Surrounding Yourself with the Right People - The Content Experiment
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Surrounding Yourself with the Right People

The truth is many small businesses don’t succeed. The health and success of your business don’t necessarily equate to who works the hardest (even though hard work is a BIG part of it).

Your success and staying power depend on WHO you surround yourself with and HOW you show up for them.

Today I’m talking about the other people in (and around) your business—your business friends, the people you mastermind with, the leaders and members of programs you’re involved in (both paid and unpaid), your clients, and so on.

If you take one thing away from today’s episode, I hope it’s a desire to find the right people to help you grow as a business owner, so you can grow your business.

Listen in!

Mentioned in This Episode


Welcome to episode 117 of The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever-moving targets in any business and it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it ALL right, ALL of the time. You have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content to find what works for you, what increases value for your audience and what grows your business. And most importantly, what feels good for you.

I’m Abby Herman, content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so-called gurus think is the right thing; it’s about you and your business. Your lifestyle and, frankly, your values and belief systems.

You get to do business in a way that works for you.

If you’re new to the podcast, thanks for stopping by! I’m really happy to have you and I think you’ll find this podcast to be full of no-nonsense support to help inspire you to get your message out there and give you the actionable steps you need to make it happen. If you like what you hear, hit the subscribe button so you don’t miss another episode.

Have you been listening for a while? Thanks for sticking around. I’m guessing if you’re a repeat listener, you’re liking what you’re hearing. So I want to tell you something…I love doing this podcast…I love the interviews and the solo episodes and getting this information into your earbuds.

But it takes a lot of time, and financial resources to get it done. So I would SO appreciate it if you’d pay it forward. Would you take five minutes–maybe less!–and go to your podcast app right now to leave this podcast a five-star rating and review? You can probably get it done while you’re listening to this intro!

Ratings and reviews are what help tell Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and all the other platforms (and me!) know that you like what you’re hearing. And it helps to get the podcast in more earbuds…so others can benefit from the information I’m throwing down on a regular basis.

Today’s episode is brought to you by Content Mastery Lab, a membership community that supports business owners by helping you through identifying the right content to create for your audience–from market research to ideation to creation, interation and publication. It offers support, feedback, community, accountability and more.

Because you can’t just sit down and decide you’re going to create content for your business. You need a plan and you need to space to tweak and adjust that plan when needed.

Sometimes it takes some time to get there. You have to try out a few things…experiment with different types of content, do something you’ve never done before. Make a little tweak and change to see how your audience reacts.

But luckily, you were experimenting, rather than creating an entire overhaul of your content strategy. Right?

That’s what we do inside Content Mastery Lab, my membership community.

Stop floundering with trying to figure it all out yourself and start creating content with the confidence that you’re on the right path.

Join us monthly or quarterly. Or commit to a whole year for extra 1:1 time with me and quarterly planning parties where we work through your content together in an intimate group.

Head to for more information and to sign up and use the coupon code podcast to try out your first month for $1.

Speaking of community, that’s exactly what we’re talking about today. Surrounding yourself with the right people to help you grow as a business owner. Because we can’t do this business thing alone.

I’ve been in business part time since 2007 and full time since 2013. That’s a long time in the small business world.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20% of U.S. businesses fail in their first year–for various reasons, like there was no market need, lack of business model, poor product offering, lack of funds.

And according to Investopedia, only 25% of small businesses make it to 15 years or more. If you count the years I was part time, I’m at 14 years and I’m pretty confident I’ll make it to 15.

I can cite a lot of reasons why I think I’ve made it this long–and I will, in episode 123, my anniversary episode in about six weeks.

But I will tell you what I think is the biggest asset to any business and the way you, too, can defy the statistics. It’s the one thing that can debunk all the reasons I just cited for businesses not succeeding. If you have this one thing (and you work incredibly hard), you’ll make it.

What is that thing?


I’m not talking about team members and contractors either–though employees and contractors are an integral part of so many businesses.

But today I want to talk about the other people in (and around) your business.

I’m talking about your business friends, the people you mastermind with, the leaders and members of programs you’re involved in (both paid and unpaid), your clients and so on.

Your success depends on surrounding yourself with the right people AND showing up for them.

