After starting my own business, I surprisingly learned that the world of entrepreneurship is open, inviting and endlessly supportive. I remember women not only jumping in to help answer questions and guide me along my way, but genuinely caring for me and my future success. Coming from the cold world of corporate, I couldn’t believe how willing these people (some perfect strangers) were to take time out of their busy lives to invest in my dream.
Some of these people I met in the unlikeliest of ways. For example, I met one woman while shopping in a thrift store. That next week, we met up for coffee and she walked me through key taxing and documenting processes. Another woman I met while at the beach. I was admiring her golden retriever when, in conversation, I learned she was the VP of her own marketing firm. That was a year before I became self-employed, and she ended up introducing me to my first big client. That woman turned out to be an independent content marketer like myself, only she had been in business for much longer than I. She was gracious enough to meet with me so that I could pick her brain about best practices.
In many ways, my success has been driven by the kindness and generosity of others. Of people who took the time to mentor me when they didn’t have to, perhaps even when they didn’t want to. Now, two years into my own business, I’m receiving messages from women who are looking to do what I do. Who want to work for themselves, become better leaders, and achieve their dreams.
And you know what? I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a very small part of me that wanted to ignore them. While I was equally thrilled and honored that they thought enough of me and my business to reach out, part of me immediately thought, “I’m so strapped for time, I don’t know if I can speak with these women.”
How painfully ironic! I hesitated to mentor because of a lack of time due to the success I enjoy from others taking time for me.
This thought was of course fleeting, and I set aside time to help. For one woman, this included sending a template of my rate sheet to help shape hers. For another, sharing insights on time management and the day-to-day realities of self-employment. For another, advising on how to keep a steady flow of clients. It felt so incredible to come full circle; to pay back what I had so generously been given years ago. And to my surprise, I got more than a sense of fulfillment. I established a partnership with one woman to be featured on her blog and to have her contribute to mine. Pretty awesome stuff.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is this: while the world of entrepreneurship is pleasantly supportive and motivating, this isn’t the only place that should be. In our everyday lives, we have the opportunity to do this good work for others. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true: every interaction can start a chain reaction. This helps us live out an important purpose and embrace an entire new form of success.
Be aware. Make time. Invest. Repeat.
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Allison is a Freelance Content Marketer and Author of “The Everyday Woman’s Guide to Entrepreneurship.” She helps disruptive brands drive extraordinary outcomes as a writer extraordinaire, and in her spare time consults female entrepreneurs as a personal brand strategist. She loves helping women discover their innermost power and confidence, which is what she believes to be the most effective drivers of sustainable change and long-term success.