This article comes from Entrepreneur.
Your inner circle is not limited to one group of people. Think of business and the different stakeholders that partake in it. You too will have multiple stakeholder groups. For this article, we are focusing on curating your inner circle to best serve you.
Think of this group as the people who play the same role as a board of advisors for a business, but for you. These are mentors who are more experienced than you in the areas where you want to grow. Mentors are not to be confused with paid professionals like coaches, although at times there may be an overlap.
Create a list of the different advisors you’d like on your board. Make sure to start with the ones who would complement your skills and expertise. Avoid finding people just like you. They can have shared values, but look for different strengths and experiences.
These are people who are modeling the life you aspire to. Your lives don’t have to be identical, but they should be similar. For example, your aspirational model could be a mom who’s a traveling entrepreneur, or a tech executive who started a nonprofit and grew up in a similar culture. You don’t want to copy their life, but aspirational models help remind you that anything is possible.
Some people will immediately choose people like Oprah, but I recommend picking someone whose journey is a bit more similar to yours. Think of an up-and-coming social media personality or a new author. It’s better to pick someone who’s 100 steps in front of you than 1,000.
Yes, your inner circle should include friends you don’t talk business with. Sure, maybe they’ll ask you how business is going and come to your business anniversary party, but you don’t sit there talking about it. It’s so refreshing to sit in a hot tub with my friends with a glass of wine and almost forget I run a business because it just doesn’t come up. In fact, none of the conversations turn into business talk.
I call the women in my mastermind community my business friends. It’s intentional: We aren’t just business partners, and we aren’t just friends. We are a hybrid of the best of both worlds. We can talk about business, money, and strategy but also occasionally open up about personal matters.
This is your extended network. You don’t call them up on their cellphones, but they’ll email you to let you know about a speaking engagement opportunity or will bring up your business in a meeting. These can be people in your local community or even on social media who you think of when someone asks for an expert in their field and who will recommend you for that press opportunity.
I call the people in my community “dreamers.” This is what we think of as our “ideal customer” or what some influencers think of as their fans. But they aren’t just followers or customers. They’re the people you want following your business, buying from your brand, and reading your book, but you’d hit it off as friends too.
These are people you pay to help you or your business get to the next level. Think of the therapist who’s helping you heal childhood trauma or that business coach who’s going to help you hit six figures. I call them the investment crew because — once you find the right ones — there is always a return on investment, and the benefits go beyond money.
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