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5 Types of Support You Need As An Accidental Entrepreneur

Do you feel lonely, like you're on an island and the only person who's dealing with these entrepreneurship struggles? While the feeling is real, the good news is that you're not the only one. Every accidental entrepreneur has felt this way at some point. Plus there's one thing you can do to help this process overall and it's to find your support system.


 



**This was also a podcast episode (episode #222). If you'd like to listen to this conversation, use the link below.









 


Why Entrepreneurs Need A Support System

Especially as an accidental entrepreneur, it's easy to feel like you're all alone. You're most likely starting your business from your kitchen table and the only person helping you figure it all out is your BFF....Google.


You're Googling all.the.things, listening to all the podcasts, reading all the books and you're figuring it out one step at a time. This is fantastic by the way but it can lead to feeling like you're going on this journey 100% alone.


Another reason is accountability. Holding yourself accountable for getting things done or being consistent in your business is really difficult and that's an area your support system can help you. Before you're able to hire team members, your support system can be what helps you propel your business forward and make progress.


This is a topic I care a lot about as I've seen it make the biggest difference in my business and as a coach for accidental entrepreneurs, I've seen this with others as well. Because of my experience, I wrote an entire chapter in my book dedicated to helping you Find Your People.


Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success


EXCERPT FROM MY BOOK:

Why Not You?

An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success



Over the years of coaching entrepreneurs, I’ve heard these comments or something similar many times:

  • I feel like I’m on an island.

  • Why does it feel so hard sometimes?

  • I know I’m the only one who’s struggling with ——.

  • I feel confused with all the digital noise about what I should be doing.


Accidental Entrepreneurship can feel lonely because not only are you starting a business from scratch that many people in your life might not understand but you’re also going about it differently. Many resources for new entrepreneurs are focused on doing whatever it takes to make your business work, but as someone who is trying to build a business that integrates into your life instead of taking over it, you’re looking for a different path.


According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as reported by Fundera, approximately 20 percent of small businesses fail within the first year. By the end of the second year, 30 percent of businesses will have failed. By the end of the fifth year, about half will have failed. And by the end of the decade, only 30 percent of businesses will remain—a 70 percent failure rate (Carter 2021).

Seventy percent! I know I don’t want my, or your, business to fall into that category of a business that failed, so after reading this stat it’s natural to want to know “what do successful businesses have in common,” and that’s exactly where my research led me next.


Not to my surprise, the idea of finding people to support you was present in most lists I came across.


  • “Surround yourself with people you trust” (MasterClass 2021).

  • “Find a mentor” (Wynnberg 2020).


Whenever I share about finding support in your business, I often hear concerns about personality types (introvert/extrovert), preferences (in person/digital), or feeling competitive. Please know that connection to other entrepreneurs doesn’t have to look like a traditional networking event that you dread; it can be your version of connecting, and it actually lessens competition.


As part of your Y.O.U. Promise, you’ve identified why being an Accidental Entrepreneur is important to you, your values, your definition of success, and the boundaries that will help you get there. You didn’t think I would switch gears and tell you a cookie-cutter solution for connecting with others, did you?


No way. You get to do this your way my friend.


While I love to get together several times a year with my biz besties, book an Airbnb for a long weekend, and do business planning, you could do this differently. Maybe you enjoy a shared Google Doc where you share updates as you can and connect through words on a page. Or you start a private Facebook Group where you can ask questions and share wins.


The key is to know yourself and identify the ways you can connect with others that will support you in this journey of entrepreneurship. As you navigate the super rough, yet awesome, road of entrepreneurship, you’re going to need many different people: some throughout your entire journey and some you will only need for a season.


Here is the list of people that I suggest, and in each section I’ll share why you need this type of person, when you need them in your journey, and how to find them.

  • friends/family

  • mentors

  • coaches

  • therapists

  • biz besties


Friends & Family

Why you need them: You have these people in your corner for all the big things in your life, so they will be there for you in this part too. This doesn’t mean that every single family member or friend will support you along the way, but know who you can lean on for encouragement when you need it, advice when you need it, or just to lend a listening ear.


When you need them: You need them throughout the entire journey. Tell them early (like now) in your journey, and allow them to be the encouragement you need. These are the people that you will allow to see you cry and be at your worst, so you will want them throughout your entire journey.


How to find them: Their names are already popping into your mind as you read this. They are the first ones you call when you want to share something exciting. You won’t have to search for these people; they are built-in already. Whether it’s a single name or a list of people, it’s not quantity that matters, it’s quality.


Mentors

Why you need them: By my definition, mentors are people who inspire and/or teach you, and you need both these things as an Accidental Entrepreneur.


When you need them: These will also be with you throughout your entire entrepreneurship journey and will evolve over time. You might need someone to help you learn about getting set up as a business at first, but then a few years down the road you need help hiring people in your business. You will likely always have mentors, but they will change over time.


How to find them: You can find these people in many places (books, podcasts, groups, etc.). That person you met at the coworking space that shared insights with you over a shared lunch—that’s a mentor. The previous work colleague that took a look at your resume when you needed it—that’s a mentor.


Even more, some of my biggest mentors are those who don’t even know my name. People like Mel Robbins and Brené Brown are incredibly inspiring and educational to me, but they don’t know who I am. This is one that I think we get in our heads about and think, “I have to find a formal mentor,” but really, it’s often much more casual than that.


“Super mentors help solve significant problems in your life… Start with the problem. Find people who can help you. Make it easy for them to help you” (Koester 2022).


