As the jobless rate shows little improvement, more and more of us are starting and managing our own businesses from home, which can leave you feeling isolated and adrift. (See recent Intuit blog post for more on the psychological effects.) You start to realize the inherent support an average office setting afforded and the voids that now exist, like the emotional lift co-workers can provide or an area of expertise you don’t possess. There's no more huddling around the water cooler or coffee maker. Yet there are many ways to deal with this lonely disposition from renting office space to informal coffee klatches. For example, there are numerous office business centers, like Select Office Suites, that lease full-time offices, virtual and hourly space and/or conference rooms to all size businesses. The larger metropolitan areas also have business clubs (The Terrace Club in New York is one example.) where you can stop in between meetings to respond to email, conduct a meeting, have a bite or just commune with other anchorless workers for a yearly fee. Think of these like more sophisticated versions of Starbucks, which is of course always another option for taking a breather from one appointment to the next. And there’s a range of similar types of co-working set-ups that encourage collaboration from which business partnerships can be formed. The Twin Cities has a version, called CoCo.
I’m not ready to invest in meeting space yet but I agree with the advice to get out several times a week to commune with other like workers. Using several online resources, I’ve joined a few groups that I meet with regularly. This past week I met with my entrepreneur group, which was formed at a career counseling company after we were all downsized from our last corporate jobs and sustained on LinkedIn. Only the women members showed up on Wednesday. It was one of our best meetings ever, coincidence, I’m sure!! The give and take was invigorating and heartfelt and I not only walked away with new ideas to pursue for fine tuning my business plan but a commitment to present it at next month’s meeting. Now I have a deadline to meet and I needed that.
Resources for women starting their own businesses that can provide virtual and face-to-face partnering and work teams:
Count Me In - reference sites for researching women's business loans and grants online.
Make Mine a Million is an initiative program of Count Me In, where boldly creative women help each other turn their dreams into a reality via invaluable education, inspiring live events and a dynamic online community.
The Three Tomatoes is a fun “free” e-newsletter that gives you the real skinny on the best of everything in and out of NYC for fabulous, smart women.
Women Business Enterprise National Council is the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned controlled, and operated by women in the United States.
Women For Hire offers signature career expos, inspiring speeches and seminars, a popular career-focused magazine and customized marketing programs founded by TV personality and author, Tory Johnson.
She Creates Change empowers women to create a career where they are fully engaged in life, claim their calling, and making a meaningful contribution in the world. Ultimately we are igniting a movement, compelling women to take action, and blaze their path with passion.
Ladies Who Launch is a new media company that provides resources and connections for women entrepreneurs.
Webgrrls is an online and offline networking organization of professional women focusing on propelling our careers and businesses forward by leveraging the power of women, technology and tools that help us succeed.