I love owning a business. It’s one of my favorite things about my life. It’s given me the freedom I crave, the confidence boost I needed when I started it in my mid 20s, and the opportunity to both give work to others and support myself. I can’t imagine ever working for someone else again! Being an entrepreneur is perfect for me and I have no doubt it’s what I should be doing.
But it can be mad lonely. I’m the sole owner of my company, so it’s been just me from Day One. Before I get too woe-is-me, let me first say that I’ve been lucky enough to have the support of the friends and family who matter to me, and I realize that’s not the case for every entrepreneur. I consider myself especially lucky that my father is a serial entrepreneur (he’s opened six businesses that I can remember), and my brother now runs a business my father opened. They are great resources for me because even though the beauty industry is seemingly very different from the real estate and property management industries they work in, there are similarities with the operational and expansion sides to these businesses. I also have a close friend who works in the beauty industry and owns her own business. It’s been great to have someone who completely understands almost the exact problems I encounter because of our industry and the similarities in our business models.
Even so, until recently, I never felt like I had a community of entrepreneur friends and contacts. I’m grateful for those three people I have, but three people is not the majority of the people in my life. (Like come on, I’m more popular than that.) And that’s where the loneliness comes in. I haven’t been sitting in a room crying for the past ten years, but I’ve felt it. It’s not loneliness in the sense of “I have no one to hang out with,” but more “I don’t have a lot of people I can relate to.”
Being an entrepreneur is career choice, but also a lifestyle choice. If you own a business, chances are your personal life and career life are interwoven. It’s unlikely that as an entrepreneur, you work eight hours, turn it off and go home to your personal life. (I know not all employee jobs are like that, but let me generalize for a minute.) If you broke my typical day into chunks, it would be Work, Personal, Work, Personal, Work, Personal (with the Work times being the longest) and repeat. And that’s seven days a week for me. It’s not the traditional work schedule, and I can tell that some of my friends and relatives (understandably) don’t get it.
It can also be hard to relate to non-entrepreneurs for a lot of other reasons, but you can read my Prep School series for more on that. What I want to talk about now is Hatch Tribe, an amazing group that I joined last year. You know me–I either love something or I hate it–and I love Hatch Tribe.
Let’s start at the beginning, because this isn’t Memento. (I love a good early 2000s movie reference that only 20% of my readers will get.) I moved to Charleston for my first snowbird winter in January of 2017. I became friends with a tall and witty attorney named Mairin, who I’m convinced is my long lost sister. She got me immediately, right down to the way I approach situations due to my entrepreneur status. (Like she gets mad for me when she thinks someone is wasting my time because she knows I’m already running at a time deficit.) At one point last winter, Mairin told me about the Hatch Tribe Speed Meet and Greet event she had seen on their Facebook page. I went to that event, and I was hooked. I went to a few other events while I was there, and attended some virtual events (or watched replays) after I moved back to Rhode Island last spring. Everything was helpful, inspiring and valuable, so I continued to follow Hatch Tribe on Facebook, and joined their Facebook group
This year, Hatch Tribe created the Members Circle. It covers the four big areas that I think are essential for a community of entrepreneurs. You ready for this list format?
Advice. Got a question about social media? Accounting software? Hiring practices? If you can think up a question, someone in the Members Circle can answer you or direct you to someone who can. Every single question gets answered, so no one is left hanging. Do you have any idea how amazing that is? In many other parts of my life, I’ve found that people struggle answering direct questions. (So much so that I once wondered if a new punctuation mark replaced the question mark and I missed the press release.) A lot of the issues we come across as business owners are common issues, so even if someone doesn’t work in the same industry as you, they very well may have encountered the issue you’re facing. Or maybe, using my earlier example, an accountant in the Circle can recommend the best accounting software. I’ve been asking long winded questions in the Members Circle since I joined in February, and I’ve gotten tons of valuable advice. There are even topics that you can follow–like Growth, Marketing and Money, to name a few–so you can see what other people post about those topics. The level of organization in this group makes my soul happy.
Education. You like to learn things to help improve your business, right? OF COURSE YOU DO. Maybe you have access to a ton of classes and the time to attend them in person, but if you don’t, you are going to love this. (And if you do, you’d get more of them in the Members Circle!) Each month in the Members Circle, there’s a new theme and mentor who works in an industry related to that theme. The Mentor of the Month and Hatch Tribe founder, Hilary Johnson, put out helpful 15 minute videos related to the theme, and also do an online masterclass that both connects the previous videos and delves more into the theme. So far I’ve learned a lot about Instagram stories and algorithms, social media content, SEO, perfecting the way we talk about our business to others, the fears that can hold us back in business, the importance of balance and more. If I wasn’t in the Members Circle, these are all things I would have had to research or take classes on myself, if I even thought to do so. But now, it’s offered to me in a way that is always clear and easy to follow, and I can ask followup questions. You find me a better situation than that. You can’t!
