Be the Change in Your Business You Want to See

Dear Jasmine, as a new business owner it's been really hard for me to break through the market and get myself noticed. I know a lot of entrepreneurs have family and friends that help them through recommendations, portfolio building, etc. but I don't really have that kind of support so I'm really starting out at the very bottom trying to break into the market. Also I live in a small town and there isn’t support for new business owners. We have no groups that meet up or networking events or anything like that here.

How do you always stay so positive with your work when you're having a bad day? How do you always find something to blog about? Do you ever just have a boring day and don't know what to do? How do you stay so positive when you feel all alone?


Starting from the Bottom


Dear Starting from the Bottom,

I feel like I could’ve written this exact letter 10 years ago.  I didn’t live in a small town, but my resources were so limited I could’ve lived on a remote island and fared the same.  I know bad days.  I know loneliness.  I know the frustration of not having people who speak the same language you do.  But I had two options:  wallow in pity or be the change I wanted to see.

I started out small.  I invited a few fellow business owners out for lunch (three people, to be precise).  We all had photography studios, so we connected in a helpful way, sharing tips and resources.  Shortly thereafter, I started blogging about my business and soon enough, I connected with people in my community who ached for real opportunities to network.

So I did this random thing: I hosted a free event for people to network with each other.  I rented my neighborhood clubhouse, bought generic sodas, and my husband and I set up chairs.  At the start of the event, 200 people crowded the room.

I stood nervously and thanked everyone for attending and explained I simply wanted to fill a void.  I wasn’t qualified, I wasn’t eloquent, and I wasn’t ready, but I did it.  What sprouted from that first event was a year-long commitment to hosting events for people to connect.

So why am I telling you this?  Well, Starting, you need to be the change.  If you feel alone, you need to reach out.  If you want to be positive, you need to surround yourself with positivity.  

Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Plan a coffee meet up at a local shop

Host a volunteer event and invite likeminded entrepreneurs

Create a resource swapping event where entrepreneurs can share their price lists, contracts, and marketing tips (this isn’t to copy, but simply to strengthen everyone’s individual efforts)

Host a Wine-n-Friend mixer where admittance is a bottle of wine and a friend in tow.

Plan a playdate for entrepreneurs with kids

Plan a playdate for pets

Basically, give yourself a reason to be the change you want to see in your town.  It may just start with 1-2 people, but revolutions often begin with one person willing to take a risk and dare to start something for the future.

Fortune Favors the Bold,