April 19, 2024
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How to Find Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

how to find like minded entrepreneurs

Finding your people as an entrepreneur can feel incredibly isolating at times. You have this burning idea or passion project, but no one in your immediate circle truly gets it. Family and friends might support you, but they don’t fully understand the ups and downs of building something from the ground up.

As tough as it is, pushing forward completely alone is seldom the answer. Having even one or two like-minded entrepreneurs in your corner can make all the difference. They can relate to your struggles, offer advice from experience, make helpful introductions, and even collaborate with you.

But finding those kindred spirits is easier said than done when you don’t run in existing entrepreneurial circles.

This ultimate guide will walk you through proven strategies for connecting with like-minded founders so you can build your entrepreneurial dream team.

**Pro Tip:** An *entrepreneurial mindset* is crucial for finding and connecting with like-minded entrepreneurs. Start cultivating these critical skills early on!

Why Finding Your Tribe Matters

Why Finding Your Tribe Matters (2)

Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly lonely endeavor, especially when you first strike out on your own. In the beginning, you might struggle to get traction, bounce from failure to failure, and feel completely starved for guidance.

Surrounding yourself with fellow entrepreneurs who get it makes overcoming those hurdles infinitely easier. Just some of the valuable support an entrepreneurial tribe can provide includes:

  • Inspiration: Hearing how other entrepreneurs brought their visions to life can reignite your passion and drive on tough days.
  • Advice: Seasoned entrepreneurs can provide startup know-how to avoid rookie mistakes.
  • Connections: Your network expands exponentially when plugged into multiple entrepreneurial circles.
  • Potential Partners: Finding co-founders, early team members, and key partners becomes much easier.
  • Resources: From funding opportunities to beta testers, entrepreneurs love helping fellow founders with resources.
  • Accountability: Peer pressure from those also grinding away keeps you focused and motivated.

Building these symbiotic entrepreneurial relationships leads to better ideas forged, more lives changed, and increased chances of startup success all around.

Online Platforms and Social Media Groups

Online Platforms and Social Media Groups

The best place to start searching for fellow entrepreneurs is right online. While in-person meetups and events are invaluable (more on that later), the internet offers a low-effort way to cast a wide net across various entrepreneurial circles.

Dedicated entrepreneurship platforms and social media groups should be your first online stop, including:

LinkedIn

With over 810+ million members, LinkedIn offers unparalleled access to professionals across all industries, job functions, and the world.

Make sure your personal profile is fleshed out and optimized to attract potential co-founders, team members, partners, and investors.

Then seek out and join industry-specific groups like Entrepreneurs Engagement Group and GLOBAL ENTREPRENEUR NETWORK to share your experiences and connect with fellow members. You can also follow thought leaders and influencers in the entrepreneurial space to absorb their insights.

Check LinkedIn Events to find networking opportunities and entrepreneur-focused conferences and seminars in your local area and virtually.

Meetup

Meetup brings people together in person and virtually around specific topics and communities. With over 44 million users worldwide, it’s easy to find entrepreneurship meetup groups no matter your location or specific industry.

Search for general terms like “entrepreneurs,” “startups,” “founders,” and “business owners” along with niche keywords like “female founders,” “black entrepreneurs,” “tech startups,” etc. Use the filters for online and in-person groups, number of members, and location/remoteness to fine-tune your results.

Meetup is ideal for connecting with local peers for co-working sessions, masterminds, founder panels/talks, and more. These intimate events lead to meaningful relationships not possible through bigger networking conferences and seminars alone.

IndieHackers

IndieHackers is an open community of founders and developers sharing insights on bootstrapping profitable online businesses. With over 150,000 members, you can easily strike up conversations by commenting on blog posts, asking questions in the forum, and joining subgroups focused on topics like growth marketing, SaaS products, side projects, and specific programming languages.

Indie Hackers also spotlights new products launched by community members so you can offer feedback and encouragement. Use their advanced search functionality to connect with members in your city and niche.

GrowthHackers

True to its name, GrowthHackers attracts entrepreneurs obsessed with rapidly growing startups. With over 100,000 members spanning a variety of industries and specializations, it’s a hotbed of actionable, pragmatic conversations around effective growth tactics.

