This article was published in Funnel Magazine
Entrepreneurship starts with an idea – the idea that will eventually turn into a business that you, the creator, can run and call your own. While the thought of developing an idea into a business is very exciting, it’s also a lot of hard work. You will find that there are many things you can do on your own like research. You will also find out that you can’t possibly do this whole entrepreneurship thing by yourself – you need people around you who understand it, who get it, who are or have been through it before.
As an entrepreneur, it’s so important that you be part of a community.
Like anything else in life, being part of a community helps you grow – personally and professionally. When you are part of a community, you are surrounding yourself with others who are either in the same boat or have already gone down that road and are willing to help guide you.
Being part of a supportive community makes a huge difference in what happens next for you and your business – if you’re not part of one, you need to find one and join now. Whether it’s a free or paid (well you may be on a budget, paying for access to a community in most cases will be better as it means everyone is taking it more seriously and it often times will provide more value) you need to be part of a community that is going to be there for you, to support you throughout your journey.
What is a community?
A community is a group of like minded people who come together to support one another around a certain topic – think networking groups. As an entrepreneur, being a part of a community is key to your success – you can’t do this all alone and in fact, you shouldn’t even try so let me save you some time, money, blood, sweat, and tears here.
As you read this right now, are you already a part of a community? Pause for a second. Think about that and let me know in the comments below. If you are, great! Share with us all a little bit about the community and how it makes you feel – noticed I said “feel” which we’ll get into later. If you’re not already a part of a community that’s ok, I got you covered.
Like anything else (sports, work, home life, etc.) we all need to be a part of something – it makes us feel good! Being a part of something – in this case a community – provides us with resources and holds us accountable for taking action on things.
Think of being a part of a community like working out with a personal trainer. Yes, you hired the personal trainer to help you get in shape for the summer but that’s not all you’re getting. The personal trainer may be helping you with your workouts but they’re often times helping you with so much more! When working with the right trainer, they become your new best friend – the one you can’t wait to:
- Talk to about x, y, z
- Share what you learned
- Whip your butt into shape and hold you accountable for not following through on x, y, z
You see, when you work with the right personal trainer they become just as invested in you as you are in them and while it may be just the 2 of you, that’s the type of community you need when doing this entrepreneurship thing.
Community is everything, especially when you have the right mix of people meaning, you don’t just want all the “know it alls” in one place sharing what they know, no. You want a community that is going to have a variety of like minded people who are all experts in their own fields and will be sharing what they know with the group. You see, the right community is one where everyone has a voice, where everyone feels welcomed and can speak up.
It’s so important to join a community that will support you and stand by you – Community is family.
We know how hard this entrepreneurship thing can be – and for those just starting out, trust me when I say, you need to be part of a community now as it will only strengthen you moving forward. We all need family members who actually get it and understand the real struggle we go through. We also need people we can turn to for resources and to help point us in the right direction.
Joining a community, the right community, is the best thing you can do for yourself, your business, and for your future customers because the more you know, the better informed your customers will be.
Benefits of joining a community
- Find like minded people
- Grow your network
- Brainstorm with others
- Discover new tools
- Easily find resources
- Share what you know
- And so much more!
What should I expect?
When you join a community, you should expect to honestly be paying for membership. Yes, there are free communities you can join and if they fit for what you’re looking for by all means, go ahead and join them. The benefit though of joining a paid community is that you can expect more attention to detail and that people will actually show up and engage because they have invested in it too.
When I first opened the Hey Ed community – an online business and tech support community for entrepreneurs – I had people signing up right away! Was it the name? Was it the “sexy” sales page? Or was it the fact that people have been following me for some time and know that entrepreneurship runs in my blood and that I’m here to serve – that I’m always up on the latest tech, that I know about business, digital marketing, and that I can break everything down so that you can actually understand it.
Hey Ed members joined the community because they knew that no matter what the price was they’re going to get answers to their questions and they would be surrounded by the best. When I tell you this community is supportive I mean people literally freak out if they miss a day without checking into the community and that my friends is what you want to be a part of. Being a part of a supportive community is only going to help you grow personally and professionally.
Where do I look?
First start by asking those who are around you. Ask your friends, colleagues, and even share a post on social media, “Is anyone a part of a membership community for entrepreneurs?” The first step is asking. Keep in mind, when you ask people this question, chances are you will get a lot of direct sale answers which is why the next step is research. Once you get a few answers, you will then have to do your research to see if that group is going to be a good fit for you or not.
Don’t just look at the price tag and move on – while staying in the budget is important, your decision should not be based on this alone. What you want to look for are:
- What does the community offer/include?
- Who started the community and is running it? Are they active? Do they actually engage within the community?
- Who do you know that is personally a member and could shine some light on what to expect?
- What do the reviews/testimonials say?
- Are other people online talking about this community and if so, what’s the conversation about?
These are just a few things you will want to look out for before joining a community.
I will tell you, the reason I started Hey Ed is because I am so active in the online space and that people come to me for resources – both for tech and business advice. People know me, they can see my history of providing value and engaging with others online – they trust me. This is what you want to see in your research.
Remember, you need to be part of a community that is going to be there for you, to support you, to provide resources you can actually use, and is a place you feel comfortable being. A community could have all the bells and whistles but if you don’t feel comfortable around it then that all means nothing. Once you find the right community, which might take a while so don’t give up, hold onto it because being surrounded by the right people is priceless!
Update: Funnel Magazine published this article in its October issue.