Thursday, March 10, 2011

Building Your Support Team

The theme of networking, making connections, and amassing groups of great supportive people around you has been coming up a lot lately for both Shelly and I. In the last two months I've been asked to join 3 entrepreneurial support groups, have made some amazing connections with like minded folks and witnessed the power of community manifest itself in a few kick-ass projects.

It started with a presentation at Noise Pop by WilloToons, Don't DIY Alone. That got me thinking about how many collaborations I'm already a part of and how much I enjoy working that way. Then I started noticing posts by some of my favorite bloggers talking about how to use connections and building community. For the last week and a half I've been following The Right-Brain Business Plan video summit and I'm amazed by the community that has sprung up around Jennifer Lee and her book. It's not just people who bought the book and love what she's doing, it's peers who want to help spread the word and be a part of this awesome conversation.

It's a somewhat stereotypical trait of both entrepreneurs and artists to be the lone wolf struggling quietly by yourself, but I see that image changing for the better. Surrounding yourself with like-minded, supportive people can help you in so many ways.

I'll go back to those entrepreneurial groups. It's amazing how motivated you can feel after hearing all the amazing things others are doing all on their own. It's also a great way to get advice from people who "get it." And sometimes just being able to dump all the frustrations, fears, and overwhelm into a group that has been there keeps you going forward.

Collaborations are a great way to get your creativity flowing. There are so many projects out there to jump into for a fun jump start. But also think of what you could do if you asked a few creative friends to help you build a website, organize a craft fair, or post on each other's blogs. We should all be making use of the talent that surrounds us.

Use Twitter and Facebook to connect to others doing similar things. Comment on blogs to build relationships. Call up your friends and go to events where you can meet amazing people in person. Ask other entrepreneurs to form a group that meets once a month for drinks or coffee. But whatever you do, don't go it alone.

What communities, collaborations or groups are you a part of? How have they helped you?

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc.

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!


Jen (Mama's Magic Studio) said...

oh, this is so important! connections and support are vital, and for me personally SF Etsy has done a huge amount to provide needed community and connections. The team has helped me in more ways than I can list!

I think with these sorts of things "you give what you get" -- if you're looking for community and connections, you need to be willing to put yourself "out there." It takes some courage (especially for those of us who tend to be shy) and sometimes sacrifice (time and energy). But reaching out and being willing to give of yourself will come back to you many times over. All about karma, IMHO!

Lightbox SF said...

I can't believe I didn't think to mention SF Etsy and the other groups on Etsy. They are indeed an amazing resource, although it's probably safe to assume most of you reading this are familiar with them.

If you're not do some checking into Etsy teams and join one that fits your needs.

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