My very first mistake in business: loneliness

From today and for the next few weeks, I will share with you the most important mistakes I have done since I started looking for a business idea until this very moment (Our Swiss Business is about to turn 3 years old). Why? Because they taught me more than 100 business books. By sharing them with you, I hope to be able to: 1. Help you avoid some of the biggest mistakes that I made; 2. Give you the courage to go after your dream of a professionally fulfilling life, without fears of making your own mistakes (and, no matter what you do to avoid them, you will still make quite a few of them:-)

Let’s start from the very beginning, in the period from 2012 to 2015. In these years, I was still new to Switzerland, I had recently lost my first (and only) Swiss job and I had realized that finding a new one was much more difficult than I thought. Moreover, I had a baby of a few months and a second child, who was just 3 years old, at home with me, so I was a full-time mom and housewife. To be more precise, I was a deeply unhappy and frustrated full-time mom and housewife. When I finally realized that the only way out was to start my own business, I made my first mistake (and most likely the biggest of all).

MISTAKE N. 1: being lonely with my thoughts

I was constantly thinking what I could do, while washing dishes, while walking in the woods, while feeding my baby… I was totally alone with my thoughts during the day, until I could share them with my husband when he got back home from work. And to tell you the truth (please don’t tell this to my husband, if you know him:-), talking to him didn’t help me much. Why? Because he couldn’t really understand how I was feeling (he’s never been jobless in his whole life); because he was trying to help by suggesting business ideas that most of the times had nothing to do with me, my strengths and my passions; because he didn’t know anything about business, having always been employed; because he loved me and was trying to make me feel better, and this meant that not always he told me what he really thought about my ideas. Also my very few, very recent friends didn’t help me, for some of the reasons above.

How much did this mistake cost me? 

First of all, I lost a lot of time. How far could have I gone in those 3 years, if I only looked for some support? Second, it cost me a lot of unhappiness, for myself and for my family: dealing with this massive problem alone made me feel miserable for about 3 years. And I wasn’t the only miserable one: my children and my husband had to deal with a very irritable and nervous wife and mom for all this time.

What should I have done differently?

I should have actively looked for a community of supportive women. But even if I had looked, I would have had a hard time finding one in Switzerland. Fantastic networks like DrivenWoman didn’t exist in Switzerland at that time, co-working spaces in Bern (where I live) were in their infancy and weren’t providing yet the great networking and collaboration opportunities that exist now, and online groups for women didn’t offer what I was looking for (they were either for stay at home moms or for businesswomen, not for people in-between like me). But I should have at least tried and maybe I would have found the right people. Unfortunately I had no idea that this was what I needed. I had never experienced the incredible help that a group of supportive women can provide. I discovered it later.

What can you do?

If you are struggling like I was in this dark period of my life and you are reading this blog, you are lucky. Now you know what can help you. Please do yourself a favor. Check out your opportunities:

  1. Attend a DrivenWoman LifeWorking workshop (how to find one? just look for “DrivenWoman LifeWorking Workshop” in one of these locations on Eventbrite or Facebook … If you don’t find an upcoming event in the city of interest, just try again after a few days:-)
  2. Go for a tour at some local co-working spaces (there are even some just for women, like WeSpace in Zurich!)
  3. Check out Our Swiss Business’s offerings, ranging from the new free online community on Facebook (the Women’s Circle of Business Dreamers Switzerland), to great events where you can learn and work on your ideas with a group of like-minded women, to 1-1 support, if you feel the need of more personalized guidance.

Choose the type of supportive environment that you prefer and start working on yourself and on your ideas with others, not in complete isolation. I promise: this will make a BIG difference.

See you soon with mistake n. 2 (if you don’t want to miss it, signup to Our Swiss Business)!!
Ciao,
Gretel

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