Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own boss

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Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own boss

Postby Kim » Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:52 pm

When I prepared this post, I first wrote four pages about four or five connected dreams/goals, but then I saw that I have only one main remaining obstacle that I have to overcome and that I can still use some help with. Everything else is underway. Yay!

I am about to set up my third small-business undertaking and I need a support network.

Acknowledging that that I need support, the idea of asking for something like that, in fact arranging it, already signifies a revolution in my life. :D

But why do I need the support and why can't I find it? <-- the obstacle

Read on.

I am in a kinda crazy country, which shall remain unnamed (and which I can't leave b/c of a personal decision), but which has a vastly different culture than any other country I know. (Yes, I have lived in a few.) After ten years here, I still don't know anyone locally, other than a few people by name. The latter does not mean that they will acknowledge my presence when I say “hi” or “hello” to them when I pass them in the street or in the mall even if I have chatted with them in other situations. :bash: That is just the way things are here, though I still haven't gotten used to it. So, I do not have the support that I need right here where I am. There is more, however. Read on.

I have friends in other countries, but I need a different kind of support in order to make this business undertaking a success. I don't want to crowd my ”old” friends with my whining, but I also sometimes need practical input (solutions), which my “old” friends do not have for me..

Without the emotional support base around me, I sometimes whine (and even explode if I bottle things up too long) on, particularly, Twitter. Of course it is a dumb thing to do, and it is bad for any kind of business. But I do need to blow off steam from time to time when shitty stuff happens when I can't even tell anyone what happened. Think of me walking down the street, some stranger greeting me from a window above and then emptying a bucket of water over my head or someone throwing a raw egg at me from a passing car – all just for fun – or someone managing to turn off my water supply, leaving me without water for 24 hours, also just for fun. (I told you that I am in kinda crazy country. :wink: This kind of thing is actually quite normal here, so I shouldn't even talk about it locally, even if I could, as me talking about it locally would likely just antagonize people – or, :lol: , encourage them.) I can often shrug it off, but not always, and the stuff does sometimes make me feel very lonely.

A great deal of the bullying is personal (because I am different in many ways, and I have learned to see that), but a lot of it is not even personal. It is just the way things are here. The bullying has often practical consequences for me and it occasionally affects my self-employment big time as well. I accept that it happens and that I cannot stop it (but that does not mean that I always like it).

I also get trolled online, in various ways. That too is just the way things are; it does not really matter what I do or do not do (though the fact that I am a woman does matter). I need to find a way of limiting it and/or dealing with it much better than I have done so far. I know that I should just ignore trolls, but it is not always easy, and some trolls are not instantly identifiable as trolls. That is also where a support network may make a difference. (Ideally, I will soon be so busy that I won't have time for trolls, but at the start, I will have to focus on my online presence too.)

My real given name happens to be unique in the world. I was going to use it for the third business (for the first time in my life), but its uniqueness means that it is very easy for trolls to target me online. So, instead, I will use a (new) abbreviation of my first name which makes my name combination less rare; it suits me well. In addition, I will use a business name. Presenting myself online with a business name will deter some of the trolls, and I think it will also help stop me from venting online. I picked a business name that signals strength, particularly also to me. It automatically makes me raise my head and straighten my back confidently, which is perfectly in sync with what I want to do, and I love this effect.

I had some other practical challenges to cover, also related to the pranking/bullying, but have meanwhile found solutions for those.

So, I just set up a fake Facebook profile in the hope of collecting enough new “friends” for mutual inspiration and support. I am not so sure it will work. Why would some stranger, say, with a small business want to connect with my fake profile and hear about my eggs and water and trolls and business challenges? Still, I won't know whether it might work unless I give it a shot. Three new friends might be all it takes!

I think that I eventually would like to have a Skype schedule/network because voice contact is a thousand times better than sending characters to someone out there who could be anyone. Years ago, I set up a Skype schedule with a contact in another country when we were both trying to achieve something. We knew each other in real life and the other person was now venturing out on her own too, setting up a small business. In spite of the fact that the other person literally started each conversation with the words “I haven't really done any of the things I said I was gonna do”, which eventually made her back out, I found that having weekly Skype talks with a practically oriented person worked wonders for me.

So, suggestions are welcome! I am sure there are some things that I haven't thought of yet.

(I can also foresee some questions, but this post is already prettttttty long as it is. :mrgreen: )

Kim

PS
My first self-employment of many years (which started in another country) collapsed some time ago; I still have a trickle of income from it. (It was always mostly from other countries, none local.) My brief attempt at a second business very quickly revealed itself as an entertaining way to spend time and money, but nothing more. It did bring me a wonderfully driven and very inspiring (that is mutual!) friend in another country who is also her own boss. :) So, the start for my support network is in place!
Kim
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby SquarePeg » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:43 am

Welcome!

