The support system: building a network of fellow entrepreneurial parents and mentors

As an entrepreneurial parent, you are no stranger to the unique challenges of balancing the demands of running a business and raising a family. One of the most effective ways to navigate these challenges is by building a robust support system of fellow entrepreneurial parents and mentors. Having a strong network can provide valuable advice, encouragement, and resources, helping you to thrive both professionally and personally. Building a support system is crucial for entrepreneurial parents, as it can offer numerous benefits, including:

  1. Emotional support: Entrepreneurial parents often face unique stressors and pressures, which can be isolating and overwhelming. Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide a sense of camaraderie, validation, and understanding, helping to alleviate stress and boost your emotional well-being.
  2. Practical advice and resources: Fellow entrepreneurial parents and mentors can offer invaluable insights and advice based on their own experiences. This can include tips on time management, delegation, work-life balance, and more. In addition, they may be able to recommend helpful resources, such as books, tools, or services that have benefited them.
  3. Networking opportunities: Building relationships with fellow entrepreneurial parents and mentors can lead to valuable networking opportunities, including potential partnerships, collaborations, or referrals. These connections can help to grow your business and expand your professional network.
  4. Personal and professional growth: Engaging with others in your support network can lead to personal and professional growth, as you learn from their experiences, knowledge, and perspectives. This can help you become a more effective and resilient entrepreneur and parent.

Tips for building a network

  1. Join local networking groups: This first point may sound obvious, but you might not realize that there are groups dedicated to entrepreneurs. Many communities have networking groups or organizations specifically for entrepreneurs or working parents. Attend local events, workshops, and meetings to connect with like-minded individuals and start building your support system. Think: business improvement associations, chambers of commerce, the Entrepreneur’s Organization, etc.
  2. Participate in online communities: If there isn’t a local group, try online. Online forums, social media groups, and networking platforms can offer opportunities to connect with entrepreneurial parents and mentors from around the world. Join groups and communities that focus on entrepreneurship, parenting, or work-life balance, and actively engage in discussions, share resources, and ask questions to build relationships with others who share similar experiences and challenges. Extra tip: only join a couple at a time, to see whether they’re a fit. If not, move on. Otherwise all you’re doing is adding to the number of notifications you get and not getting any value from the group.
  3. Attend conferences and events: Industry conferences, seminars, and other events can be excellent opportunities to network with fellow entrepreneurs and find potential mentors. Make the most of these events by introducing yourself to others, exchanging contact information, and following up after the event to establish connections. Again, be picky. Take a good look at the schedule, the exhibition vendors, and so on to see whether it’s worth the time and money to go.
  4. Reach out to existing contacts: Tap into your existing network of friends, family, colleagues, or acquaintances to identify potential connections with other entrepreneurial parents or mentors. Don’t be afraid to ask for introductions or referrals, as these can often lead to valuable relationships. Women: this means you! The old boys’ network exists for a reason, and that is because it’s useful. It’s time to start building one of your own.
  5. Volunteer or join professional associations: Volunteering or joining professional associations related to your industry or interests can provide additional networking opportunities and help you connect with like-minded individuals. These experiences can also contribute to your personal and professional growth, as you develop new skills, expand your knowledge, and gain exposure to diverse perspectives. Rotary International is one such organization, but there are others.
  6. Be proactive and intentional: Building a strong support system takes time and effort, so it’s essential to be proactive and intentional in your networking efforts. Reach out to new contacts, follow up on conversations, and make an effort to maintain and nurture relationships over time. Remember that genuine connections are built on mutual trust, respect, and support, so focus on building authentic relationships that provide value to both parties.

Photo by Ben Duchac on Unsplash

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