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Finding and building a support system as an entrepreneur?

I'm hoping to get thoughts around finding support throughout the entrepreneurial process. I get a lot of that from my co-founders obviously but was wondering what else you have found to be useful when vetting ideas, brainstorming, going through the tough stuff, etc.

15 Replies

Kevin Lentz
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Kevin Lentz Entrepreneur • Advisor
Let's ship great products
Hi Susan, I have found that I get the most benefit from a core group (3-5 ppl) that meets regularly (weekly, biweekly). That way, the group understands our history, what we've tried, where we are strong and weak, etc. And the diversity helps to broaden the view from those actively involved in my project. Having recently moved to the east bay, I needed to find just such a group, so we have established one. It started as a meetup, but as people fell away through natural attrition, we are finding a good core group
Kelly McIvor
0
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Kelly McIvor Advisor
Product Marketer | Mobile Strategist | Opportunity Developer
Susan, there is NO WAY I could ever do what I do as an entrepreneur without my wife. Being an entrepreneur is hard enough so having a supporting spouse can make a real difference. Granted, you can't just go out and get yourself a supportive spouse at the hardware store so I'm not sure how practical that advice is but, well, that's what I got!
Rachel Ratliff
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Rachel Ratliff Entrepreneur
Voki Mobile
Hi Susan (and others) - I'd be interested in participating in a group along the lines of what Kevin suggested. I've heard that it's a good motivator as well as support. I have a supportive partner, but it's not quite enough :)
Tom Lemmons
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Tom Lemmons Entrepreneur
Founder - Nimbus, Ltd
That actually sounds like a great idea, Kevin do you find that meetings are best when those involved are physically present together or do you use skype/email or ?
I like Kelly have a great wife to talk things over with but we do seem to have the same ideas, soother perspectives would be beneficial. That is part of the reason I joined this website, however I have not figured out how to get that benefit from it. I have tried to invite a few people I know to be advisers and they all say yes, but most do not respond to emails very often if at all.
Rachel Ratliff
0
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Rachel Ratliff Entrepreneur
Voki Mobile
I vote for in-person meetings - you lose a lot of nuance when you communicate through technology. I live in San Francisco, fyi.
Tom Lemmons
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Tom Lemmons Entrepreneur
Founder - Nimbus, Ltd
Rachel, I think you are correct. That may be my problem. I live near but not in Denver area. And I don't seem to find many other Entrepreneurial minded people in the area.
Susan Mees
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Susan Mees Entrepreneur
Executive Director, Community Development at Health Union, LLC
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone - I totally agree that a supportive partner is key and even beyond that, family and friends who support you. But not everyone understand the entrepreneurial state of mind and it can be helpful to to connect with others who understand the risks and benefits.

Kevin - did you start the meetup focused on entrepreneurship/startups in general or specifically around an industry/type of idea?
Kevin Lentz
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Kevin Lentz Entrepreneur • Advisor
Let's ship great products
Hi All,

A couple responses here. I am a big believer in face-to-face, and I get absolutely charged up sitting across from real-live people solving problems. Skype and Facetime might work for others, but not for me as a regular tool.

The group I am in is not industry-specific, but rather is focused on entreprenuers/startups. It was started as a solo-founders meetup (you can find a handful in different regions on Meetup) to provide structure, feedback and accountability to solopreneurs who are otherwise alone. But it sounds as if there is a slightly broader need, so I am certainly open to inviting others.

At this point in our meetup (in San Ramon), it is just me and one other entrepreneur, and I can't tell you how effective it is. I believe we are both moving forward faster, in different directions, together. So if we add one or two other consistent participants, that's just more good ideas.

If San Ramon is too far for you, check the other Solo-Founders Standup groups on Meetup. I can't vouch for the other groups, but they were all started for the same reason.


Anusheel Bhushan
0
1
Anusheel Bhushan Entrepreneur
Co-Founder at ThinkApps
Here's a relevant article around finding technical collaborators for your startup:http://blog.thinkapps.com/entrepreneurship/heres-cant-find-technical-co-founder/
Lisa Lane
0
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Lisa Lane Advisor
Founder at The Inside Lane
Hi Susan, I am so glad to see this question being asked. As an entrepreneur myself and working as a startup consultant in the Bay Area for many years, I refocused my consultancy to cover these very things as I saw a need within the startups I worked for. Sometimes you need a safe place to go to talk about these things outside of the co-founder relationship. I agree with Kevin in that having a core face-to-face group is ideal. I call them Collective Charge circles. It is amazing what people can do when they come together as a collective especially with brainstorming and feedback. However when there is internal relationship issues, it's always good to get aligned and have tools to strengthen the foundation so it can handle the ride of entrepreneurship. Hope this helps : )
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