When it comes to finding success as an entrepreneur, support can mean everything. For many, a support community is the make or break difference in succeeding instead of failing. Heck, I believe in masterminds so much I even wrote an entire guide dedicated to helping you start your own.
I know that we all want to be able to grow our businesses to that next level, but how do we know if we’re getting the right support? Here are 7 things your support community might be missing.
1. A Desire To Help
It’s key that the culture of your support community is to help each other. Sure, you need to vent every now and then, but if the momentum of the group isn’t towards forward progress and problem solving, don’t expect to grow there.
The desire to selflessly support others, a pillar of Femworking’s own culture, leads to a positive environment where a loving, helpful community’s sole desire is to help you.
If each of us lead with the, “how can I help others?” mentality, then that means every other person in the community is thinking the same thing: how can they help YOU.
Helping others without expecting anything in return leads to the Law of Reciprocity, which states that when someone does something kind for you, you will have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something kind in return. This is actually how Femworking got started.
If the members of your support community are more focused on what they can get out of it instead of supporting others, the community mentality quickly shifts to scarcity, “I gotta get mine,” and “there isn’t enough to go around.” Me, me, me, basically.
Ideally a support community will be filled with like-minded women, for us that means women who are positive and supportive but that also create space for you to be vulnerable when you need it.
2. They’re On your Level
You want to make sure you find a support group that isn’t too far ahead or too far behind you. Your support group should be right in a sweet spot.
You want some people in the community who are ahead of where you are, so that you can learn from them and grow, and you want people who haven’t yet had some of the same successes you have, so that you can give back. You don’t want to be the most advanced one in the community because you’ll turn into the de facto leader or guru of the group – which means you probably won’t be able to grow there.
3. The Right Size
Similar to the Goldilocks principle of finding a support group that’s just right (not too far ahead or too far behind you, success-wise) Finding a community that’s the right size is important, too.
A community that’s too small won’t be able to deliver as much support or value, and one that’s too large may mean you get lost in the crowd. Aim for a community that is large enough to deliver value and small enough that you’re not a small fish in a big pond. You want to be a medium-sized fish in a medium-sized pond.
Good support communities need designated leadership. In the case of Femworking, we have FemLeaders who facilitate meetings and keep track of accountability, which allows our members to sit back and relax when it comes to certain aspects of running a community of masterminds. They can show up to the meeting and dive into their businesses instead of focusing on leadership duties.
Leadership also means that community norms will be followed and rules will be enforced. One of the only rules we have at Femworking is a strict no-solicitation rule (because who wants to be solicited in a mastermind setting when you’re focused on growing your business!?)
The presence of leadership ensures that rules get followed. The intangible eye of the leader prevents community members from going rogue and subtly aids in the cultivation and continuance of a stellar member experience.
Leaders are also silent demonstrators of the group’s culture, manifesting the overall vibe of the group and leading by example. Our FemLeaders are engaged, kind, helpful, and relentlessly supportive – just the way we want our member culture to be.
We’ve all had experiences where an absence of leadership means a lack of foundation, structure, and expectations for the community. I’ve seen whole communities collapse after their leadership left and nothing could fill the subsequent leadership vacuum. Good leadership alleviates the need for community members to police each other and creates an environment where everyone knows (and plays by) the rules. Good leadership is the key to creating and sustaining a world class community culture.
A good support group won’t just support you, it will help (read: push) you to grow. At Femworking each FemLeader tracks accountability for the members in their FemCircle Mastermind. Our members love the growth they experience by having tracked accountability through their mastermind.
One of our members even had a fun, although perhaps a bit extreme, example of accountability. After months of procrastinating on getting her book publisher a draft, she agreed that if her draft wasn’t done by her next mastermind meeting she would owe each of her FemSisters twenty bucks. Now that’s some accountability! (And for the record, it worked. She got her draft to the publisher, and while her FemSisters were happy for her, they were only slightly bummed they didn’t get to go on a shopping spree!)
Every support community needs a clearly defined purpose. What are you there for? Is it to land more speaking gigs? Focus on marketing? Grow your email list?
Different support communities do different things. Make sure the purpose of the community aligns with what you want to do.
The mindset of your support community is everything. Do you prefer a support community that pushes you to hustle and grind? Or is slow and steady growth with an emphasis on work/life balance more your style? Do you want a no excuses, get-it-done-at-all-costs group? Or a group who understands when there are 5 snow days in a row and THEN the kids get sick?
Do you want a faith-based group, a group for just photographers, a health-related group, a coaching group?
What collective group mindset will serve you best and fit your goals?
At Femworking we work hard to create a business growth-focused mindset and a community that is diverse and inclusive. Our mindset is one of love – for our fellow sisters in business (and in the world!) We start each meeting with “shout-outs,” which are our way of showing gratitude to other members and starting each FemCircle Mastermind with a positive, abundant mindset.
What’s most important is that your support community works for you. When considering things like a group’s willingness to help, mindset, culture, size, and purpose – find a group that works with you.
And maybe that’s us, maybe it’s not. But there are groups out there for everyone, so don’t stop looking, because support means everything, and we want you to succeed!
I don’t know of any other masterminds that allow you to come to an open house to get a feel for the kind of support they offer, but we’d love to meet you. Click below to RSVP to a Femworking open house, and we just might be the perfect support community for you.