Hear that sound? It’s your unfinished project, taunting you, again. Yep, there it is. Still hanging around, in all its incomplete glory. Some of my peskiest ones are home-decor related. Don’t look too closely, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got a half-finished DIY for every room of the house. And so, when I chose to take on a far bigger project–starting a side business–I knew I needed to do things differently.
I recently attended a workshop called Start Finishing from the legendary Charlie Gilkey. Surrounding (Read Part 1 of this article to become equally convinced.) I sensed setting up a support network would be critical for me, since starting a side gig would be a long-term task.
Let’s Do This, Together
If I intended to pull this off, I wouldn’t be able to rely solely on the bursts of enthusiasm that typically bring me through projects. And so, I set off on a hunt for pack members. I scoured online communities, reached out to people I know, and looked for gatherings in my hometown.
Over the course of the next two months, I became obsessed with my success-pack search. Though I work full time, I sent out feelers during free time: in the mornings before work, while watching TV at home, and on weekends. Once I got going, I went from having almost no resources, to gathering more than I knew what to do with.
Would-Be Entrepreneurs And Bloggers: There Are Tons of Resources Out There
By getting a little brave and reaching out, I learned an important lesson: There are tons of success-pack resources out there. Here’s a list I’ve found helpful.
RESOURCES: NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE
Blogging Courses from WordPress. My blogging journey began with a free online class from WordPress, Blogging 101: From Zero to Hero. As promised, I went from no blog to fully functional one in 30 days. Granted, I devoted significant time to it each day, and I dove headfirst into the community provided. But the structure paid off, and I’ve loved blogging ever since. If you’re curious, give it a try!
Live Your Legend (LYL). If you want to surround yourself with can-do types, see if there’s an LYL local group in your city. This global movement is dedicated to helping people find work they love. See the TED talk from founder Scott Dinsmore. Tragically, Dinsmore passed away in the summer of 2015, but the community he built lives on with enthusiasm.
Facebook Communities. I found a few good ones early on, and they helped me feel supported right away. I’m amazed by the active encouragement strangers give each other in online groups like Blog Share Learn, Design Your Own Blog, and The Women of Midlife. Search an activity, and you’re sure to find a FB group talking about it. It may take some trial and error to find the right ones, so don’t be shy. Take part in the conversation, and start picking up new skills.
Mastermind Groups. If you’d benefit from regular check-ins with a small group, I highly recommend tracking down one of these. Masterminds, which typically happen as video chats, bring together 3-5 people working toward sharpening business and personal skills. They share ideas, provide accountability, and track progress.
I love living in a world where I can meet soul sisters across the globe. There are three of us in my mastermind: an English teacher in Germany and an artist in New York. Lucky for me, their group had an opening after someone dropped out. I was super impressed when I discovered these crafty ladies had created an ebook together last year. Check out their workbook Stoke Your Creative Fire.
Tracking Wonder. Someone in this online community blows my mind every time I visit. The group serves mission-driven professionals and has the tagline, “Be radical. Lead with your ideal.” Its community has an active forum that shows people living this out every day. Their projects help me see beyond limitations I put on my own ideas.
Rising Tide Society. This group, for small business owners in creative industries, encourages members to “grab a cup of coffee and start learning.” In addition to their online support on topics like blogging, branding, and life-work balance, the group hosts TuesdaysTogether meetings in cites across the United States. (Yes, they happen at cool coffee shops.)
Fizzle. In a world where we expect online stuff to be free, it can sometimes feel jarring to be charged for something. But Fizzle, Honest Online Business Training, is a shining example of a principle we should all embrace: Good content is worth paying for. The site features a host of video classes on topics like video production, social media, and connecting with anyone.
RESOURCES IN MY HOMETOWN (These Are Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.) Check your Region for Something Similar.
Twin Cities Blogger Collective. I’m super pumped to have discovered this crew of capable women, who write about a bevvy of things like this:
- Recipes: Why haven’t I made yet Lindsey Schaefer’s Spicy Vegetarian Beer Chili?
- Frugal living: See Heather’s Monthly Guide for When to Buy
- Gardening: Check out the Recreational Gardner’s DIY Patio Furniture Spray
- Social media marketing: Learn from Jenna Redfield’s 10 Helpful Facebook Groups for Creatives
- Books: Read Laura VanZandt’s review for Children’s Multicultural Book Day, Seven Stones by Julia Lee
Springboard for the Arts. This organization provides professional development, health care support, and incubator programs for individuals making a living through the arts.
Pollen. I always enjoy popping onto Pollen Midwest’s site. As if its job boards, events, and stories of local entrepreneurs weren’t enough, the site’s design is gor-geous. Seriously. These people know the meaning of good design.
Women Venture. This nonprofit helps women create and grow small businesses. At their information session, I learned the two most common types clients start are food trucks and fitness ventures. Also: The organization serves men, too.
Whew. This may be the longest post I’ve written, so kudos for making it this far! I hope you’ve found some tools or inspiration for that venture of your own. So, what resources do you use to stay connected and complete projects? Do tell.