Post specific questions about your startup or niche in the forums to solicit feedback from the knowledgeable community. And check out the virtual events calendar for digital networking opportunities.

Reddit

For no-holds-barred founder conversations check out subreddits like r/Entrepreneur and r/EntrepreneurRideAlong. Here you can get brutally honest feedback on business ideas, poll fellow entrepreneurs with specific questions, and read through insightful AMAs with successful founders.

To go niche, search for subreddits related to your industry like r/girlboss and r/ITManagers.

Co-Working Spaces and Local Meetups

Online communities provide invaluable entrepreneurial connections across geographical barriers. But bonding through in-person events and shared workspaces heightens relationships to another level.

If your budget allows, join a local co-working space or be diligent about attending startup and founder meetup events whenever possible.

Co-Working Spaces

Co-working spaces have exploded in popularity precisely because they foster tight-knit communities around entrepreneurship. When you work alongside fellow hustling founders day-in and day-out, powerful professional and personal connections form organically.

Vet the culture and community of any co-working space before joining. Ensure coding bootcamps, accelerators, or other startup programs are run on-site to indicate an entrepreneurial membership base. Popular options like WeWork, Industrious, and Impact Hub often host workshops, pitch events, mentor hours, and other programming to encourage internal networking too.

Case Study:Lisa Wang, founder of SheWorx and one of the world’s top female entrepreneurs, credits WeWork for much of her success:

“I have to give a huge shout out to WeWork, where I’ve been a member for five years now. If it wasn’t for that community that I was immersed in every day going into an office filled with just startups and founders and entrepreneurs, I probably would have not had the success I’ve had.”

Wang highlights the power of surrounding yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs daily—in her case literally working next to fellow founders grinding away.

Local Meetup Groups

Attending startup events and entrepreneur-centric gatherings in your city regularly can significantly expand your network.

Check out Meetup, Eventbrite, LinkedIn Events, and Facebook Groups for local happenings. Start small by attending talks, panels, mixers, etc then build up to facilitating your own meetups once established in the community.

Quick Tip: Bring a fellow entrepreneur as your +1 to these events for built-in bonding opportunities!

Some meetups will have you pay small fees to attend while others are free. Be respectful by giving back or Get creative by organizing your own events, co-working or co-learning sessions, and workshops open to the entrepreneurial community.

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Conferences and Industry Events

Entrepreneur-focused conferences and industry events promise prime networking opportunities—just be intentional in your approach. Follow these conference strategies to maximize connecting with your people:

Do Your Research

General startup conferences like Startup Grind Global and niche industry events like SaaStr Annual attract thousands of eager entrepreneurs. But make sure any event you attend directly serves your goals and niche.

Vet the speaker list, agenda topics, expected attendees, and past programming before registering and booking

travel. Look for evidence of ample open networking time so you’re not just passively sitting in sessions back-to-back.

Craft Your Pitch

Inevitably you’ll be asked “What do you do?” countless times at entrepreneur-heavy conferences. Prepare a quick, compelling pitch that explains your mission and gets conversation flowing. Memorize this!

Example: “I’m building an AI productivity assistant for distributed teams. We integrate with Slack, Trello, and Asana to help remote teams collaborate efficiently through ambient notifications and automated updates. Currently raising a seed round—I’d love your thoughts on early traction and potential partners.”

Collect Contact Info

Conferences are prime territory for relevant connections but the hustle doesn’t stop when you walk out the door. Collect contact information from promising new connections right then and there.

Sync your calendars to solidify a virtual coffee chat. Connect on LinkedIn and social media. And follow up within a week with personalized outreach while your conversation is fresh.

Attend Virtual Events

During COVID lockdowns, entrepreneurs adapted by moving events online through virtual conference platforms. And these digital events are here to stay thanks to flexible access and lower costs.

Platforms like Hopin and Run The World enable participants to network through group video chats, 1-on-1 meetings, interactive booths, and gamification. Take advantage of virtual options to expand your networking reach from anywhere.

