When you are leaving the haven of a large corporation after more than a decade to become your own business, the world is not like it was before.
You feel free. No politics. No never-ending meeting cascades. No more email overflow. Yet you are on your own. You no longer have the valuable exchange with your internal corporate peers. This especially hurts when your business is only slowly picking up or you face times of low sales.
You learned in the corporate world that you can do anything, so you do. By yourself. Nobody else to be asked. You’re the boss.
You hear many of your former colleagues talk about how they’d love to do something on their own. Yet they don’t know what. In fact, they fear to take the step. And stay in the cozy herd. When visiting them you feel you are no longer a part. Life goes on.
Many freelancers or small founders may be so successful and/or busy that they never feel or see the above. If that is not the case for you, there is an easy and rewarding solution to the above issues. An ancient one. Almost forgotten in nowadays busy world: The power of network.
We as humans love to help others. We support charities. We watch our neighbors’ cats when she is away. We give advice. All for free without the expectation to get anything back. Our greatest reward is to help somebody else advance. That creates a network that will pay back in the long term. In unexpected and often surprising ways.
A couple of fellow ex corporate guys now on their own formed a loose circle some three years ago. We came from different functions and backgrounds. We met for a day and shared what we do and what our issues are. That was good and insightful. The year after we met again. This time we went further and deeper. We understood each other better. And started to recommend each other to our existing clients in need of expertise oneself didn’t have. In the third year the thing was rolling. Collaboration within the network rose and rose.
Still all of us did business on our own. But now we felt to be part of something bigger. We helped each other with ideas. We shared potential new leads. We did projects together. And so on. Always with the thought to make each other progress versus only generating more business for oneself.
We just met again and had an external guest. The inspirational Simon Massey from The Gild. He opened our eyes to what we already felt was good for us — for our business and us as humans: NETWORKS.
KUDOS to my dear fellow networkers Christine Berges, Gerlinde Kühr, Andrew Hammett and many others!