There are lots of options out there for bloggers, freelancers, and online entrepreneurs looking to join a community and connect with people, but sometimes you need to go a little deeper than a Facebook Group.
Since starting Lemon and the Sea in March 2015, I had been very resistant to spending money on courses or groups. I thought that I could do it myself: with a little internet research and some practice, I figured I'd have everything up and running quickly. I was wrong.
It's not that I couldn't have taught myself and spent time growing my business without help. I could have. But, it would have taken months if not years to get to where I saw others at right now.
Believe me, I don't have a problem with working hard and I fully believe that you have to figure out what works for your business instead of just repeating what others are doing, but sometimes you need a little help along the way.
That's where joining a great community filled with people working hard along side you is so beneficial. Yes, it can cost money and it takes time to build connections, but when you're in a community of people who think like you and are in all stages of their business, you get a lot more than just a few answers to a Facebook post.
In August 2015, I went through my first week long intensive with BlissBoost, a community run by Charissa of House of Bliss.
It wasn't until we started getting in to this intensive that I realized how much I had to learn (BlissBoost focuses on copy and helping you find your target audience). I was challenged from Day 1 to really dig into my business and myself. And it didn't stop after that one call. It kept going for 6 more days: 6 days filled with thinking outside the box, feedback, encouragement, and fun. And on the other side is now a business that I understand more and a target audience (actually, just one person, Jenna) that I know how to reach.
Why was this the one thing I decided to spend my hard-earned money on? There are a lot of great programs out there, but Charissa spoke my language. She knew exactly where I was at in business and where I wanted to be. (Plus, it was on sale, so it wasn't as difficult to convince myself to invest).
Even if I had paid full price, I wouldn't regret it, because I know how beneficial this is going to be for me and my business. I've seen it at work already: my updated Work with Me and About pages are generating more interest than I've ever had before. (Check them out, they're pretty awesome now!)
Here's why I think you should join a community that really digs into your business and your mindset.
- It makes you think. I thought I knew what I was doing and who I was serving before this intensive, but I really had to focus on what that meant and how I could change and adjust my services to best help my clients.
- It pushes you outside your comfort zone. Since I'm on the East Coast, the calls started at 9:00 pm for me (usually I'm getting ready for bed at that time). Instead of skipping the calls and sleeping, I pushed myself to listen, learn, and implement. So many new ideas about how I can serve all of you came out of this that I never would have thought of without it.
- It encourages you to work hard. Here's the thing about spending too much time looking at what others are doing: at some point it no longer inspires you, but just makes you feel like you'll never get there. That doesn't happen in a community. Yes, there are people who are more successful, but they want you to succeed and they're going to be totally honest about what it took to get there.
- You get great feedback from people you trust. Sometimes you just don't want to put your questions out in to the wide world of the internet because you never know what kind of answers you'll receive. In a small community, you know that everyone is on your side and will give you their best.
- There are great networking opportunities. Whether you're looking to collaborate on a project or just need some feedback on working with a client, you have access to people who have been there, done that, and want to help and connect with you. This is the first place I asked for people to join me on my latest venture (more about that coming soon) and the response was so encouraging.
So, when you're ready to take your business to the next level and invest some time and money into really improving yourself and your services, check out communities or masterminds that will help you do that. You can't rely on free advice and Facebook forever if you really want to grow. Just make sure that you find a group that is going to be helpful, encouraging, and fits your goals.