In building FLAURA, I’ve found that the one most influential thing that I’ve done (apart from obviously working hard) is surrounding myself with the “right people”. This isn’t an experience that’s specific to me, however. I’ve witnessed many women and men I know begin to flourish professionally when they do the same. It’s even more important to do this as an entrepreneur, when the world seems to be against you at every turn. But who are these “right people” you need to surround yourself with? Here’s my breakdown of the top four:
1. The One That Can Dream
Don’t get me wrong, being an entrepreneur is hard work and takes grafting more hours than not. But a big part of being an entrepreneur is also dreaming – envisioning those lines of code you’ve been working on turning into a multi-million-dollar app, or that small brick-and-mortar you just opened expanding into a block-long department store. A lot of the time these dreams may be met with cynicism or outright rejection. So, it’s important to have someone in your life who also believes that the impossible can happen. Someone that can lift you back on your feet when you inevitably begin to doubt yourself and remind you of all the things you can achieve in the future. The secret is to make sure that 90% of your core friendship group is made up of dreamers. When you say “I want to go the moon” you need people around you who reply “Hell yeah” and sit down with you to brainstorm how to build a rocket.
2. The One That’s a Realist
To balance out the dreamer, we have the good ol’ realist. Now, don’t confuse a realist with a “that’s not possible” Debbie Downer. Realists also believe that great things are possible, but they will temper your passion with real advice. They won’t sugar-coat how hard you must work and the things you should sacrifice to get to where you want to be. It’s often those who have experience in the field you want to flourish in that can be the best realist friends for you, as they’ve been through the grind and know what it takes to get there. They won’t think twice about telling you how something you’re doing isn’t working or what you should try improving on. As a word of caution – be wary of “realists” who have no experience…many people will give you advice but that doesn’t mean you should always listen.
3. The One That Knows How to Party
You need a friend that knows how to let loose. Entrepreneurship can often be an isolating and all-consuming path, and when a project you’ve been banking on or an idea you’ve been fostering doesn’t go to plan, you’ll need someone who knows how to get you out of the dumps. As they say: work hard, play harder.
4. The One That Doesn’t Care
Not that they don’t care about you (that would be no friend at all). But that they don’t care about your work. When 99.999999% of your life is filled with thoughts about your growing business or project, you need that one person whose house you can go to and not have to worry about updating them on your venture. They won’t ask how your business is going because they won’t care – they’ll just hand you a slice of pizza, turn on the TV and you can escape from the entrepreneur life for a few hours with them.
Now you don’t need to throw all your friends away and find just four new people to hang out with. A simple audit of your circle and the influence that those around you have on you can pretty much determine the direction you need to take in the social aspects of your life. Being an entrepreneur is difficult work, and your friends should make it easier, not harder. When in doubt, just remember the good old cliché: “your network is your net-worth.”