Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In this week's journal entry, I want to talk a little about the small business world. If you want to start a business someday or already have, there is something to be careful about in the early stages. I wish someone had warned me about this before I started my business.
When you start a small business, you'll naturally begin to meet other small business owners. For example, if you're selling a product, you're going to do a few pop-up shops, fairs, and markets to see if they work well for your business. You'll meet a few business owners there and they'll tell you about a small business conference or meeting next week. You'll go and meet more business owners there, and on and on your networking will go. New start-up owners typically go to these types of events, as opposed to more established small business owners. On the one hand, this is a great thing! Especially if you are like me. I had recently quit my lawyer job and I was feeling really disconnected to my friends still working as attorneys. I couldn't stand how much they complained about work since I was no longer in that world (side note: I no longer keep in touch with most of those people. I have written about this before but expect your friendships to change in some ways). Anyways, it was nice to meet like-minded people who were pursuing a similar path.
But, on the other hand, I found the small business start-up community to be a bit draining. I heard a lot of complaints about "how hard it is to be a new business" and "how difficult small business ownership is", etc. A year or two into my business ownership journey, I separated myself from these types of meetings, organizations, etc. I realized that this environment was actually dragging me down more than it was pulling me up. It seemed like more time was spent griping over the difficulties of small business life rather than building community, sharing strategies, or solving common problems. In its place, I decided to make more of the online groups and resources that were working for me. I found it easier online to weed out these draining "complaining" groups from the helpful ones - maybe because it wasn't as much of a time commitment. I didn't need to get dressed and go to a meeting or networking event. Naturally, this means that I have small business friends all over the country and I can't necessarily grab a coffee with them, but hey that's ok - especially in this day and age.
I tell you all this because mindset is EVERYTHING in the beginning stages of starting a business. It is so incredibly easy to doubt yourself, your ideas, and even your entire life's trajectory because what you're embarking on is HARD. If it were easy, every person would be doing it. You must, must, must protect your mindset from complainers who whine about the difficulties of small business ownership. If you choose to see small business ownership as difficult, it will be difficult. If you choose to small business ownership as an exciting challenge, it will be just that. You cannot afford to waste time surrounding yourself with people who are going to contribute anxiety, fear, and doubt to your mindset. If this means that you feel a little bit like a "loner" in the beginning, that is ok. It'll keep you mentally on track and that's where you need to be to succeed.
So, in conclusion, I'm not saying to avoid these groups and meetups and conferences all together. All I'm saying is to keep your guard up. If you sense someone wants an ear to complain to, keep your distance. Humans are funny - misery loves company! But that's company you don't need in your life.
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