First off, sorry for the dismal circumstances that you're in.

It seems to me that the things that happen to you would make great fodder for an online diary / blog. It could be completely anonymous (as mine is). And even with no readers (or followers or friends) initially, the act of writing was for me therapeutic in itself.

Facebook is scary in that it's really hard to maintain two separate profiles, a real one and an anonymous one. I'm doing it now, somehow, but I don't use the SquarePeg (SP) account very much at all. And I did goof. I friended someone in real life that I intended to friend as SP. It's easier if you use two different browsers entirely. But then if you want to connect to FB via an app on a mobile device, you'd have to stick with just one profile, I'd think. Or two mobile devices. And anyway, I'm pretty sure anonymity on FB is against the terms of service.

That's all for now. But I hope to come back and add more thoughts.
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Kim » Thu Apr 24, 2014 2:48 am

Thanks for thinking along with me! I have already found a different but equally great use for my adventures. :D And, not all of it is dismal, some of it is funny. What also matters is how I react to things, but hey, I am only human, and a listening ear can work wonders.

I don't think the Facebook option is going to work, no, but doing all this got me to focus on this one challenge that I really need to address. I am going to make a list of people from my past, see if I can track them down, reconnect, and set up Skype meetings with them. I used to have a few good buddies to talk with, but one became severely ill and another one changed her life around so drastically that she disappeared.
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Apr 24, 2014 9:53 am

You're certainly welcome to blow off steam here. It's funny, I was just thinking about the challenges an immigrant faces, not just learning a new language, but also figuring out all the customs, nuances, and manners associated with a new country.
How do people in your new country show friendship? Besides throwing eggs and dumping water.

By the way, I do understand practical jokes. A snowball fight, a water balloon fight, short-sheeting a bed, etc, but there's usually an agreement between the people that the jokes are okay. And the line between fun and hurtful is often hard to see. Many times harmless fun turns into bullying. In most cultures today, the kind of activity you describe would be unacceptable, but you say it's the norm. It makes me think of initiation rituals and the fraternity hazings of fifty years ago.

So how do people treat their friends? How close do people stand to each other when they talk? Food is usually a good icebreaker. Sports, movies, crafts are usually good topics of conversation.
Is anyone there interested in traveling? But you probably already know all that.

Good luck, both with your business and with your life.
Elaine Glimme - author - "Temporary Address" and "The Molly Chronicles"
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Kim » Thu Apr 24, 2014 3:25 pm

Hi Elaine,

I have had similar ideas! I too wondered if some of the fun could be like some kind of hazing that I just have to get through. (A lot of it may feel personal but is random, such as the egg-throwing.) It is my third address here, and the town has a bit of a reputation, I believe, so maybe it will simmer down if I just stick it out long enough. Underneath, there is also a sense of warmth sometimes, and people have also helped me (but anonymously so that I can't even always be sure).

I meanwhile have set up one evening of the week as a potential Skype moment with the new friend I mentioned at the bottom of my initial message. It is not a set appointment as we both have to be flexible (professionally), but we will try to catch each other then, and talk. She operates internationally in her own self-employment, travels a lot (is off to Berlin at the moment), and she too runs into various disappointments and challenges. It is easy to share the good moments in her work with a broader audience - they sometimes get her on TV and in the papers; she's an artist - but the darker moments don't catch the spotlights.

There is something else. This third business that I am setting up, not only does it make use of the differences and does it turn what have been my weaknesses here into strengths, it involves talking with lots of people, so it will cater to my own need for that kind of interaction (but won't constitute a support network). It concerns services that are badly needed here and that I turn out to be really good at. Some of the people here already know that (because of a success I scored). So, though I have had my doubtful moments, I am pretty confident I can make it work, once I have had the first clients because a lot of stuff goes by word of mouth. Sure, it is also scary, as I am venturing into new territory.

I have tried to contribute in other ways before (participated in various meetings, for example) and I learned a few things from that. It is hard to build connections here. Trust. Takes a long long time! But, fair is fair, I am also a kinda big city person and this is not a big city. That is another thought that has occurred to me in the meantime, that it could be a good idea to try to refocus a little bit, geographically speaking. (There is one huge city at a few hours' travel from here.)

Regarding moving to other countries, nope, you never know what it will be like in practice. It can unexpectedly work out wonderfully too. (That has happened to me as well!) The thing with cultural differences is that habits etc in other countries are not "good" or "bad", merely different, but with some countries, you just make the click much easier. Countries are like persons. I know that. (But.)

It is wonderful to be able to talk here, get my courage going again, and my perspective back in shape. :D

Thanks so much!

Kim
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby SquarePeg » Fri Apr 25, 2014 9:51 pm

SquarePeg wrote:It seems to me that the things that happen to you would make great fodder for an online diary / blog. It could be completely anonymous (as mine is). And even with no readers (or followers or friends) initially, the act of writing was for me therapeutic in itself.
Here are the additional thoughts....
I find it easier to write something if I know no one will be reading it. It was easier for me to write in my blog when I first started it in 2008. But now I have eight followers, and I exchange comments with them. So I'm constantly censoring myself for fear of offending someone. I've withheld writing about Paganism / Shamanism because I know one of my regular readers is Christian and might find my topic unsettling. Another is from India and knows so much more about relations between India and Pakistan and perhaps even US history (especially as it pertains to colonization and imperialism) that I don't dare venture into those waters. And then there's Elaine right here in this thread who's writing Temporary Address, in which Molly (her dog) and Shadow (my dog) play baseball, so I'm loathe to complain about my hyperactive, slobber-faced dog when he annoys the heck out of me. (Ooops, I just let that escape.)

Anyway, having Skype sessions sounds like a great idea. And I agree with Elaine, you are definitely welcome to blow off steam here.
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sat Apr 26, 2014 11:45 am

Square Peg wrote, "So I'm constantly censoring myself for fear of offending someone. I've withheld writing about Paganism / Shamanism because I know one of my regular readers is Christian and might find my topic unsettling."

Square Peg, me too. I have this feeling that we are all meant too work together, all of us, Christians, Buddhists, Shamans, Pagans, Hindis, Jews, I think we need everyone to be together, because there's a huge mests in the world right now. And I also have fundamentalist Christian friends that I'm scared to offend. There's a United Religions movement, and I think that's what we need to try for.


Square Peg wrote,"And then there's Elaine right here in this thread who's writing Temporary Address, in which Molly (her dog) and Shadow (my dog) play baseball, so I'm loathe to complain about my hyperactive, slobber-faced dog when he annoys the heck out of me. (Ooops, I just let that escape.)"
There are a few things about Molly that I am not sharing. I love her dearly, but some of her misunderstandings and my mistakes in letting them happen are not at all funny.

Border Collies learn words faster than many dogs (Shadow of course not being included in "many dogs") and she knows s**t and f**k. She's always been scared of loud noises, and when she hears those words, even spoken softly and not directed at her, she slinks out to the garage. Oops, that just slipped out.

For me writing has always been therapy and today I've been writing (not for anyone but me to read) about my negative feelings, Jealousy being a big one, and I was describing the opposite feeling. "Each man's joy is joy to me." That's from a song "No Man is an Island". What would it be like if I could be that happy for everyone else? I'd be a very happy person. I think Barbara Sher was born with "each man's joy..."

Kim, this isn't really about your post, and I'm sorry. Your last post sounded more hopeful, and that did make me happy. I'll just repeat, feel free to vent frustration here.

I'm not much help in practical matters, as Skype and computer technology in general is a huge challenge for me. Maybe some people with a better grasp of technology and starting a business can help with more practical questions.

Meanwhile I'll just cheer you on. And I'll tell you that I have found a lot of support on these boards.
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Knight » Sat May 03, 2014 1:23 pm

I heard a story that Mark Twain used to right furious letters full of vitriol at whoever pissed him off which he would give to his wife to mail. She would hold onto them two weeks, then they would throw the letters in the fire. I much prefer that idea to Facebook. We will be supportive, but writing some thoughts here and some on 'burn letters' may be a way to vent without risk of third party reading.

As for the bullying, you *must* do something about that. People don't like thinking of themselves as bad people, so when they do somthing questionable, their first response is to invent a justification ... and the justification then becomes a reason for acting worse.

May I suggest borrowing a page from Ben Frankin's autobiography? He took that natural tendency I just mentioned and reversed it when he had to deal with dealt with the animosity of a rival legislator:

Having heard that he had in his library a certain very scarce and curious book, I wrote a note to him, expressing my desire of perusing that book, and requesting he would do me the favour of lending it to me for a few days. He sent it immediately, and I return'd it in about a week with another note, expressing strongly my sense of the favour. When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions, so that we became great friends, and our friendship continued to his death.


If you are interested, I can try to find you some more to read on the "Ben Franklin effect".
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Re: Obstacles/challenges/support base for being one's own bo

Postby Knight » Sat May 03, 2014 1:31 pm

Timing matters. For example, after doing a favor, people are more likely to do a second larger favor after a wait. However, after refusing, people are more likely to agree to a smaller act immediately than they are later.
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