Business Friends
Do your business owner friends challenge you? Are you friends with people who are in the same industry as you? Complementary industries? Totally outside your industry?

I think having friends in all these categories is incredibly important in your growth and development as a business owner.

I know several people who do about the same thing as I do. I don’t view them as competition, but rather people who bounce ideas around with me, and as people who I can refer people to. And they do the same with me. It’s a win-win.

I also have friends whose businesses complement mine. Someone who teaches metrics for business owners, one who does Facebook ads, a photographer, a friend who’s in the podcast space and one who works with leaders on leadership development. All of these friends are people who I could go to for help and support–and they’re also people who I can send clients to. And I have.

And I have business friends who are completely outside my industry altogether. These friends include a psychologist, a corporate trainer and a professional organizer. These women give me perspective–both personally and professionally–that I can’t get anywhere else.

All the business friends that I have have played a different role in my business. They all bring something different to the table, and some of them may not even know that they’re at the table. But I take something away from each of them and that makes me a better leader and business owner. And I hope they’re able to take something away from my friendship too!

Masterminds, Coaches & Colleagues
Beyond business friends, I believe that colleagues in programs and masterminds that you’re in and the coaches and leaders of those programs are a huge part of your business growth.

I’m of the mindset that at a certain point you need to “pay to play.” By this, I mean that you may need to pay money in order to be in a community with the people who will help you go to the next level.

I’ve done this so many times, even in the days when I was seriously bootstrapping. I’ve hired coaches, paid for masterminds, joined paid (and free!) programs where I knew my ideal client was hanging out. And I’ve joined groups where people who are ahead of me in business are hanging out.

Think of it this way. Before the internet, your circle of friends and influence were generally those who you came into contact with on a regular basis–people in your geographic area.

Today, it’s so easy to connect with people from across the globe. People who you never would have met if it weren’t for the internet. What a great time to be alive, that our worlds and our minds can be opened up through connections with people who are from completely different cultures and experiences than us. I think that’s a gift, and one that I try to capitalize on by joining groups and expanding my network and horizons.

And the bonus is that it helps me as a business owner and as a person. Again, I hope that I’m able to bring the same to others.

How do you feel about the groups you’re in–both paid and unpaid? Do you feel challenged by the content and the people, or do you avoid certain groups altogether? Are you in groups and programs where you’re learning things that you need in order to be a better business owner or person?

Clients & Customers
Back when I first started my business, it was very transactional. If you don’t know my story, the short version is that I started my business in 2007 out of necessity: I needed to make extra money because my role as an elementary school teacher wasn’t paying the bills.

My freelance writing career was launched, but I wasn’t very happy in it. I lowballed project bids because I wanted the paycheck–not because I was excited about the project or thought I was a good fit.

As time went on, I connected with some pretty amazing clients. And as I grew into my business and my business grew into an actual business (not a freelance gig), I realized how important those clients were to me.

Some of my clients have become friends. Some have become accountability buddies. All of them I enjoy talking to. And many of them have become really important business connections–because I can connect them to other people I know and vice versa. I have one client who is about a year into her podcast and I’ve been able to refer four of her interview subjects, which helps both the interviewer and interviewee.

I wouldn’t be able to say this if I didn’t have amazing clients and a really solid network of people around me. My clients align with my values and beliefs and I respect their professionalism and desire to grow themselves and their businesses.

Do you feel the same about your clients? Do they challenge you? Do you enjoy their company? Do you believe in the work they’re doing? Having the right clients can help you feel more aligned in what you’re doing–which makes doing the work a whole like easier and fulfilling.

My question to you is: Who are you surrounding yourself with? If you take one thing away from today’s episode, I hope that it’s a desire to find the right people–the right business friends, the right coaches and masterminds and the right clients–to help you grow as a business owner, so you can grow your business.

If you’re looking for a community of really motivated and supportive business owners AND you’re ready to start experimenting with content and marketing in your own business–without having to do all the guesswork yourself, remember that you can join us inside the Content Mastery Lab and use the coupon code PODCAST to get your first month for $1. Pricing starts at just $97 a month after that.

If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. Tag me at @abbymherman and @thecontentexperiment. The more you share, the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners, just like you, who need to hear the message that they are not alone.

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