If you want to go at it alone — you are going to need a group. While it may seem counter-intuitive that doing your own thing requires a team, a business support group is how you get where you want to go faster, stay sane, and have more fun.
This post was inspired by my recent trip to Digital Commerce Summit. After attending three years in a row, I realized how much the people I’ve met at this event have fueled my business and inspired me. You’ll get to see some pictures of them as you read along. They are awesome, and hopefully, this inspires you to get out there and form your own amazing crew.
Your Crew Stops You From Feeling Crazy
When you make the decision to do something out-of-the-box — whether that is quitting your job or starting a business or building your personal brand — a lot of people in your life will tell you it’s a bad idea.
- Some will want to stop you because they are worried about the uncertainty of your decision. They are nervous for you.
- Others will want to stop you because they never started. They don’t want to see you succeed where they haven’t.
This constant push-back from those around you will make you want to second-guess your decisions. You’ll feel crazy for wanting to follow through with your plans.
But your business support group will push you forward and remind you that you aren’t crazy.
You’re doing something different and which may look crazy to some people. But your crew will remind you that while it’s unusual, it’s also exciting, reasonable, and realistic.
This is my crew. I found people who were doing things similar to me (yet unusual to others) which made it a lot easier to keep pushing through when other people discouraged or don’t understand me.
Your Crew Inspires & Educates You
Your crew helps you get your mind right and then fills it with ideas. Because they are going through similar things as you, they will help inspire you by:
- Giving you ideas. When you watch your crew work and talk to them about their business, you get ideas for how to manage your processes, what tools to use, and what strategies to implement.
- Answering your questions. When you have a business support group with people with different strengths, knowledge of different industries, and a collection of unique experiences, you can help each other find answers and solutions to problems.
- Helping you see what success looks like. When you are close to someone else’s business, you can see what works for them. You won’t steal their ideas, but you can get your own ideas based on what has worked for them.
- Helping you see what failure looks like. On the flip side, you can see what didn’t work for them and avoid the same failures. You get to learn lessons together while only one of you has to go through the failure.
- Giving you a frame of reference. When you are entering the unknown, it’s hard to know what to expect. Your crew can help you gauge the reality of your situation.
By following my crew online, I get to see their approaches to their projects. By being in a closed Facebook group, we can ask questions, get feedback, and talk about our wins and failures.
Your Crew Connects You With Opportunities
Your crew supports the work you are currently doing and also helps you find more of it. You get to benefit from the network of those in your business support group, and they get to benefit from yours. They help you connect with opportunities:
- For Guest Posts
- To Be Interviewed
- To Find Interviewees
- To Speak at Events
- To Connect with New Clients
- To Get Hired for Jobs
Make sure you regularly talk about your goals with people in your group, so they know what you are working toward. When you know what each other is working for, you are better able to identify opportunities to help. By sharing my goals and projects with my crew, my business support group has brought me opportunities for income and promoting myself I otherwise wouldn’t have had.
Your Crew Encourages You & Holds You Accountable
You may have started your own thing or Indie Career because you were tired of having people tell you what to do. But the truth is, you will get more done when someone is holding you accountable. When you work for yourself or are doing a project alone, it’s a lot harder to push off tasks when someone is there to encourage you to get it done.
“… more than 80% of members say they’re more likely to take on a new challenge or opportunity because of their Circle.” — Stat from Lean In’s Circle peer-to-peer support group.
When I have an accountability meeting coming up, I’m much more likely to accomplish a task I would have otherwise put off.
Your Crew Supports Your Business
Your network expands with each new member of your crew. You can leverage that crew to support your business (and help support the businesses of others in your network). You can work together on projects through:
- Partnerships — You can form a team to create a deeper offering or more well-rounded product or service.
- Promotions — When you have a supportive network, they may help you get your work out by also sharing it with their followers and email list.
- Affiliates — If you sell products or services, your network can jump in and help you make sales, while receiving a commission for their work.
- Service Swaps — You can swap out services so you both benefit without hiring a third-party or putting out any extra cash.
