It came to my attention recently that today is World Entrepreneurs' Day. While I usually dismiss the more questionable "holidays," I thought, why shouldn't small-business owners celebrate a little? After all, we are doing hard but thrilling things. We are living a dream that many others are still dreaming about or aspiring to.
I mentioned this last week in a networking lunch where many members are entrepreneurs or entrepreneurially spirited. I asked the group what they had to celebrate right now.
One person said he was celebrating his cruise and travel business moving out of the red and into the black. Another was proud to say she's leaving her part-time, safety-net sort of a job to focus full-time on her burgeoning bookkeeping business.
As for myself, I celebrated this summer by taking a long, far-away vacation from my business, leaving it in good, well-trained hands.
Here are two ways we all could celebrate being entrepreneurs -- today and every day.
1. Invest in and celebrate ourselves.
I believe that to grow we need to invest in ourselves and celebrate our accomplishments. That can take many forms. Maybe you make time to connect with people by joining a networking group or serving on a board. Maybe you simply get coffee or lunch with a contact you haven't seen in a while or someone new you'd like to get to know.
Maybe you make time to do your own public relations -- to toot your own horn, so to speak. You could write a blog post, share something on LinkedIn, update your corporate bio or practice your elevator speech.
When I take time to update my website or my LinkedIn profile, I feel really good about how I have grown and continue to grow my public relations and communications business. Days when I'm down become a little brighter. And good days become even greater.
Sometimes investing in ourselves also means taking a break, and I did plenty of that this summer. Your business can't flourish if you run yourself into the ground. Work hard when you have to work. But if you can knock off a few hours to go to the pool, read a book, or see a movie, why not?
2. Invest in and celebrate others.
I'm a big believer in paying it forward. Good karma begets good karma. Plus, it just feels good to lift up others. There are so many ways you can invest in and celebrate fellow entrepreneurs.
For starters, do business with them. I'm thrilled every time I get to hire writers and other pros to help me run my business and serve clients.
Make referrals. When I know a pro that another pro could use, I love passing along a name and heartfelt recommendation. If a certain project isn't right for me, I always try to provide a referral. It's the right thing to do for the clients, and I want to help out those in my network.
Endorse people for their work. This can be as easy as making a few clicks on someone's LinkedIn profile, endorsing them for things like digital marketing, project planning, leadership, and more. You could also write a LinkedIn recommendation or Yelp review.
Cheer them on. Like their LinkedIn and Facebook posts. Retweet them. Congratulate them on business milestones.
Ask your fellow entrepreneurs how you can help. Who are your ideal clients, in case I might know one? What's a good referral for you? Can I make any introductions?
Seriously, try celebrating being an entrepreneur every day. If nothing else, you'll get another "official" chance come National Entrepreneur's Day on Nov. 19.