One of the best parts about becoming a business owner is the “freedom”. We take the leap of faith with dreams of flexible work schedules, executive decisions, self-dictated income and freedom from the shackles of reporting for duty at someone else’s beck and call. The only thing we think we’ll miss is the steady paycheck and the group health insurance. But what many will find after a period of time is that the days are typically longer, pay is lower, less steady and freedom has its price. This is normal when you’re a start-up.
What many of us don’t anticipate is how little we appreciated the interaction with peers – the sense of community that comes with being a member of something bigger with other people. Sole-ownership can lead to the sense of living on an island and as humans and specifically women, we are inherently social beings. Business ownership can be counter-intuitive to what makes us feel connected.
So where should you begin to find your tribe? As business owners, we’re chiefs of our own tribes, to find a group to belong to is the exact opposite of business ownership. But as members of a community, it’s critical that we play both leader in our own domains as well as team player in the big community sandbox. As a woman does it make more sense to join a local chamber of commerce or a women’s business organization? What about the multiple women’s networking or peer groups? The options for women are endless and every day there’s a new group of women, matrons, mavens, ladies, broads, you name it – they’re out there.
So how do you know where you belong? The good news is – everyone wants you. The bad news is, it’ll take a little test driving to figure out who’s the right fit for you.
As the CEO of the largest membership based women’s business trade organization in Los Angeles, I like to believe that we meet the most needs and offer the best value proposition. I suggest asking the following questions of you and of the potential tribe of choice: