Posted: Thu 8th Oct 2020
Starting a business can be a lonely experience. Having no co-workers is isolating and, particularly if you're a solo-founder, it's hard to find people that understand your experience.
"I initially joined Enterprise Nation for the networking," said Mariko. "When you work by yourself you get lonely and you can learn loads from other people."
The network Mariko went on to create through Enterprise Nation helped her get feedback, meet customers and get the support she needed.
Hiring your first employee can be a daunting task for small business owners. It came up during a monthly meet-up in Bristol when Mariko was thinking of hiring an assistant.
Enterprise Nation members shared their experiences and ideas on how to minimise risk, in particular discussing the potential to start with a part-time hire.
"If you're trying to make a decision by yourself you go around in circles," Mariko said. "People at different stages give you encouragement to try new things."
She added that attending the monthly meet-ups provided accountability because other members checked in to see how things were going.
Mariko leveraged the network to get feedback on her products, which include photography courses, and portfolio.
"I took some of my sample images in and people gave me feedback on them. That was really encouraging. I showed my workshop workbooks and they gave feedback on the layout too," said Mariko.
There's been an important business impact as well. Connections through the platform have led to bookings for Mariko, who specialises in helping "solopreneurs to SMEs 'up' their visual presence online".
"I would strongly advise attending a meeting if you're a new member," she said. "You'll have the potential to give advice and learn something. It's such a relaxed, informal meet up. You're always going to be welcome."
Just starting out on your journey? Enterprise Nation advisers can help you identify what your business needs and provide advice to tackle the challenges you face. Find out more about signing up here.
Enjoyed Mariko's story? Don't miss Brian's, which reveals what can be achieved in lockdown-induced downtime.