Do you ever feel lonely?

I sure as hell do.

As an entrepreneur working from home I have experienced loneliness on many occasions. Isolation plays a big part in how we conduct our business. We think we are building relationships because we speak to so many people online every day. But how deep are those relationships? You may have a load of followers but how many of them can you class as true and loyal friends and colleagues?

At the end of last year I made a promise to myself that 2018 would be different. So I set myself a goal to make 2018 ALL about community, in everything I do.

We are now in the second quarter of the year and I’m chuffed to say that I’m achieving my goal.

If you can relate to the loneliness please know that it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s why I’m sharing 8 ways that you can build a community round your business.

Find a local co working space

As I type this I’m sat in an awesome space at Platf9rm in Hove. I’ve only been here a few hours and I’ve already made some awesome friends, learnt a bucket load and am taking some conversations forward to talk about business. Finding a coworking space near you is the best way to get your work done whilst being around people who get what you are doing. It’s lovely to have breaks from work and a little chin wag too.

Meet up with like minded biz bods in your area

You aren’t the only entrepreneur in your town. So if you meet someone from your town in a Facebook group, why not suggest a meetup face to face? It’s been one of the hardest things for me to do given my limited time (I work 2.5 days a week) but I’m now trying to meet up with as many local people as possible wherever I can and It’s just wonderful when it happens. If you haven’t met anyone in your home town yet you can arrange a free meetup group through meetup.com. It’s a fantastic way to gather a group of like minded peeps together.

Run a workshop

When I went through a period of acute anxiety I didn’t want to go out and face anyone. The thought of standing up in front of a room full of people made me feel physically sick. I thought my speaking career had gone down the pan. The only way I knew how to try and get in front of people was to organise a workshop for just a few. I figured that if I could do that face to face then maybe I might get the courage up to do more again. So the first workshop I ran had 3 people on it. But it was the best thing I could have done, as from there I was asked to run another one, then give a talk to a small group of people. My confidence started building and I was able to get in front of people and I felt the huge fear start to slowly subside. Running a workshop is the best method to showcase your skills in a practical and effective way. It can be set up with little or no cost, All you need is a room!

Deliver a talk

I remember the feeling after delivering my TEDx talk, as I hadn’t ever experienced it before. So many people came up to me straight after the event. Men and women of all ages wanting to thank me, asking me how they could stay connected in some way. I had a huge influx of members into my group, so many people contacting me through social media. I have gone on to build some fantastic relationships with people since doing that talk, and many others. Speaking is THE best way to build a community because people immediately trust and connect with you. That’s why there is an open mic session at Entrepreneurial Leaders Live – you get to take the mic (if you choose to) and instantly connect with people in the audience. It’s a fab way to build a community.

Attend a live event

It was halfway through last year when I started to get out from behind my computer and attend live events. It was the best thing ever. Not only have I learnt a bucket load from every event I have attended, I have connected with key influencers, landed speaking gigs, signed clients there and then and increased my following too. Live events are a great way to build and strengthen relationships with people that become part of your community. It’s another reason why 2018 is the year that I am putting on my first live event. I also wanted EL live to be the place where community happens. Where people foster deep connections, learn and are inspired to take action.

Use online communities to leverage your relationships

The power of face to face connection is second to none. But there is a place for digital communities too. I see social media as the platform to foster, continue and leverage relationships. To multiply the power of them for everyone’s benefit. It’s why I have a free Facebook community (The Courageous Leaders Club) of amazing people who want to be there and who are making friends and doing business with each other. When you buy a ticket for EL live you will get immediate access to a private facebook community where all the speakers and attendees are building relationships with each other ahead of the event. The group will stay open long after the event too, so you can continue on the connections.

I’m glad that community is my word for 2018. It’s been a powerful force that has guided all my projects and the results speak for themselves. How do you currently build a community round your business? I’d love to know.

Early bird ticket sales for Entrepreneurial Leaders Live end 30th April at midnight. Book your ticket here http://helenpackham.com/entrepreneurial-leaders-live/ You can take advantage of a 10% discount using the code ‘Emailloyalty’

Much love

Helen x

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