Where do you go for support when it comes to your career?
I was just at my food co-op and spent the majority of my time there talking to a fellow cashier. Since it was the middle of the day on a Wednesday, there were not many customers. After some small talk, we got into talking about books and what we do for a living. I am working on being a better listener and taking opportunities to talk to people I do not know.
This is a great exercise for me in networking and I almost always find incredibly interesting stories in people. The guy I talked to today has a dream to own a book store. We discussed technology that is replacing books, big corporate bookstores likes Barnes & Noble, what kind of books he would sell and the local book store in our neighborhood. I love this kind of talk. My head races with ideas. I wanted this guy to start that very day on planning for his store.
It is easy, as an outsider, to say, “what are you waiting for?” I want to take him under my wing and give him all of the advice I eventually learned and be there to motivate him when he is feeling overwhelmed. I have read a few books about entrepreneurs and how businesses get started. The underlying theme in every one is that the difference between successful entrepreneurs and everyone else is that they do it. They execute those strokes of genius that most people forget about or dismiss for one reason or another. One point I read in a book stayed with me. The author simply said that it’s not easy to be an entrepreneur.
You are doing something that has never been done before. There is no paved road ahead, hence why you are an entrepreneur and not purchasing a franchise. People will always have a reason why something will not work. I often find that these reasons come from parents. I think it is their overly cautious need to protect you coming out. It is only natural not to see the success behind something that does not exist yet, but it is an entrepreneur’s job to look past the negativity and focus on the goal.
While talking to the book store guy, Mike walked in. Mike owns his own business making and selling seitan. He lives a block from my parents, it turns out, and is always up for talking about what’s going on with his business. I think Mike really needs a business support group. It is obvious that he is over worked, extremely stressed, and needs to talk about this with other people that understand him.
Today, he was especially stressed because his major buyer cancelled their order. This supermarket decided to start making the product themselves. However, they are not advertising that they are now making it under their name with a different company or that it is no longer bought from a local, small business. Not only is this an awful story, but one, as someone who works in the advertising industry, I feel like I could help out with. Who can I tell this story to? He could turn this around into good press for him. It is the typical David & Goliath story.
My co-op work shift proved to me that asking a few questions and really listening to people can bring about interesting conversations and that networking events are not the only times you can meet fellow small business owners. Everyone has a story and a dream for the future, and most are not making that dream happen. I suppose the underlying theme to this post is similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous.
We all just need some kind of support from others that is free from judgment. We need positive reinforcement, honest feedback, motivation, and people who want to see us succeed. And then we need to sit down, shut up, listen to someone else’s story and be the support that they need. Who’s in it with me?
Learn more about the author, Laryssa Kwoczak.
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