A Solution Space for Freelancers & Solopreneurs – Another Audience for Action LearningTraditionally, Action Learning takes place within large corporations. A new program, Your Solution Space, found a broader application of Action Learning that can benefit many more constituents than was initially thought after a successful trial in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Feelancers and solopreneurs enjoy more flexibility, and the freedom to work. There are many digital nomads in this part of the world, connected mainly through social media platforms. Their nomadic lifestyle can be an obstacle for creating meaningful connections within such a transient community. Action Learning can connect individuals with other individuals to build an alternative community for business owners.
Your Solution Space was created as a series of Action Learning-style workshops for freelancers and entrepreneurs associated with one of the co-working spaces catering to digital nomads in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The aim is to provide a cost-free platform, in a safe environment for individuals to attend, on a volunteer basis, meeting once per week prepared to help others, and receive help as well. Participants are encouraged to share personal, as well as work-related problems that require alternative perspectives.
Action Learning workshops for individuals compliment the idea of co-working that those in a traditional corporate environment experience daily. This method provides a semi-formal platform to bring these transient individuals together, and facilitates life-changing conversations amongst another leadership practice cohort. Business strategy, sustainability of income, and time management are common challenges discussed in these forums. The most common issue for freelancers and solopreneurs is the blurred line between their personal lives and their work lives. The underlying struggles for this group in Chiang Mai, are focus, motivation and loneliness. When exploring the root cause of a problem, the group would inevitably drift from the work issues to the personal issues, and from the personal issues to the work issues. Having a safe, quieter space to connect with other business owners was a boon to creativity & problem-solving.
Participants are encouraged to pause and reflect, which in turn allows them to explore more than just the symptoms of a problem. Through deeper discussions, they realize they are creating deeper connections with each other. Discussions among these participants are intimate. The Action Learning process enables participants to establish a high level of trust among each other in the span of a single session. These workshops offer discussions to assist these individuals with their issues that can benefit the future of their businesses.
In their first year, 130 participants have participated in 24 workshops. Graduates return often to help new participants, as they want to help others and inherently benefit from listening to new problems. Programs such as these have been cost-prohibitive to this group. Your Solution Space has created new opportunities for success for these single business owners and is contributing toward a Better World.
“This was my first encounter with Action Learning as a process for gaining fresh insight into the challenges and then understanding where the solutions lay. What I found most helpful was the different perspectives each person exposed through their asking empowering questions.”
“There is value in talking about personal things to perfect strangers. Everyone has something to offer.”
“No team, no gain.”