Navigating Your Self-Employment Support Network

Being successfully self-employed does not mean you have to go at it alone! This is a common misconception that often prevents individuals from pursing a self-employment career path. In reality, one of the strongest assets a self-employed business owner can have is a support network.

When it comes to finding support for your small or self-employment business, there are a number options and resources you can turn to.  However, most start by looking close to home.

Family & Friends
Family, friends, and in some cases, fools are one of the strongest and most frequently relied on groups in an individual’s network. The reason why is because they often care deeply about your personal success, and are therefore willing to offer advice, service, and even money for little in return in order to help you achieve your business goals. If you have family or friends who have experience in graphic design, accounting, or other areas of business, don’t be afraid to ask for help. They can start you off on the right foot and teach you the skills you need to run your business. Though they may not ask for money, you should try to show your appreciation for their help in some way. Just watch out for the fools!

Local Businesses
Just outside your personal network is the professional network of other business owners in your area. More often than not, local businesses are happy to collaborate and work together. This may in part be due to some empathy and camaraderie towards their fellow business owners. However, they may also have a vested interest in your success, because it not only encourages a more diverse and stable local economy, but it opens up cross promotional opportunities. For example if you are a masseuse, a local yoga studio may display your business cards and brochures, and vice versa. Local business owners may also be able to give you sound advice on running your business.

Economic Development & Business Assistance
Another step outside your local business network is a much wider network of economic development and business assistance agencies. Many of these agencies offer free services ranging from business counseling to marketing services to financing. They are an excellent sources of information and resources cultivated specifically to help you and other new business owners succeed. This support network is one that individuals often underestimate or don’t even realize is available. You can find a list of many of the free assistance agencies serving your specific area in the Free Help Directory.

Being self-employed does not mean you are an island. Your support network can be much larger than you may have realized. Rely on these groups and individuals to help you create and maintain the business of your dreams.

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