There are obvious benefits to working alone. Arising in your kitten pajamas and shoving your cold feet into bunny slippers, you walk, Zombie-like, to the kitchen. You fill your huge coffee mug to the brim and venture into your office. Want to check your e-mail? See what your friends are doing on Facebook? Go ahead, no one is looking.
Sooner or later, the guilt seeps in. You begin to feel a little less than productive. What to do?
1. Join a local business-oriented group. I know, I’m not a ‘group’ person either. However, this has huge benefits for you besides the obvious networking possibilities. You get to meet people who like you are wearing out their bunny slippers on the way to the office. You’ll find kindred spirits and begin to forge relationships with them. Soon, as people begin to know you better, you will get more referrals.
2. Volunteer. Don’t like the suffering in the world? Take heart. There are innumerable opportunities right in your community to make a difference. Give an hour a week; you’ll be rewarded tenfold. Not only will you meet others who want their lives to be about something greater than themselves, you will expand your circle of acquaintances. Imagine – in one place you can create purpose for your life and network at the same time. You won’t even have to sell yourself – your credibility will become evident.
3. Pursue an art. This doesn’t apply if unlike the rest of us you really are an artist. Research has shown that engaging in creative activities can enhance and improve your cognitive skills and memory. This is not wasted time. Art, whether it is painting, photography, music or sculpture, is a great way to decompress when you have, say, writer’s block. You may also meet others who are pursuing art as a means of feeding their soul (as opposed to their pocketbook, which is far less lucrative) and have yet another source of trusted associates.
4. Accept some jobs in trade. I realize this doesn’t pay the bills. (Although, I envision myself asking my mortgage company if I could please write their blog in exchange for my mortgage payment. As long as I’m dreaming, I can also envision them saying ‘yes’ and don’t you dare burst my bubble.) Trading for items or services you need can be a wonderful source of referrals. The trick here is to treat the job with the same respect as one for which you are actually receiving money.
5. Collaborate with others. Find a way to work with others that offers a real benefit to potential clients. As a writer for businesses, I often work in tandem with a graphic artist, business coach and financial expert. I have a team who understands the meaning of collaboration, and develops outstanding ideas while brainstorming together.
Because of this, Wild Women For Business has been launched. Four Wild Women, each with a world of experience, great skills, and a joyful vision for the success of her clients, are offering their collective expertise to small business start-ups and small businesses in need of a shot of joy and excitement. Phyllis Orzalli (www.studio-nine-design.com), Janice Knight (www.yrcoach.com), Judy Nichols (www.numbersguru.com – website coming soon!), and of course me (www.thewrittenword.biz), we have created a collaboration that is both powerful and enriching for our clients and exponentially improves their chances for true success. Stay tuned for www.WildWomenForBusiness.com – the website is in design, and we are planning a workshop for entrepreneurs this spring – you won’t want to miss it!
6. Delegate tasks to experts. Do you shudder at the thought of doing your quarterly taxes? Create a relationship with a CPA. Do your videos make you feel as if you are on the deck of a ship in a storm? Mine do! Hire a professional videographer to do the work. (Check out Sandy Brooke’s wonderful work (www.brookevideo.com). Those to whom you delegate may reciprocate and send business your way.
Wearing my bunny slippers and sipping coffee at my desk while looking out into my orchard and the beautiful woods beyond often inspires me. I get to see nature in action, and watch the collaboration of wildlife. The Raccoon families who wait for their shorter-legged offspring to catch up while walking up the hill. The Blue Jay parents who each claim a tree and call out instructions and encouragement to their fledglings. The herd of Does who quietly encircle their fawns when they sense danger. All are wonderful examples of collaboration.
The economy and stress level of those suffering through it are largely out of our control. Collaboration with others, on so many levels, may just save our collective butts. It may also give you back the joy you have been missing and allow you to buy more of those bunny slippers.