Why Having a Community is Essential to Becoming a Solopreneur
By Sean Ogle
I’d just gotten back from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I had the time of my life, skipping work for two weeks in the middle of the Great Recession to shed my stress and suit, for parties, beaches, caipirinhas, and adventure.
It was one of the best two weeks of my life, and I didn’t quite realize it at the time, but it would completely change the way I looked at my life and my goals.
We had a lot of cool adventures on that trip, and did some amazing things, but there was one aspect of it that stood out more than anything else: the freedom.
From the Brazilian Side of Iguassu Falls
Every day, we could do whatever we wanted. Feel like going to the beach? We went to the beach! Feel like having a big adventure? We went hang gliding! Felt like just chilling and doing some journaling? No problem, we did that too.
It was the flexibility of our time that really stuck with me during my time in Brazil.
So when I got back to my job as a financial analyst and received a 20% pay cut on the same day I got back, I knew it was a perfect storm of events that would have me pursuing some major changes in life.
But, it’s never that easy, is it?
I knew I wanted to own my own business, and travel – but I wasn’t sure about much more than that.
On that trip to Rio, I went with Ryan Martin, one of my best friends.
Ryan and I preparing to dance in the Carnival Parade.
And he was, well, more decisive than me.
Whereas I would labor on for months about wanting to leave my job and travel, he quit his job 3 weeks after we got back from Brazil and he moved to Hawaii.
The plan was to live in Hawaii for 8 months and break even on money, so that he could take off on a round-the-world trip the following January.
That became my timeline. I had to make a change by then, because if I had to listen to story after story of his adventures, while I wasn’t creating any of my own, I think I’d have gone crazy.
I had no idea how much Ryan’s leap of faith would encourage my own.
Here’s me telling the full story:
At that time I had people telling me how thankful I should be that I had such a good job. When I said I wanted to travel, they told me I should focus on my career and work my way up the ladder.
But I would talk to Ryan 2-3 days a week on my lunch break, and every time he’d be doing something way more interesting than me:
- “I just got done surfing and I’m sitting at the coffee shop on the beach reading.”
- “I worked at the hotel cabana this afternoon, but tonight I’m taking a sunset helicopter tour!”
- “Just got done getting my scuba license, been spending a lot of time snorkeling as well.”
Ryan and I had similar goals. We both wanted freedom, flexibility, and to live our lives on our terms.
It was having his support, encouragement, and accountability that got me to follow through with creating Location 180, building my brand and business, and inevitably leaving my job and moving to Thailand.
Once the time came to make that move, he even changed his world trip plans to start with me in Thailand for three weeks.
Ryan and I in Krabi, Thailand about a week after I arrived in Thailand.
It was his support that helped push me over the edge.
Between Brazil and Thailand, I also started growing my own personal community.
I had people like Chris Guillebeau and Dan Andrews, helping to push me along. I had a growing number of blog readers that would encourage me in the comments of blog posts. And once I got to Thailand, there were a few dozen people doing exactly the same thing as me – and their business support and focus was invaluable while living and traveling through a destination full of parties and tourists.
My point with all of this, is that even though I was working to become a solopreneur, there was nothing solo about it.
It’s the community of people I surrounded myself with that helped me stay focused and moving forward with my business goals.
I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for those things.
I truly believe that more than any other skills or attributes, having a supportive community is the most important component to being successful as a solopreneur.
Now a question for you. What does your community look like? Are the people you’re surrounding yourself with people encouraging of your goals? Do they support the fact you want to pursue something a little bit unconventional?
If not, think about where you can find that support.