I felt isolated when I started my business.
My friends all had corporate jobs.
Nobody in my family was an entrepreneur.
The people around me would listen to me but couldn't give me any real advice.
Most of the time I was too embarrassed to share anyway because I wasn't doing well.
When people asked about how my business was doing I would lie and say "Great" and
then quickly change the topic.
I didn't have a network of people to call on who could really help me.
I was alone.
Shift.
I realized that I was going to build a great business, I'd need to work on my network.
I needed to shift my thinking.
But I had to start from the ground up.
I literally had zero connections.
And I went from a place of feeling totally on my own to having an amazing group of
people who I can count on anytime I have a problem.
It took a while but today I'm going to share the three things that made all the difference
and you can get there too.

1) Aspirational entrepreneurs

I had no contacts to call on so I started learning from people I respected but would
never meet.
I looked at people like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, etc.
and how they got started.
I looked at what they did when there were in pure startup mode and learned from their
success.
They were my first mentors.
If I had a marketing problem I would ask myself "How would Steve Jobs market this?"
If I was negotiating a deal I would ask myself "How would Donald Trump think bigger?"
Their stories, and early failures, gave me specific ideas to model and the confidence to
keep going.

2) Mentors

Finding aspirational entrepreneurs and learning from their success is easy, powerful,
and you can do it today.
Right now.
Finding a mentor is a lot more work.
Especially if you want the right one.
My first real mentor was John.
He had built and sold technology companies before, understood how the game
worked, and gave me great insights and knowledge that I would have taken years to
learn on my own.
But how did I find John?
As I said, I had no connections... so I did the only thing I could think of.
I went to my bank.
Yep, true story. My bank.
I didn't even know anyone there, but figured they would talk with me since I had an
account.
I spoke with a manager and told him I didn't need money... well I wasn't sure if I
needed money... I just want to grow this business and wasn't sure what to do next.
So much for my confident start.
Luckily he liked my business idea.
He couldn't give me money but said I should meet this consultant who might help.
I had my first lead to expand my network.
The consultant had a fancy downtown office and talked a big game but he didn't
understand my product.
So he brought in a friend of his.
Who also barely understood what I did... so he brought in a friend of his own.
John.
John got what I did and became an immediate help for me and my business.
He took me places I would never have been able to get to on my own.
I owe a lot of my early success to him.
And even though the first three people I spoke with couldn't help me and I was starting
to feel like nobody would get what I was trying to do...
I kept at it and eventually found John.
Start reaching out, even if you have nobody to connect with.
If you keep at it, your network will grow and your mentors will find you.

3) Mastermind Groups

I also created two Mastermind Groups to help myself and other local entrepreneurs.
We meet once a month to talk about our businesses, give each other ideas, and cover
off the weaknesses of what you're not good at in your business.
Some members call it "Entrepreneurs Anonymous" because it's often just nice to be
around other entrepreneurs and know that you're not alone.
There's an energy you get by hanging around other business owners that gives you
motivation to do better and to get to work.
You can look for an existing group in your area.
I didn't find anything local so I created my own.
There are lots of different structures and formats but the core function of these kinds of
groups is to support the members and help everyone grow.
Alone.
You can't do this alone.
If you try, your idea will die with you.
You'll never realize your potential.
You need to leverage what other people know to help you get to where you want to be.
Use aspirational entrepreneurs.
Use mentors.
Use Mastermind Groups.
Their advice, wisdom, and encouragement will make all the difference in the world to
helping you achieve your dreams.
I promise you.
Believe