So the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Well you know what, it also takes a village to raise a startup.
Whether it a children's clothing line, a handcrafted rocking chair business or an indie author, a village is vital in getting startups off the ground. Just like small children, new ventures need nurture, love and support, and not just from their creator, but also from their "extended family" too.
It may be a girlfriend who is a guru at writing media releases, a sister-in-law who happens to also be a professional photographer, or a grandmother to occupy the actual children of the village, many people are involved in getting a startup from crawling, to walking, to running. These precious allies do it out of love and generosity and the goodness of their hearts.
Over the past six months I have watched and personally experienced this phenomena. After the birth of her first child, a close friend was unable to find a rocking chair that looked good, was comfortable and was affordable. All the stylish comfy rockers were in the thousands of dollars and with a newborn and now one income, that price range was definitely out of reach.
So, being the entrepreneurial spirit that she is, she took to creating an online business. She designed a range of rockers, sourced a manufacturer and now supplies handcrafted rocking chairs that would look at home on the pages of Vogue Living, but at a price point that is much more new mum friendly.
Her village has been working double-time. Her husband, grandmother, in-laws and friends, have all chipped in to not only help with the new bub, but also give her space and time to work on the business. Time is tight and highly valuable but her productivity levels would make any employer green with envy.
The indie author definitely needs a village. I have a village behind me and its largely due to their ongoing support that I am getting where I am going. From the day the book was conceived my village got involved; my mum read early chapters and my cousin, a university lecturer in creative arts, gave advice on direction and story line. At times when I thought I could not write anymore, my village rallied and encouraged me to keep going.
Now that the book is out, my village is in full swing. Friends have helped with publicity material, connected me with useful industry types and cheered and clapped at launch parties as I perform my first ever reading for an audience. My Village Chief is my partner Sean, he has been by my side every step of the way and in every sense of the phrase. Sean has travelled with me on tour, put up decorations, calmed pre-launch nerves, handled book sales, and believed in me from day one.
So how does one thank the village? Profusely, but the reality is they don't mind helping and that is the beautiful thing about the village. They don't mind investing time and energy as they know it will be returned. That is what being in a village is all about, that is what makes a village so strong; knowing that its members are there for each other.
Whether it is a new baby or a new venture, a village plays a vital role in seeing it grow and blossom.