Networking Through Educational Programs

Alternative educational programs geared towards entrepreneurs offer built-in networking opportunities ripe for bonding. Consider these options to organically foster connections over weeks or months of shared learning:

Digital Courses

Online entrepreneurship courses bring together like-minded founders for collaborative learning and encouragement. Top providers like Startup School and One Million Startups attract participants across industries and locations for sharing ideas and forming relationships.

For example, On Deck founded offers some of the top fellowship programs connecting entrepreneurs across various niches, like Creator Economy, Crypto, and Climate Tech. The selective cohorts of vetted participants network 24/7 through online forums and virtual meetups over a multi-week curriculum.

Mentorship Programs

Seeking guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs allows you to tap into their networks too. When accepted into selective programs like SCORE and Entrepreneurs’ Organization, you gain a trusted mentor and plug into a community of growth-oriented founders.

Ask to be introduced to relevant contacts from your mentor’s network whenever possible. Over time as the relationship develops, also inquire about joining a mastermind group or advisory committee they participate in for exponential network growth.

Online Incubators/Accelerators

Early-stage startup incubators and accelerators are shifting online too. These intensive bootcamp-style programs offer mentorship, resources, and tactical startup training to small founder cohorts.

Graduating from top programs like Y Combinator or Techstars puts you on the radar of investors while embedding you in supportive alumni networks. Other niche options like The Startup Factory for black and Latinx founders provide targeted entrepreneurial community support.

The Art of Networking: Strategies for Meaningful Connections

Attend enough local meetups and entrepreneurial conferences armed with business cards at the ready and networking feels second nature. But fostering genuine connections that evolve into valuable relationships requires intention and skill.

Implement these entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur networking strategies for maximum impact:

Adopt an Abundance Mentality

View every new entrepreneur you meet as a potential way to exchange value, not a threat. There is infinite room for anyone offering a unique value proposition, team, and vision. Position yourself as eager collaborators first and competitors second.

Give Before Receiving

The best entrepreneur networks practice the “double network effect,” with each founder actively giving support, insight, and access to their contacts without expecting immediate reciprocity [2]. Sincere generosity plants seeds for serendipitous collaboration down the road.

Ask Thoughtful Questions

Skip boring small talk and dive right into big picture vision and challenges with thoughtful open-ended questions. “How’d you come up with the idea?” “Where do you envision the company in five years?” Foster a genuine back-and-forth flow. And follow up on previous conversations by asking for progress reports.

Provide Value Adds

Get creative in supporting fellow entrepreneurs when possible. Could you connect them to prospective partners or team members from your network? Volunteer your specific expertise such as growth marketing tactics or UX design feedback? Extend value without expecting anything in return.

Maintain Connections

Save contact details during very first encounter then pop regular check-ins and sharing relevant content. Comment on social posts, congratulate successes, ask for advice to stay top of mind. These micro-interactions aggregate into meaningful relationships and partnerships.

With an abundance mindset and genuine desire to add value, your network will organically grow and generate collaboration opportunities.

Collaborating with Established Entrepreneurs and Celebrities

Beyond networking amongst early-stage founder peers lies huge potential in connecting with celebrity entrepreneurs and influencers. These established founders have hard-won industry insights, key relationships, and the shine to attract attention to burgeoning business ventures.

But first you must catch their eye and demonstrate serious credibility.

Provide Value From Afar

Follow celebrity entrepreneurs online and engage consistently with their content—reacting, commenting, sharing, etc. Provide thoughtful feedback showing deep understanding of their offerings based on personal experience.

Float casual offers to test or review products as an influencer if relevant. Share startup stories and advice openly when appropriate without obvious askes.

The goal here is demonstrating genuine support for weeks and months to organically catch their attention.

Attend Appearances

Opportunities to connect IRL might arise if celebrity entrepreneurs visit your city for interviews, talks, or appearances. Attend and ask thoughtful questions that show knowledge without overt pitching. Follow up afterwards with a short, specific ask around value you provide, not seeking something.

