Accidental Entrepreneur: How a sense of community shaped my journey as a first-time entrepreneur?

student sitting at table and reading report in folder in daytime

I am definitely not where I was thinking I will be six months ago.

In March 2018, when I moved to Norway from India as a trailing spouse, I was excited about the new landscape, new experiences – miles away from my home country.

Culture shock is real but it’s always a slow realization.

I remember playing tourist in Oslo and learning to navigate in the new city. After three months, I started looking for job opportunities. I was naively confident about my vast experience in my field. I also had experience working as a freelancer, after I quit my job due to the big move.

But all my fears came to life during this time. I didn’t know the language, didn’t have any network or community to lean on or learn the tricks of the Norwegian job market.

While I joined relevant online forums on social channels and lived in different cities in Norway, I continued to apply for job opportunities as well.

Luckily, I got to work with a few startups as a freelance content marketer/journalist which gave me an opportunity to prove myself in the new job market.

The journey was fun but it was just that…Fun!

I didn’t have a plan except that I needed a full-time job in Oslo.

 But as John Lennon has said:

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

I came to know about a volunteer position in the marketing team at PWN Norway through one of my previous supervisors, who was also the President of this organization at that time. After a successful interview, I joined the team in Jan 2020.

The sense of community gave me newfound hope. I was interacting with professionals, just like me, who are either new to this part of the world or are leading the learning process.

A sense of belonging is extremely essential to overcome intense moments of self-doubts and add value to life.

This encounter taught me that there is great comfort in knowing that we are not alone, in feeling overwhelmed while trying to carve a new identity in an unfamiliar environment.

Since then I have witnessed a crazy ride in 2020. I have a decade of experience in the finance and communications industry but in the last 6 months, I have outdone my own expectations – while dealing with Covid-19 lockdowns (like everyone) and some personal chaotic life events.

 This is what I was able to achieve in the second half of 2020 –

  • Established my own company in Norway and started my own Marketing Consultancy (sonalmishra.co), where I help startup and small business owners scale their business by creating their brand voice and leveraging content marketing.
  • Built my brand and network in Oslo with professionals from a mix of industries.
  • Generated a steady revenue stream within a month of starting my business. (I’m ending December 2020 on the highest note!)
  • Worked with 10+ solopreneurs and first-time business owners.
  • Signed 2 corporate clients to collaborate with them for their social media and content strategies.
  • Built my business website from scratch and grew an online community of first-time entrepreneurs & marketers.
  • Launched a passion project, where I interviewed 7+ global business leaders (till Dec 2020) for my upcoming “Entrepreneur Mindset Series”. This series is aimed to inspire first-time entrepreneurs and help them understand how entrepreneurs face similar challenges. These real-life conversations often get ignored as they are not as glamorous as revenue and sales.

    If you also have an inspiring story, I would love to hear from you!
  • Launched a LinkedIn webinar series with Copywriter and Content Marketing Consultant Devina Agarwal in collaboration with PWN Norway.
  • Sealed the deal with my first teammateDevina Agarwal. Devina is a Copywriter at TIDAL Music in Oslo, Norway. She also volunteers for PWN Norway in the marketing team, coaches budding marketing professionals and volunteers for a Norwegian recruitment company called Skillhus.

Why am I making this list?

This list represents the “accidental” part in the article’s title. I’m a proud first-time entrepreneur but my journey started by chance – A push that I needed to trust my husband’s vision for me and see things from a different perspective – from a business owner’s perspective!

This would not have been possible… without the support of my family and friends when I needed it the most. This list is an example of what we could achieve with a little guidance and support from the right people.

We can never know when our kind words and positive actions would encourage someone who desperately needs it.

Working as a volunteer is my way of paying it forward.

I’m proud to say that I’ve discovered my own community with people who are equally motivated as I am, to build connections with like-minded professionals, to develop their skills or competencies, and to share experiences and knowledge.

Connect with me on LinkedIn for more interesting conversations about entrepreneurship, content marketing, personal branding, and copywriting.

(Note: Article was originally published in PWN Norway newsletter in Dec. 2020)

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