One of the most surprising things new entrepreneurs find out is how important it is to build a community with other entrepreneurs. It took me a long time to wrap my head around this concept. When I started my business I saw everyone else as my competition (who wouldn’t?!)

These days anyone, anywhere can be your competitor when running an online business.

That in itself is pretty intimidating. One day, I was talking to another entrepreneur and learned something that stuck with me. She said, “Whatever online business you have, whether it be social media management, project management, freelancer, blogger etc. don’t look at others as competition, but instead look at them as other community members that can help grow your business. The ocean is big enough for all of us.”

Once I changed my view of other girl bosses my business really began to thrive! We are all in this together and I truly do believe in community over competition. If you are hesitant to reach out to other business businesses, let me convince you. Here are some ways that other girl bosses can help grow:

How To Grow Your Business Through Community Over Competition

1. Find Answers – As a newbie or seasoned entrepreneur, there is always something to learn or a new goal to reach. Having a community of other entrepreneurs to go to when you have a question, or if you need some insight from someone more experienced, is so invaluable. In return, I always try to be as helpful as possible in these communities as well. It seems the more I give, the more I get back. TIP: Check Facebook to see if there is a virtual group for your business niche and join!

2. Secure Referrals – When I connected with other girl bosses and mompreneurs at conferences and even online, we take an interest in what each one of us does as we get to know each other. We learn what services, and unique skills we can offer to the world. If I know someone that can benefit from a connection I have, I always do my best to refer them. (Which reminds me, if you ever need a local lifestyle photographer in Austin, this is your girl.)

3. Build A Community – Entrepreneurship can sometimes be an isolating job as many of us work from home. Having a community of other like-minded female business owners can really add value to your life as they can keep you motivated when you had a bad day and just relate to you in the roller coaster ride of life. I’ve found so much support from online communities such as Facebook Groups or Instagram pods and local networking groups.

4. Rise Together – So many people I’ve come to meet whether online or brick and mortar stores have grown and value any collaborations they can do with one another. Whether it be collaborating for a special event or even deciding to go into business with one another. We forget that many times two heads are better than one and the exposure one can receive from working with another business is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up! Not sure where to start? Read more here where you can find potentials partnerships.

5. Show Some LOVE – As a small business owner that puts her blood, sweat, and tears, into blog posts and on social media, I know how hard it seems to get some love and validation. Because of this, I try my best to comment, like, or share any blog posts or social media post from any entrepreneurs that I know. Even a small Instagram stories shoutout can help. It may be silly, but this small gesture shows them that I care about their business and gives them some more exposure at the same time!

Remember that building a community and supporting other girl bosses can really take your business to the next level AND could also build friendships that can last a lifetime. It doesn’t matter if your fellow entrepreneur is a newbie or light years ahead of you, in your same niche or a different one entirely. Push aside your fear and just trust in the connection. My business bestie and I started out down the same path as maker moms, I’ve since moved out of that space and into online marketing, while she is thriving in the handmade space. We still connect almost daily on business advice, new ideas and the occasional manicure.

It turns out, these days anyone, anywhere can be part of your community when running an online business.