When you think about investing in your business I’m sure a crazy amount of things come to mind. There are different software and programs on the list to make your processes more streamlined, tools and supplies to help create your product line, graphic or web design services, maybe you think about a business coach or taking a class to help improve your skills. Literally, endless ideas, right?
And yet, one of the simplest, FREE ways to invest in our businesses is one that isn’t talked about nearly enough in the small business circle. Community!
Small businesses need the biggest support systems!
Networking with other creatives in your niche and building partnerships and community can be the difference between a successful handmade business and one that fails. Trust me! Building community around yourself and your business is actually one of the best investments you can make.
Here are a few reasons why…
#1 – MAKE RELATIONSHIPS
It seems like you can’t scroll through your Instagram feed these days without seeing #girlgang plastered all over the place and reminders to find your Tribe! These aren’t just cutesy lingo trends popping up around the internet but actually great reminders of the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are in your corner! So, If you have those moments in the week where you find yourself feeling like you are in this crazy world of working toward your goals all by yourself get out there and make some relationships! Check out a meetup in your area or look up the website of the small business center in your city to see what classes and events they offer. You can even go online to join a few Facebook groups for people with similar interests or reach out to someone on Instagram you admire and say hello to get a conversation going!
And listen up, I know the world isn’t full of extroverts! You may be like, ummm I don’t need anymore relationships, I’m fine with everyone I already know and I’m just going to sit here working on my business and watching Netflix with my cat. And hey, I’m all about that life BUT when push comes to shove, I need my people! Investing time to build friendships with other entrepreneurs and creating conversation can lead to really awesome relationships that make a difference.
#2 – LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
One of my favorite quotes is “if you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room.” You want to surround yourself with people you can learn and grow from. When you are first starting out and trying to tackle so many new things having people around you that you can ask advice from or shadow and see how they do things can be so eye opening. There has been countless times I’ll be scrolling through one of the Facebook groups I’m a part of and see another member post a business tip or talk about their experience with a new software they came across and it’s exactly what I had been looking for! Devoting even just a few minutes a day or week to poke your head in and ask a question or see what others have been posting can open up so many opportunities to learn from others.
#3 – COLLABORATIONS
Meeting other creatives is like adding supplies to your craft room. The next time you have a project to do you have so many incredible resources to take that project to a new level. I see this happen all the time in the online groups I’m a member of! Someone will mention they are looking to create a tshirt line for example. Within minutes you’ll see comments popping up recommending friends who screen print or work with a heat press. Instant collaborations are made!
The more you get to know the community of talented artists, designers, makers, or other awesome people in your groups or meet ups the more likely you are to have the ability to make real creative magic happen with someone for your business. So many times what we can create together surpasses what we can do by ourselves.
#4 – ENCOURAGEMENT
Let’s keep it real. The journey of being an entrepreneur isn’t glamorous and can be anything but easy. It’s literally running toward your goal at full force, passionate and determined with what can feel like the whole world at times, reminding you that there’s a chance of failure. So, having people who genuinely know what those struggle-bus moments are like, can make you feel so much less alone.
Seeing other people’s successes can make you feel empowered and sometimes offer you the encouragement you need to try something new or push yourself in the direction you’ve been afraid to move in. When you invest time and effort into building community among a creative group of people amazing things happen. You’ll notice that there is such a special type of support that’s shared and the community you put time into will be the first one there to remind you, that you can do this. Your friends and family are amazing, but having a tribe of people who truly get it makes such a difference in running a business.
#5 – CREATE CONNECTIONS
We’ve all heard the phrase “it’s who you know.” And while I’m the first to tell you having success it’s sooooo much more than just that, let’s not be naive here. Knowing the right people sure doesn’t hurt! Investing time to go to networking events, attend a meet up, join a mastermind, or just take some time to be active in a facebook group gives you countless chances to meet someone who can literally be a game changer! By getting your name out there and what you do puts your name in someone’s head when they have that perfect opportunity that only you could do. (My very first speaking gig for One Crafty Miss literally came to me via an email from someone I had met while volunteering at a TEDx Talk! I hadn’t even mentioned that I taught or offered workshops!)
On the flip side, by building community and being a part of different networks of people you could meet the next person you need in your life for your business! Creative people tend to flock to one another! Look around and see what kind of talent surround you – maybe the photographer or web designer you’ve been looking for is right in front of you? Always look for connections and how you can benefit from one another!
I’ve included a list of a few of my favorite Facebook groups that are centered around creative entrepreneurs and hosted by some really amazing women with heart for connecting awesome women to one another. (My FREE Facebook group, Handmade by Her, is included of course!)
I encourage you to invest in your biz a little this week and join one or two (or heck, all) of the groups on the list! Give yourself the opportunity to find amazing people and feel that presence of community! And remember, jump on in and introduce yourself to the group and tell them what you do. You never know who you’ll meet!
If you have another favorite Facebook groups or online community that didn’t make it on my list I’d love to hear what it is! Leave a comment below or say hello on Instagram!