ago when Jenni and I (a couple of marketers setting up a business for the first time) were starting up Prim’d Marketing we found ourselves constantly asking “how do other business owners do this?” We started by attending a local business course and referring to Google to find the answers to many operational, legal and financial questions but it started to feel isolating in uncharted waters. We soon realized we needed to find a community of people in a similar situation to us that we could turn to for supportive advice, resources and just a friendly ear. Over the years we have gradually found (and still finding) “our people” or “our tribe” which is incredibly important to entrepreneurs particularly women. Did you know that research shows that a high social connection is not only good for business but good for your health. With that in mind here are a couple of suggestions to cultivate your social connections and grow as a business owner:
The Data Speaks Volumes
I recently learnt how the data tells a staggering story to this subject of social connection through Monika Szamko, the co-founder of the Woven community. Woven’s mission is “to connect women so they can lift each other up”. In their recent newsletter Monika explains how Emma Seppala, the Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism has found that:
People with high social connection have a “50% increased chance of longevity, lower rates of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem” among many other benefits. Not feeling connected (in other words “low social connection”) is “worse for your health than smoking, high blood pressure or obesity”. In our digitally over-connected world many of us feel lonely and alienated. Seppala cites research from 2004 that found that 25% of Americans have no one to share a personal problem with.
The need to share your problems and daily work challenges with others inside or outside your work is a fundamental human need and crucial for those in transition such as starting or scaling a business.
Woven launched in 2015 and they have women meeting, connecting and supporting each other all over the Bay area and beyond. Their idea is taking off because of their quest to create a community of women who are healthier and bolder together. You can join them for Woven World happening in San Francisco on March 5th - 6th.
A Mastermind With A Difference
Running a business alongside running a household with young children brings another dynamic to an entrepreneur’s lifestyle that can require extra support from other people in the same boat. I started to feel a need for this about six months ago. As children bring with them a set of deadlines outside work that include drops offs, pickups, mealtimes, bedtime etc that have to be met. But these daily commitments make working continuously on a task to get it done extremely challenging.
Business strategist Megan Flatt understands this struggle and knew that she wanted to find a flexible vocation in the middle of being a full time working mom and being a full time stay-at-home mom. Megan Flatt created the Mama CEO Club which is a community of mothers running their own businesses. It includes a Facebook group, and a mentorship program in the form of two mastermind groups a year. I just wrapped the last Mastermind group at the end of January and found it very rewarding to have the opportunity to be part of regular coaching sessions with an inspiring group of women organised by a dynamic leader. Megan’s next Mama CEO Mastermind group has just opened for national enrollment and will be kicking off on February 22nd.
Connect While You Get Inspired
If you don’t run your own business and just want to get inspired by great motivational or educational speakers in a social setting with other like-minded women. The Bay Area based Speak To Me Events run by Jenny Posta Terry, Tracy Barsotti and Christina Forte are inspired by and designed for women. Speak To Me’s mission is:
To inform, inspire and connect women in our community around important, relevant topics and empower them to make a difference in the world around them. We believe the more informed, connected and inspired we are as women, the better we feel and the stronger our families, schools, businesses and communities become.
I have attended their ‘lunch and learn’ series in the past and recently attended 'Savor Your Success' their speaker evening series with entrepreneur and Women’s Success advocate Angela Jia Kim Angela. The event was motivational and fun that featured wine tasting and great food from local vendors.
There are so many other ways to nurture social connection with other female business owners which I will be talking about more on this blog. One of my favorites is podcasts which I talk about in The Rise Of Podcasts For Female Entrepreneurs. The insights we get from other women sharing topics that we talk and think about everyday makes the small business world a bit smaller.
How do you cultivate your social connection and pack of people?
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