Finding Your Tribe

At a networking event last week, a woman I’d just met asked if anything has surprised me on the journey from where I started my business to where I am today. Without hesitation, I replied, “The fact that my idea actually worked!”

During the year I spent dreaming about Open Heart Creative, there was one thing I knew for sure: I wanted to work with women-led businesses.

I got plenty of pushback. “Why target just women?” “Aren’t you limiting yourself?”

As if the universe of female entrepreneurs was so small, I was shooting myself in the foot. Setting myself up for failure. While I appreciated the feedback, I decided to put my stake in the ground.

Six years in, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being a bit stunned by what’s transpired. It’s amazing to see my vision – of focusing solely on doing work I love and being of service to organizations of all shapes and sizes – become a reality. But there’s been an unexpected upside: in the process of looking for clients, I’ve found my tribe.

Yes, Virginia – there is an entire world of women who are building businesses and making a difference. And it turns out that many {many!} of them want to work together. Encourage and support each other. And have fun doing it.

When I tell people that virtually all of my business comes through networking and referrals, they tend to look skeptical. But what is often whispered during coffee dates or over martinis is true: women do business differently. We enjoy taking time to get to know each other. Relish opportunities to dig deeper and build relationships. And don’t hesitate to use each other’s services, try each other’s products, or pass along names and email addresses of colleagues we trust and respect.

I’ve often said what makes me happiest about being my own boss is having the freedom to choose my clients. Who knew I could also choose to surround myself with an incredibly diverse, talented, inspiring, and loving circle of colleagues and cheerleaders? Despite all the thought and care and planning that went into launching OHC, this is something I never saw coming.

If you’re a solopreneur, you know the struggle is real. It’s easy to become mired in uncertainty, overwhelm, and loneliness. Finding your tribe is the antidote.

As we celebrate the season of thanks-giving, my heart is filled with gratitude for the women who have trusted me to help them tell their stories honestly and fearlessly. And for those who I am blessed to call friends.