Community for Small Business
by Allisa Jacobs
"You are not an island."
This was perhaps the very best piece of advice I was given as a new teacher, "You are not an island. So don't act like one."
What did I do with it? Ignore it of course.
Well, at least during my first year of teaching. Out of anxiety, self-doubt, stubborness - I steam-rolled ahead, quite sure that at 21 years old I could figure it all out on my own. And I did figure a lot out. But I also got really exhausted, lonely, and burned out. Plus, I soon learned I had re-invented the wheel at least five times over.
And then I remembered the advice I had been given. And everything looked up from there.
I think the same is true for small business. I shared other little bits I learned from teaching & how they relate to running a shop & realized that this little nugget of advice surely deserves some space as well! Seems like us small business owners tend to isolate ourselves sometimes, often to our own detriment. We need other people. Connecting & creating community has such a postive, ripple-like effect.
- Motivates Excellence - being around other amazing crafters & small businesses challenges us to improve our own shops & approaches
- Finding Inspiration - awesomeness often leads to even more awesomeness
- Celebrate & Collaborate - teaming up can be such a powerful & rewarding experience. I've found that my collaboration with Perideau Designs has been one of the most gratifying businessy adventures I've embarked on
- Feels Good - being part of a community means that at some point you're going to give back, share, help...and that just feels good and fuels your drive to towards your goal
- Stay in the Loop - I don't know how many times I thought, how does everyone know about this stuff? (craft shows, new techniques, events, Etsy updates..) then I joined Twitter & I feel so "in the know"!
Fun ways to connect: there's the obvious- social media (twitter, facebook, blog), but then there is going beyond that - forming collaborative relationships, guest blogging, & sharing tips. Of course, there's local opportunities - quilt guilds, entreprenuerial clubs, meet-ups, crafty events, shows, classes, etc.
I am challenging myself to do just that- go out explore my local crafty community...I can be a bit timid, but have enjoyed meeting other crafters & am looking forward to a few opportunities on the horizon!
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Allisa Jacobs is a mother, a small business owner and a former teacher. She resides in Portland, OR and maintains a blog where she shares her "passion for sewing, business, and design inspiration as well as musings on motherhood & life."
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