It’s no secret that being self employed can be very solitary by nature. in the first few years of business You’re going to to be faced with long working hours, not a lot of disposable cash and a lot of time spent in loungewear, in a state not exactly fit for public consumption. If you’ve come straight from a traditional work or educational environment, it can seem particularly isolating if the only human interaction you’ve had all week is condescending looks from your postman. You may even find that the very nature of your work and the way you’ve chosen to live your life seems to be alienating those that once seemed so dear to you - some people just don’t understand the importance that cancelling dinner plans can have for your future when you’re self employed.
Which is why finding your ‘people’ - business friends, allies and confidants - early on is so important to ensuring it’s success. beyond business, it’s paramount to your well being. I truly believe that surrounding myself with positive, excitable, enthusiastic people in the last few years has completely transformed my own mindset. Some of the people I’m now closest to share the same beliefs, dreams and fears as me, and I’ve met them all because of my business.
Stuck with where to start meeting new people with the same interest as you? Here are ten ways to meet, befriend and stay friends with some seriously empowering babes;
- Don’t be shy, be the first to make contact. Admired someone’s work for like, ever? Drop them a friendly (but brief!) email telling them as such. Be cool, no-one’s going to want to be friends with a total fangirl. It just makes them feel awkward. Worst case scenario, you’ve just cheered up their day. Best case scenario, they feel the same about your work too! I’m sure you’ll hit it off in an instant.
- Get out from your office and go for a walk. Hit the art district or a coffee shop and people watch. Make conversation! Be available for interaction - don’t stay head down on your phone the whole time.
- Attend networking events and parties specific for your industry - there are a plethora of meet ups, tweet ups and mixers around that are a far cry from the traditional networking event. Yes getting out of your pyjamas and into the real world is scary and annoying but how are you going to meet people sat behind your computer all day?
- Don’t discount workshops or promotional events as good networking opportunities either. I’ve met some of my best business babes through attending wedding fairs that are designed to sell our product to our customers.
- Are the networking events around you just a little lacklustre? Make your own! Invite all the people you talk to online to a bar that’s in a central location to everyone. Do it during a traditional down—time for your business sector. Throw in a little free booze if possible. You could make awesome connections and encourage others to do the same, too!
- Be memorable and nice. Follow up with the person you had a really good conversation with at an event. Send a thank you card to the person who gave you a bunch of advice over email. Worm your way into those people’s subconsciousness!
- Be loyal. Don’t rip off other people full stop, but especially not your friends!
- Be outwardly supportive. Share the love when your BFF launches a new product. Be a shoulder to lean on if your friend is having a bad day and needs to rant.
- Don’t stand for shit. Some people will just be out to use you. Invest in people who are willing to invest in you, too.
- Have morals. I don’t care “well it’s just business”, if it feels shitty, it is shitty. I’d rather have morals than an extra few pounds in my pocket from doing something against my moral compass.