In a previous life I was a recruiter, working for myself. I was a headhunter who located candidates for my clients’ information technology openings. I worked alone, and my outside contacts were the candidates whom I contacted, the clients to whom I marketed my services, and anyone else with whom I interfaced during business.
I did not have any employees, nor did I have a boss to whom I reported. My motto was “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” My company operated for 10 years, going through ups and downs. I went through lots of times of worry and stress, and I learned a lot from my experience, both the good and the bad.
Fortunately, I had a friend who mentored me during the start of my company and during its operation. He guided me, advised me, and listened to me. He had experience in the industry and shared what he knew with me. We shared contacts, candidates, and practices. He taught me so much, both about the industry and about operating alone.
One of the problems for solo operators is the loneliness. You live your business, and that fact can weigh heavily on you. You must have a life outside of your business. You must get out of your office and interface with other people besides your clients, and in my case, my candidates. There is another world, maybe a family life, which you need to embrace and enjoy. You must stop and smell the roses frequently.
You must also look for, and ask for, help from other people, some of whom should be outside your industry. We have discussed the importance of networking partners and their ability to help you improve your life, both business and personal. You must build this type of network with people that share your business and with those who are in other industries.
Your networking partners should be the type of people who will give you advice before your request it. Also, you must be the type of person who is not afraid, or too shy, to ask for help when you need it. You may not know what type of advice you need or where to get it. You should check your ego and ask someone. Maybe you ask another person for help; maybe you ask someone to connect you with someone else.
Can you overcome your shyness to ask for help? What if you don’t know someone that you believe can help you in your industry? Then you ask someone what they believe you should do, or ask someone whom you should contact. Your networking partners may not have the answers that you need, but they may have their network which may include someone to whom they can refer you.
As business owners/operators we must take care of ourselves. The needs of operating a business can be exhilarating, and they can be difficult to carry alone. You must enjoy yourself and the success that you find. Maybe someone else can help you or maybe they cannot, but you need to ask and then see what happens.
Our networking partners should provide us with the sources that can help us in times of need. Reach out and ask for help, and when someone comes to you, try to help them. Remember to give to others, accept their assistance for yourself, and then repeat the process. Please leave me your comments here, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com. Overcome your shyness and work with your network.