Support. I’ve been lucky enough to get a lot of support from most of my friends and family in the ten years that I’ve had my business. My immediate family and closest friends have been unwavering in that aspect, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know. But now, with the Members Circle, I also have a group of girlbosses who are truly rooting for me (and I’m rooting for them). Need some examples? Every Friday, Hilary posts something encouraging us to share our wins from the past week. As entrepreneurs, we might not be used to stepping back and saying “I accomplished this” or “My company reached this goal” and taking time to appreciate that. We can do that in the Friday thread, plus give our support to everyone else who posts about their wins. (There’s also a whole “Celebrate” topic, so it’s not just a Friday thing.) Still not convinced? There’s no “Like” button in the Members Circle–because there’s a “Cheer” button. Try to not feel supported when people are cheering you! It’s impossible, like saying “Oh, no thank you” to chips and guacamole. There’s no cattiness in the Tribe–Hilary would shut that shit right down–and no feeling that you are being judged or doing something the wrong way. It’s 100% support, and not because people are trying to sell to you or recruit you. (In fact, there is only one area of the Members Circle where you are even allowed to promote.) If you’re craving support of your entrepreneur life, it don’t get no better. (If I have to get this song in my head, you do too.)
Understanding. It’s real easy to feel misunderstood as an entrepreneur. If some of the people in your life don’t get or don’t like your entrepreneur lifestyle, can you really blame them? It’s not the norm. Only about 7% (depending on your source) of the US population owns their own business. I mean, damn. That’s some kind of rare disease statistic. You might have some people you are close to who aren’t entrepreneurs and get your lifestyle, although you’ve probably had to clue them in along the way. But in the Members Circle, everyone gets it because they are in it too. This one is huge to me, because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to explain to my family and friends why I have to or can’t do something, or why I have to approach certain situations the way I do. And honestly, being in this group of only girlbosses adds another level of understanding. I know some male entrepreneurs and while I’ve gotten great advice from some of them, the level of empathy and the extent to which some truly listen is lacking. I’ve also found some male entrepreneurs to be condescending, and dismissive of my success because it’s in a female dominated industry. (Fuck those guys, though. If you don’t think the beauty industry is gigantic and growing like crazy, put down your golf clubs for a minute and do some research.) In Hatch Tribe, and particularly in the Members Circle, you don’t have to explain yourself. Everyone there is on the same page.
I had a bit of a rough winter in Charleston this past year and Hatch Tribe–both due to the Members Circle and the friends I met through the Tribe that I spent time with–was one of the big things that got me through it. I’ve made some awesome, badass girlboss friends, and even thought I miss my weekly meetups with some of my them now that I’m back in RI, I still feel as connected as I did while I was in Charleston.
I really think if the Members Circle had been around when I first started my business, things would have gone a lot more smoothly for me. There were so many things I had questions about and needed input on in my early years, and I could have used the support and expertise of the Tribe. It’s still immeasurably valuable even as an owner of a ten year old business though, and there are people in the Tribe who have been in business longer than that. So no matter how long you’ve been paying those self employment taxes, the Members Circle can be beneficial to you.
This isn’t a sponsored post and no one asked me or even implied that I should write it. I wanted to because I appreciate Hatch Tribe, particularly the Members Circle, so much. To be fully transparent, there is an incentive for members who refer other people who join, but duh, every good business has some kind of incentive program. It’s not pushed on anyone in the Tribe (I actually had to look it up to remember what the rewards were). So yeah, I have an invite I can send people who are interested, but I’d be just as happy if you joined on your own. I wouldn’t write this post if I didn’t truly love Hatch Tribe. If you are a regular reader, you know I love promoting the things I’m into, and I’m not shy about saying what I don’t like. (Go ahead–try asking me about beauty influencers.)
As far as cost, joining the Members Circle is, I think, affordable for most entrepreneurs. It’s $34.99 (that’s what, a pair of pants from Express?) for a monthly membership, or $349.99 for an annual membership. One business-related class a month alone would likely cost you more than $34.99, plus you can get lots of free advice from people in the Members Circle who want to share what they’ve learned. And you can’t put a price on understanding and support. Plus, the membership fee is a write-off! (I checked with my accountant to confirm that.) Business owners love write-offs, don’t we?
If you’re a girlboss and you’re feeling unsupported or unsure about this whole entrepreneur thing, there’s a big group of us who want to help. So at least check out Hatch Tribe. Hope to see you in the Members Circle!
Have a beautiful day 🙂