Starting a business is an exhilarating and magical time. It can also be terribly isolating and lonely.
Scene 1: You get THE email you’ve been waiting for. A client wants to hire you and you just can’t believe how excited you are. You look around to share your good news…and while your cat or dog get excited, it’s probably more because they think you are going to give them a treat.
Scene 2: You have a really hard conversation with a vendor and you need to check some of your feelings about it. But your mom and your best friend are at their “normal” 9-5 and can’t take calls. Your kids get home from school and then it’s all about them, and you never really get to talk through what happened.
Scene 3: Your published in a big online platform and you’re dying to celebrate. But again, your houseplants and pets aren’t quite sure what the hell you are talking about. You do a happy dance and get back to work, not feeling quite satisfied in your celebration.
Can you relate? I’m sorry if you can, but I want to offer you an interesting solution: join a Facebook group!
A Facebook group can be a private place where you can share your ups and downs of starting a business. It can be a place filled with other people that are struggling and looking for answers, too. It can also be where you might just find a new business friend.
I know, I know….you’ve probably been in a Facebook group before and found it…either lacking or totally annoying. Maybe you’ve just been in the wrong group! Unfortunately, you often times have to actually join the group to find out…but it’s easy to click ‘unjoin” at any time.
If you are serious about finding a group of like-minded supportive people, then I’d like to offer the following ideas for how to find a group that fits you:
- First decide what your goals are for a group. If you are looking to sell your products or services, then you’ll want to find that type of a group. However, if this is what you are looking for then this is what you’ll get–a whole bunch of spammy sales posts in your face where most of them tell you that you are lacking something they can provide! For free! For a limited time!
- Are the rules posted in the description or in a pinned post? I like groups where the expectations are really, really clear. Rules and boundaries help us understand what we can bump up against without getting in trouble. Even though most entrepreneurs and business owners like to push the boundaries, they are important and helpful to keep a group focused.
- Is the host/hostess of the group present every day (at least a few times a day) and posting helpful things? Are they connecting people? Are they responding to other member’s posts? I run a group and I can tell you, to do it right, it takes a lot of attention and energy.
- Is the group small enough so you can actually get to know people? I think our tendency is to join a larger group thinking there will be more people to connect with, but really, I’ve found, my posts just get lost in all the noise. I think a good size group is anywhere from 200-1000 members.
- Does the host/hostess enforce the rules behind the scenes? There is nothing more uncomfortable than seeing posts that yell the rules at someone. I like groups where ugly, spammy posts just disappear and no one has to feel weird about it.
- Does the host/hostess sell to you every day but not let others sell? This creates a really weird vibe in a group. I’ve seen it happen many times when a group reaches a certain tipping point, the hostess disappears and only reappears to talk about what they have to sell.
- Does the host/hostess’s values match your own? If you don’t like sleazy marketing tactics, and the host/hostess of a group uses them…you probably should leave. What I’ve found is that the hostess tends to attract their same energy. If they use “I made $1 Gazzillion Dollars in 15 Minutes” type of a marketing strategy, then they will attract others that either fall for that, or think it’s the way they need to act. As you can tell from this post and others, I’m not a big fan of this type of marketing tactic, so I leave any group where I see the hostess using it.
- Are other members actually helpful or do they answer your requests for help with “I provide that, I’ll PM you and we can talk about it!” What I mean here is do other members try to get to know you and build a relationship or do are they selling to you the minute you ask for help?
- Are there nice people in the group? I know it’s just a photo and words on a screen, but you can totally tell if people are nice or not. Trust your gut. It works on the internet, too!
- What energy do you want to bring to the group? There are various roles that people take on…in some groups, there are:
- The police. they always want to enforce the rules and report any misbehavior to the host/hostess immediately.
- The cheerleader. They always are ready with an “Atta girl!” and “Congratulations!! You totally deserve it!” comment.
- The know-it-all. They post on your comment and then don’t stop commenting until you agree that they are right about whatever it is they believe.
- The Helpful Henrietta. They are always willing to give you a minute of their time and comment on your post with something helpful.
Knowing what your role is in a group can be really important and, if you decide that you really like a group’s dynamics, understanding what you can bring to the group helps you make sure to create value for yourself and your business.
- Most importantly, are people authentic in the group? Do they behave in a way that aligns with how you like people to behave in real life? Do they tell their stories of good AND bad? Do they share when things suck, not just when things are good?
Finding groups like this can be challenging. Let’s not even get into some of the dynamics that women can have with one another (although that gives me a really good idea for another post!). But you can find a group for what you need, I promise. You might even find a new Business Best Friend while you’re looking!
And how might you find a new business best friend? Do what you would normally do in real time…reach out via a private message (our version of picking up the phone!). Check in with someone that you think is really cool and has great ideas and helpful tips. Thank people in a private message for helping you. Offer to help edit something or be the first to give someone a congratulations. We all just want to connect and to be able to be our best selves, and if you come from a place of authenticity and being really genuine…people will see that and be attracted to you and want to be your friend. But just like your other friends don’t want to get a sales pitch at every wine or coffee meet-up, your new business best friends don’t want that either! Just remember that sales are built on relationships, not frequency of the pitch.
Facebook groups are really great for finding like minded people and the best part is that you actually get to see how they interact with others before you reach out to them. I highly recommend joining a few and trying it out.
And if you’d like to check out my group, where I try to follow my own rules, then click HERE to join.
You are welcome to come in and look around and see if it fits your style, values, and needs. Let me know how I can be of assistance!