Coaches

Why you need them: These are more formal relationships you have with someone who is actively coaching you. This might mean you are paying them for a specific type of coaching (e.g., marketing coach) or it’s not paid but more formal in how you meet (e.g., monthly check-ins). While coaches certainly teach and advise you as you work together, the main reason many people hire a coach is for accountability in taking action in their business.


When you need them: Like mentors, coaches are wonderful to have throughout your entire journey; however, your needs will change throughout your journey. The key with this relationship is that you have found a person that you resonate with and have an agreement as to how they will help guide you in a particular stage of your business and what support they will provide to you.


How to find them: Do your research before hiring a coach. If possible, ask for recommendations from other Accidental Entrepreneurs you know. If that’s not possible, I recommend consuming content created by the coach (blog posts, videos, social media content, low-priced offerings) to get a feel for their coaching/teaching style.


Another option is to book a consultation call with the coach. Whether the call is paid or free, working with the coach for a short period of time (e.g., one hour) to understand how they show up for you as a coach before committing for a longer period of time is a good idea.


Therapists

Why you need them: I’m a big believer that everyone can benefit from therapy, and that extends to Accidental Entrepreneurship too. A therapist can help you navigate the tough times in life and business through conversation and helpful tools.


When you need them: Throughout your journey, but specifically if you’re experiencing many stressful things in your personal and business life, that is a good time to have a therapist.


How to find them: Asking trusted friends or family members for recommendations is a great place to start. However, if this doesn’t feel comfortable for you, an online search is a great tool. You can look locally if you prefer to meet with someone in person, or many options for online therapists are available.


Biz Besties

Why you need them: As I mentioned in my tech meltdown story, your biz besties will be the people you call on when you need support on the tough days in business. Whether it’s a tech issue, low sales, or an idea for something you want to offer, they are often the first line of defense. You may giggle when you read the title “biz bestie,” or maybe it resonates with you. If you love it, use it. If you hate it, choose different words because the title doesn’t matter; the people do.


Biz besties are people in your life that are also running businesses of their own, and they are willing to talk about the process, listen to you vent, celebrate with you, and help you problem solve, too. They become your friends over time but the thread that makes the biggest difference is that they are also running a business. If they aren’t doing this, they can still be your BFFs, but they aren’t “biz besties.”


When you need them: You need them throughout the entire journey yet these people will likely evolve over time in your business as these relationships take time to develop. These relationships are more likely to feel more settled a year or so into running your business although if it happens earlier, embrace it.


How to find them: The best mentality you can have with this process is to be the biz bestie you hope to find. Asking “how can I support you” is a great way to start as you begin connecting with people.


This is likely going to be the toughest group to find because it takes time. To find these people, you must be proactive in looking for other Accidental Entrepreneurs who are on a similar path as you. As you interact with others in online forums, group programs, memberships, or masterminds, see who you naturally connect with.


For example, if you’re attending an event (local or online) and someone asks a question that you also have, connect with that person. Walk up to them after the event or send them a direct message; introduce yourself and thank them for asking such a great question. They will be thrilled they weren’t the only one who was curious. Exchange contact information and then be proactive with connecting with them in the next few days.


Also, don’t underestimate the power of social media. Many of my biz bestie relationships started by connecting on social media. This can look like engaging with or sharing someone else’s content and then exchanging direct messages. What starts as a message can turn into a deep friendship one day.


This group of people is who I get the most questions about, so I wanted to share some additional notes:

  • A magic number of how many you need does not exist; it could be one person or several.

  • There is not a timeline for these relationships, but they do take time to develop.

  • Start with messages back and forth, graduate to a coffee chat in person or over video, then ask, “How can I support you,” then follow through with what you say you will do.

  • Don’t get discouraged if a connection doesn’t lead to a biz bestie friendship; they don’t all work out.

  • Avoid jumping into a partnership or collaboration on a project right away; start small.


You will eventually say, “I wouldn’t have the business I have today without them” about your biz besties, so it’s worth the time and energy to invest into finding them.


Book Image: Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success


Take Away Message / Action

Identify your support system because it's already started. While you might feel very alone and on the island of entrepreneurship where you know others are but don't know how to find them, there are people who are cheering you on right now.


My suggestion is to write down their names so you can actually see your support system on a piece of paper. It sounds silly but it's very effective.


Once you know who your current support system is, identify where your gaps are and where you'd like more support. Maybe you'd like to find a coach or maybe you want to focus on connecting with biz besties. Regardless, identify who you'd like to connect with and then make a plan to fill the gaps all the while knowing that you have support right now.


I can be and hopefully am a mentor of yours. As you write your list, I hope you write my name as a mentor as I am cheering you on 100%!


And please, don't forget to lean into the support you have as you look for more support. People often don't know you need support until you ask for it so make sure you ask for the support you need. They want to help you, I promise.


Until next time give yourself permission to use your support system and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon.



Resources Mentioned:



Ep. 222: 5 Types of Support All Entrepreneurs Need & How To Find Them

"These 5 groups of people are the ones who you will credit your business success and are invaluable to your motivation."


- Amanda McKinney









 


Unapologetically Chase Your Definition Of Success


Image of book: Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success

Why Not You my friend? You have a dream and a desire to build a business that integrates into your life instead of taking it over.


And it's time to make it happen!




If you'd like to explore this concept even more, my book Why Not You? An Accidental Entrepreneur's Guide To Success is waiting for you.


Finding your people is just one chapter but in the book we will explore many other things that help you create your Y.O.U. Promise that becomes your guide to unapologetically chasing success for you.





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