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The Importance of a Small Business Community

The Importance of a Small Business Community

Contributed by Idea Collective Member:

Picture of Alex Pauls

Alex Pauls

Strategy Expert & Motorcycle Voyageur

Imagine a Small Business Community of people just like you so you don’t have to grow it alone.

Entrepreneurship is a fascinating topic. For many people, the idea of starting their own business is an incredibly alluring prospect. Making your own hours, working from home or anywhere in the world, and creating something the world really wants and needs. But what does it really take to become an entrepreneur? What kind of dedication and drive is required? And most importantly, how will your small business succeed? 

Imagine the likelihood of your success if you met with like-minded people on the same journey as you each and every week. People have mentors, business coaches, and peers for a reason. They help you avoid the mistakes they made so you get a boost to lessen the pain of the grind. 

I wish I had a small business community from the beginning

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. In a perfect world you start at point A. You would know everything there is to know about what you do or what you create, zero mistakes are made and you find yourself at point B laying on a beach checking emails for 10 minutes a day as your bank account grows with no effort at all. If anyone is pitching you a business opportunity that sounds like this (and I’ve seen many on social media and YouTube), RUN THE OTHER WAY!

When I finally made the decision to walk away from my corporate job of 15 years, I was done sitting in the same cubicle, doing the same job day after day, year after year with a pair of golden handcuffs. No matter how hard I tried to change parts of my day intentionally, it was still the same things from Monday to Friday. You could see how enticing easy money with little effort might be from these ads. 

One of the first shifts I had to make mentally before leaving my old career was to take my focus away from retirement as the end goal. I wanted to live a meaningful life where I could be of service to the world, but what exactly did that look like? 

My road to becoming an entrepreneur was anything but straight and narrow. I had to battle self doubt, self worth, anxiety, and imposter syndrome along the way. I left my cubicle job, retired for 6 months and travelled Europe with my family. Not a bad segway into becoming an entrepreneur, right? Wrong! I ended up settling back into being an employee with the hopes of one day taking over a small business from my mentor, the owner.

One step forward, two steps backwards

I encountered a red herring, a crossroads, a test 6 months into my very new career chapter. I was tortured over the decision to leave this company to go to another, chasing something I wasn’t getting in my current job. My mentor offered me advice and multiple chances to stay in my current position, warning me that I would be making a mistake leaving. I ignored his warnings and made the decision to leave. On my last day, my mentor died hours before I had a chance to meet with him and find closure in our exit meeting. 

What came next was a grueling year of misery and regret. There were many days I had to drag myself out of bed, take a cold shower to wash the shame away in order to check in for another 8-10 hours of miserable work. I was doing exactly what I didn’t want to be doing with my life, when I was supposed to be so much smarter and wiser building my dream life. 

I had taken several steps backwards, my mentor was gone, I was making less money and I hated every aspect of the job I was doing. Things continued to get worse until mercifully the chapter came to an end. It was the day after my birthday when I got the call from my boss that they had decided to let me go. I wasn’t upset – I was grateful as hope began pouring into my life. When you open up to new possibilities, you open up to feelings of freedom, excitement, and yes, even fear. I embraced these feelings with all of my heart. 

The Importance of a Small Business Community
The Turbulent Journey of Entrepreneurship

It was time to get the train back on the tracks after being derailed for almost 2 years. Kati and I had always wanted to work together, it was the “unattainable” idea in the back of our minds for so many years, and now was the time to take the chance on it. 

One of the best things about us working together is that we are opposites. We recognize and appreciate all the things that each of us brings to the table. Kati is so creative, works faster and more efficiently than anyone I’ve ever met, and she is the most disciplined person I know. She also holds the title of “dreamer” in our relationship. 

I had to go inwards and spend time getting to know my strengths and abilities: I am great with numbers and I love interacting with people. I love networking and building relationships. I’m a master troubleshooter and I’ve always been open to taking courses and learning new things.

Because I am so open to personal growth, Kati’s discipline and work ethic have rubbed off on me. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that you need to be open to possibilities, and you need to be a dreamer when you own a small business. The world has too many realists and pessimists that are all set to shoot down your dreams for whatever reason. 

Entrepreneurs need to be around people who dream big and set out to achieve their goals. When you become part of a collective of dreamers and doers, it feels like nothing is impossible. 

Once you get on a roll, it’s not a matter of HOW, it’s a matter of WHEN you will achieve what you are after. Embrace the wins and be compassionate with your failures when things don’t go right the first time. Learning the lessons from the mistakes ensures you have not wasted your time in trying to accomplish your goals. The old me would have never been brave enough to get into the arena where falling on your face is a possibility. But when you are surrounded by people who are playing in that exact same arena, you will be supported and guided back to the beginning of your journey with wisdom, inspiration and support. 

Embracing Our Small Business

When I joined KP Design in 2019, Kati had already been in business for 20 years. Because she was also raising our children, her business was more of a part-time job. With me coming on board, it was time to make KP Design a full time gig that would replace my corporate income and eventually surpass it. 

Within the first 6 months I had taken as many courses as possible and began applying everything I had learned past and present to our company: SEO, analytics, business development, sales and marketing, etc. It can be overwhelming when you think about how many hats you have to wear when you own your own business, which is why belonging to a collective of small business owners is so valuable! 

If you are new to entrepreneurship or thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, here are a few suggestions that can help you leapfrog some of the hurdles:

Entrepreneurship is not a one-size-fits-all journey. What works for one person may not work for another, But, if you are open to learning and growing, the skies the limit. I encourage you to join us on this adventure by becoming a member of the Idea Collective. Through this community, you will have access to resources, support, and an amazing group of like-minded people who want to see you succeed. 

Alex Pauls

Contributed by

Alex Pauls

Strategy Expert

As a strategy expert, Alex’s leading skill is seeing & knowing people. He builds meaningful relationships that allow him to identify all the distinctive aspects that motivate change-makers. It is through his genuine respect for others that Alex is able to design strategies that will help trailblazers be found by those who need them most.