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ThanksI’m feeling particularly grateful to those women business owners who have set out on their own to work for themselves and been very open about their journeys.  These women not only teach the how-to for having a successful business online, they share what’s been a struggle and are not afraid to admit they’ve made mistakes along the way.

We are able to connect with others like never before thanks to the internet and various social tools and it has certainly benefited me immensely. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have made anywhere near the progress I have without the relationships and interaction I have enjoyed online.

Friendships
Just like the marriages you hear about that wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for internet dating, there have been many real friendships forged online.  It can be lonely when your “in real life” friends don’t share or relate to your entrepreneurial leanings.  It’s comforting to be able to connect with and bounce ideas off of someone who has been through what you are going through.

Cheering Section
There is nothing like the encouraging words from someone you think highly of or even just someone you know understands you.  It can be a much needed boost when things get tough. Starting a new business can be overwhelming and scary.  It can feel like there is so much to learn and do and this often freezes us. Knowing someone is rooting for and supporting us can often give us the push necessary to keep on going.

Knowledge
As the title of this post alludes to, in my experience I have found many others who give freely of their time and provide lots of great information to those seeking it.  A major theme of social media these days is the importance of giving generously and often.  There is no shortage of tips, advice and helpful nuggets of wisdom out there if you’d only look.  Make sure you are always giving in return as well.

Empathy/Humanizing
Some of the best people to learn from are those who are the most authentic and open, even about the things many others wouldn’t share for fear of appearing weak or somehow less together in their life.  This is a real barrier for a lot of people in a web 2.0 world.  The truth is, these are some of the most magnetic folks in the game.  Others are drawn to that honesty and I know I really respect this characteristic when I see it.

Inspire Courage
There’s nothing quite like hearing from someone you consider successful that they’ve been right where you are in the past and made it through.   No one was a raging success right from the gate although it is easy to think that because we are seeing them at a different point in their life.  Just knowing someone else has made it and flourished can be enough to get us over the hump onto the other side.

Accountability
As with any endeavor we wish to successfully complete, having someone hold us accountable dramatically increases the probability that we will do the thing and do it well.  With so many support communities out there it’s easy to find others who not only want us to succeed, but who will put guidelines in place designed to keep us on track.  This is invaluable and can provide us with incredible motivation.

So thank you, to all of you who have supported and cheered me in my journey and made it that much less intimidating and lonely.

I’d love to hear from others how people in your online community or social networks have been there for you.  How have they propelled you forward?  What conversations are you engaged in currently that you feel are especially benefiting you?

Photo Credit: Fern R