- Referrals — When someone in your crew knows someone shopping for products or services you offer, they will pass them your way.
- Feedback — When you are getting ready to launch a new product, website, or program, your crew can test or review it to provide helpful feedback.
My crew and I are always looking for ways to work together and combine our services and products to better serve ourselves and our customers.
If you’re lucky, your business support group will also…
It’s not always about business with your group. When you find the right crew, your group will also:
- make you laugh
- make you feel good about yourself
- give you good recommendations for awesome blogs, podcasts, books, movies, etc.
- invite you to visit them (with a free place to stay)
- get you out of the house for food and coffee (which is important if you work alone)
- be a source of amazing, non-work related conversations
- introduce you to other awesome people
So, if you are currently without a business support group, it’s time to go get one. Seriously, look how much fun you can have.
So, How Do You Find Your Crew?
An amazing thing about the internet is that it has made it easier than ever to find others who share similar interests and create a community around it. We used to have to rely on those who lived right around us. But now, the Internet has allowed us to find people like us all over the world. We can find them through:
- Twitter and Instagram: While there are many social media sites to choose from, Twitter and Instagram are great places to use hashtags to find others who share your interests.
- Facebook Groups: It’s not easy to find individuals on Facebook who might want to friend you. But searching Facebook groups for communities of like-minded people will help you find online groups.
- Course Communities: If you’re thinking about taking an online course, look for one that has a strong course community. The group will help you get through the program and is often one of the most valuable assets from the program.
- Paid Membership Sites: Sometimes it is even worth it to join a paid membership site where you know you will get good info and meet awesome people.
- Online Searches: Just type in a search for “[your industry] community” or “[your industry] mastermind” and you’ll likely come across some online groups for your topic or industry.
- Meetup.com: Don’t keep all of your crew online. Get out there in person and use Meetup.com to find local events that are happening around you.
- In-Person National Conferences: Don’t stick to only meeting people in your city or state. Try to go to at least one national conference a year. Attending conferences allows you to connect with some of the most dedicated and motivated people in your industry or field.
Don’t Miss Networking Opportunities
If you head to a conference, get the most out of it by downloading this PDF that includes checklists for what to do before, during, and after your next event.
How Do You Stay In Touch With Your Crew?
Once you find your crew, you have to keep in touch with them. Of course, you want to grab their contact information and connect with them on social media. But to truly get the most out of your relationship, set plan for staying in contact.
- Facebook Groups: Create a private Facebook group for members of your crew you want to know each other.
- Slack: If you have a circle that needs more than messaging, try Slack for sharing files and organizing messages.
- Google Docs: Another great way to share files and updates is through shared Google Docs.
- Appear.In: Use Appear.In, a video conferencing tool, to set up regular meetings that help you stay in touch.
- Mightybell: You can take it one step further and build a full community around your crew on Mightybell.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Crew?
Like most things that bring a positive benefit to your work and life, you will have to put time and effort into your business support group to make it work for you. But the work is way worth it.
- Look like a pro to attract other pros. If you want to attract the best crew, make sure you look like someone they will want to connect with. Set up a professional digital presence so when people research you after meeting, they see you mean business.
- Schedule a regular mastermind. Put a regularly scheduled time on the calendar to share ideas and goals and work through problems and challenges.
- Remember that it’s give and take. Don’t exploit your crew by asking for too much and not giving enough back. Make sure it’s mutually beneficial for all involved.
- Mix it up. Build more than one crew so you have input and insights from different types of people with unique backgrounds. And, don’t be afraid to join groups from different industries.
- Keep it professional. Some of your crew will likely exist in a totally professional capacity. That’s okay.
- And, sometimes make it personal. Some of your crew will likely become more like friends. That’s okay too. Remember, mix it up.
I attribute much of my success to my business support group. They are the people who helped me get my first gigs, figure out how to operate my business, find opportunities to push and promote myself, and inspire me to keep going and growing.
So, even though you went out on your own — stop going at it alone. Find your crew today. Trust me, it’s worth it.
You can even start right here by joining the Simply Stated Community.