Now that you’ve hatched your groundbreaking idea and taken that exhilarating journey of launching your new business, you might find yourself, like so many of us, occasionally grappling with the solitude of being a solo entrepreneur. The struggle to stay motivated and navigate your path alone can be quite daunting. For female founders, finding “your people” can be a pivotal step, and it’s vital for both personal and professional growth. However, knowing how to build a team can be challenging. Here are some tips to help you find people who can help take you to the next level.
Know what you are looking for
When you begin your search for a like-minded founder, the first question you should ask yourself is, “What exactly am I searching for?” It’s okay not to have a specific answer, or only have a short list of requirements. Having a sense of what you aim to gain can guide you to the right people and places as you build your team.
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Here are some ideas to assist you in connecting with kindred spirits and building a team and a robust network:
- Start by exploring social media and engage with relevant groups. Participate in the discussions and gauge the level of interaction and support.
- If you’re active on platforms like LinkedIn, share your founder’s story and your interest in connecting with founders at a similar stage. Your entrepreneurial story, with its highs and lows, can inspire others and attract like-minded founders.
- Be patient. Building a network takes time and dedication. If social media doesn’t yield the desired results, consider attending local business events or joining meetup groups.
Tip: Reach out to fellow founders, even if you don’t know them well, and ask for suggestions. You’ll find that most founders are eager to share their knowledge, and may even help connect you with people who can help you build your team.
Know where to look
As you’re searching for your people, you’ll likely run across many options for connections and networking including local communities, business groups, co-working spaces, and various cohorts, masterminds, incubators, and accelerators.
Here’s a little glimpse into what each one of these may offer:
- Online communities and forums are excellent starting points. Platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook groups offer easy ways to join and explore various groups, making it easy to establish connections.
- Co-working spaces provide a low-pressure environment for interacting with fellow entrepreneurs. Most co-working spaces also host networking events and workshops.
- There are many entrepreneurial organizations exclusively for female founders. They frequently organize events, workshops, and cost-effective networking opportunities to help new founders explore their offerings.
- Numerous business incubators and accelerator programs cater specifically to female founders and offer valuable networking opportunities. Each program has its application process and unique commitments, some even provide funding.
Tip: Try to explore as many diverse options as you can. Remember, it’s not a race. The more you try, the better you’ll know your preferences, and eventually, you’ll find the people who can walk with you on your journey and help you make it to the next stage.
Know if you are compatible
After all of this, you will need to ask yourself the all-important question: “Are these truly my people?” Remember, both you and your business are continually evolving, so sometimes something that was right a few months ago, is no longer a good fit. Or, an opportunity may appear perfect on paper, but not in real life. What should you do then?
Here are some considerations:
- If you join a group, program, or incubator and realize it’s not a good fit, speak up right away. Most of these programs demand a significant time commitment, so it’s better to voice your concerns early rather than investing a lot of time and energy into something that doesn’t align with your goals.
- Be honest with yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, you don’t need a specific reason to move on.
- You may start out with a network of only female founders. But, it is equally important to be open to networking that includes a diverse group of entrepreneurs. Different perspectives and backgrounds can enrich your network.
Tip: Building your network is a valuable source of support, advice, and collaboration throughout your journey as a female entrepreneur. Remember, building your team and nurturing your network require time, effort, patience, and persistence. It’s not just about finding individuals who can assist you; it’s also about forging genuine and mutually beneficial relationships.
About the Author: Leeanna Gantt is the founder and CEO of tooktake dosage reminder labels, a company that originated from her own battle with breast cancer. With products now available in CVS and Walmart stores nationwide, she’s a testament to the journey from small-scale beginnings to national success.
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