Something we don’t often talk about as small business owners is how lonely being a small business owner can be. For small business owners, particularly those who work from home, or those whose businesses are Internet-based, the day-to-day operations of our businesses can lead to hours spent in one space, behind a computer, with few opportunities for personal connections.
Personally, I have spent nearly 8 years working from home. Transparently, I’ve consistently struggled with how lonely being an online small business owner can be — especially because I believe we, as people, designed for friendships, relationships, and community. No matter who you are or what type of small business you run, having a sense of belonging can make a meaningful difference.
Today, I want to talk about 3 important relationships I believe small business owners should foster not only for personal and professional growth — but also for better work-life balance and well-being.
3 Important Relationships for Small Business Owners to Foster
Welcome to Episode 120 of The Brand It, Build It Podcast! This episode is the final episode of Season 3 of Brand It, Build It. In Season 4, we’ll be introducing podcast guests, so if you haven’t yet done so, please fill out the application on our website’s Podcast page, to be considered as a guest for Brand It, Build It. Since 2020, our podcast has reached tens of thousands of listeners, and has consistently charted on iTunes’ Marketing charts worldwide. So, if you’d like to reach a new audience, share about your business, or simply chat with me about your expertise, please be sure to complete our podcast guest application on our website’s Podcast page.
For small business owners, particularly those who work from home, or those whose businesses are Internet-based, fostering personal connections can be challenging. When compared to working within an office setting and having a few or many co-workers to connect with, small business ownership or solo business ownership can be lonely.
For me, personally, working from home since 2014 has caused me to change the way I go about just about everything — from how I foster work-life balance (Something we talk about in Episode 109) to the boundaries I have created (From Episode 115). Being a work-from-home business owner can mean changing your approach to wellness, work-life-balance, goal-setting, time management, and so much more.
So, it’s no surprise we need to think creatively when it comes to fostering relationships and creating and maintaining a sense of community and belonging as work-from-home small business owners, too. Today, I’d like to share 3 important relationships I believe small business owners should foster. Of course, all relationships can be valuable for unique reasons, but if you’re starting from scratch as a work-from-home business owner, or if you’ve recently moved to a new city — these 3 types of relationships can be a great starting place. As one more disclaimer, though today’s episode focuses on why these relationships and friendships are important for you, please know I believe relationships and friendships should be collaborative and provide value to both people.
- A non-small business owner. When we, as small business owners, are so engaged with our work, it’s essential to think beyond our businesses — to discuss topics about anything except for business. Having a friendship or relationship with a non-small business owner can allow you to take a break from discussing small business — or to have a sounding board in someone who thinks differently than small business owners do. This outside perspective can be both a source of peace, because you aren’t inclined to discuss business — or it can be a source of inspiration, because you can discuss your business with someone who has a fresh, outside perspective. Either way, having someone in your life who isn’t a small business owner can be valuable.
- A fellow business owner. My friend Tarah of Tarah Elise Photography is one of my best fellow business owner friends. While I run a brand and web design business, Tarah is a photographer. Some areas of our businesses overlap, like the foundational to-dos that make up many small businesses, while the services we offer differ. I’ve always been more of a systematic person, while Tarah has always been a true creative. I look up to her for so many reasons, one of them being her willingness to try new things — to challenge herself, to think creatively, and to try something new, simply because it’s interesting or exciting. In the hustle and bustle of being a small business owner, it’s easy to become immersed in the day-to-day needs of your business… but Tarah’s friendship and our conversations always remind me that there is more to business than systems and workflows, and that there is more to life than doing what you’ve always done. So, having a fellow business owner friend can make all the difference in how you approach your business. You can glean new perspectives, get advice from someone who is familiar with your field, and experience a renewed sense of purpose or inspiration.
- An encourager and supporter. Beyond a non-small business owner and a fellow small business owner, I think it’s also essential to have a relationship or friendship with someone who encourages and supports your journey as a small business owner… someone who, rather than giving advice or offering a solution will simply listen, empathize, and understand. When we, as business owners, make so many small decisions each and every day, having someone who simply recognizes your efforts and says you’re doing a good job can be really meaningful. If you’re like me, you’ve been through seasons of riding a business rollercoaster — feeling positively about yourself when things are going well, and feeling negatively about yourself when things aren’t going so well. But having an encourager and supporter you can confide in can mean reminding yourself of the value you have outside of being a business owner — and instead as the person you simply are.
So, where do you begin when it comes to meeting people and making these connections? Co-working spaces, coffee shops, community events, and conferences are just a few places to begin. Many co-working spaces offer a free day pass or a free week of co-working, and many communities offer local events for small business owners. Challenge yourself to connect with just new one person a month, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, one new person per week. When you do, you can form meaningful and lasting relationships and better understand the ways you can make a difference not only as a small business owner, but simply by being who you are.
As a reminder: This episode is the final episode of Season 3 of Brand It, Build It. In Season 4, we’ll be introducing podcast guests, so if you haven’t yet done so, please fill out the application on our website’s Podcast page, to be considered as a guest for Brand It, Build It. Since 2020, our podcast has reached tens of thousands of listeners, and has consistently charted on iTunes’ Marketing charts worldwide. So, if you’d like to reach a new audience, share about your business, or simply chat with me about your expertise, please be sure to complete our podcast guest application on our website’s Podcast page.
Thank you so much for tuning in!