Example: “Loved your talk tonight around scaling culture and values during rapid growth. As a team development coach for startups, I’d love to take you to virtual coffee to get your perspective on my cultural assessment framework.”

Partner on Initiatives

Propose partnerships between your offerings that provide the celebrity entrepreneur clear value. Offer complimentary services or products that support their mission.

This demonstrates confidence in your abilities while tapping into their audience and credibility. Just ensure the partnership makes logical sense before reaching out.

Case Study

Jess Ekstrom, founder of Headbands of Hope, leveraged multiple strategies that ultimately grabbed the attention of celebrity entrepreneur Daymond John. After cold emailing and pursuing the Shark Tank star for years trying to get his ear, Ekstrom realized she needed to provide value from afar first.

She optimized his brand’s Wikipedia page, freely offered PR support around his book launch, and only then politely asked for a short call. Her perseverance paid off when John agreed to mentor Ekstrom and invest in Headbands of Hope [3].

Supporting Each Others Growth

Once connected into entrepreneurial networks online and locally, shift focus to nurturing those relationships for mutual growth and support.

Share Resources & Knowledge

What information, tools, or connections can you freely provide fellow entrepreneurs without expectation of reciprocation? Perhaps an introduction to a talented developer looking for startup experience or early-customer perspective on their product roadmap?

Prioritize sharing actionable resources and knowledge within your entrepreneur community whenever possible.

Lift Others Up

There is simply no room for unhealthy competition amongst entrepreneur peers. Instead make conscious effort to promote and celebrate the successes of others by engaging with their content and wins online and off.

Sign up to provide user testimonials for their launches. Share funding announcements across your platforms. And rally support requests from your contacts when appropriate.

Spot Collaborative Opportunities

Continuously scan for potential intersections between your entrepreneurial peers’ offerings and customer bases with your own. Could jointly pursuing sales partnerships, integrated technology, or new products better serve shared target users?

Proposing innovative collaborations needn’t require intensive founder meetings. Initial exploration starts simply by asking “What if?”

Contributing to the Broader Entrepreneurial Community

Once you start receiving value from fellow founders, look for opportunities to give back by supporting the broader entrepreneurial community too.

Participate in Charity Initiatives

Leverage your startup to amplify charitable efforts supporting entrepreneurship at large, like raising donations or volunteer sign-ups. Contribute services and products for fundraising auctions and drives.

For example

For example, CareCounts founder Sarah Rambert organizes Founders Do Good, an annual holiday giving campaign from startups to children in foster care. Fellow entrepreneurs across industries pitch in services and products to be packaged for underserved youth.

Host Public Events

As your entrepreneurial network and credibility grows, pay it forward by hosting events, panels, and workshops for aspiring founders in your community. Topics might range from “Starting Your Ecommerce Brand” to “Pitching Potential Investors.” Invite respected entrepreneurs from your network to participate as well.

Consider hosting virtual teach-ins promoting entrepreneurship for marginalized groups like women, veterans, or people of color.

Launch Educational Initiatives

Take your giveback one step further by launching targeted educational initiatives if embedding mentorship suits your bandwidth and skill sets.

For example, create a 12-week incubator for student startups at a local university. Or partner with community leaders on a digital entrepreneurship program for underserved minority youth. Programs centered on hands-on learning opportunities catalyze real business creation.

Wrapping up How to Find Like-Minded Entrepreneurs

Embarking on the entrepreneurial rollercoaster alone makes an already bumpy ride feel downright treacherous at times. Connecting with like-minded founders who intimately understand the high highs and low lows makes reaching the ultimate vision infinitely more achievable—and enjoyable.

Implement the strategies within this guide—online networking, local events, conferences, educational programs, genuine relationship building—to actively build your entrepreneurial tribe. Prioritize giving before receiving and aligning around collaborative values.

Soon you’ll have sounding boards for bold ideas, co-founders to divide and conquer tasks, introductions to game-changing partners, and cheerleaders celebrating all the mini-wins along the way.

We’d love to hear about your journey finding your fellow entrepreneurs! Let the Boss Houz team know how we can assist further at https://bosshouz.com/free-ebook/.

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