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Toronto skyline

Entrepreneurs: You are not alone

May 17, 2018

As I sat, staring down at a stunning view of Lake Ontario from the 54th floor of the TD Bank Tower, surrounded by people I barely knew and yet who I felt knew me so well, I was reminded how much my soul needed that experience.

It’s lonely at the top.

We’ve all heard the cliché.

Leadership is lonely. Cliché though it may be, it's true.

And for small business owners, I find it can be particularly so. You can’t talk to your coworkers about your struggles without fear of causing THEM to worry. Frequently, significant others or parents or friends don’t really get the unique responsibility of owning a business.

But each year when I go to the Counselor’s Academy Spring Conference, I spend four days surrounded by people who get it. This was the case as I looked out over the city of Toronto.

They feel that acute loneliness, and we bond nearly instantly over the weight and pressure of supporting not only our own family, but a family of families.

And at Counselor’s Academy, I get the added bonus of being surrounded by the owners of other public relations agencies. So, they REALLY get it.

The annual investment of attending the conference is one of the few times I don’t think of it as investing in the business. I’m investing in myself.

Entrepreneurs are often glorified on the covers of Inc. and Fast Company. The hours, sacrifices and struggles are worn proudly as badges of honor.

But that life is unsustainable and, for many small business owners, unrealistic and unsatisfying. We’re not all trying to be Mark Zuckerberg. Many of us choose to do strong, powerful work; we build smart teams and work toward an integration of business and family that brings us fulfillment. We don’t want to be the biggest or the richest, we just want to be the best for our clients and employees.

For four days each year, I’m surrounded by 150 agency leaders doing their best, sharing of themselves to strengthen their peers, and striving to learn, grow and be fulfilled.

It’s a chance to gain perspective, find sanity in camaraderie, feel normal and understand that, while it may be lonely at the top, I am not alone. None of us are really alone, we just have to find the people who are good for our souls and make the time to be with them.

Tags: #entrepreneur #agencylife #PRagency #agencyowner #smallbusiness

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate Snyder, APR

Kate believes words have power, and uses that power to help P&G's clients make an impact in their communities.

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