“There are no milestones, no predetermined paths. There are long nights and late hours. And it can be a very lonely road…Community is everything. None of us is doing this by ourselves.”
-Jamyla Bennu, Founder of Oyin Handmade/Made in Baltimore Member
Jamyla, our Maker of the Month hit on a very real issue for many entrepreneurs – it gets lonely out here! As a maker, you may decide to start a solo venture selling your creations. And with that decision, you will encounter many challenges, questions, long days, and game changing decisions. Many of you decide to walk on this journey alone. But there are a variety of reasons why cultivating a community of support can not only be beneficial to your business, but also to your personal health and happiness. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider finding a tribe:
1. Share feedback and solutions
Being a part of a community offers access to other entrepreneurs who have walked in your shoes. You may want to ask questions such as “How much do you pay for xyz?” or “Do you have recommendations for a good accountant?”. You can also bounce ideas off of your community for inspiration or ways to improve. You never know who has the answer to the problem that has kept you up at night!
2. Learn from the experience of others
When you allow yourself to share information and listen to what others have to share, you’ll find that there are many tips and secrets that can make your entrepreneurial journey smoother. Even better is interacting with entrepreneurs across diverse industries. What may or may not have worked for them can be a perfect solution for an issue in your business.
Outside the structure of a regular 9-5, some find it difficult to stay on track with goals. Having like-minded people to share your intentions with is a great way to be held accountable. Also, when people are aware of the intentions, they may serve as advocates for you when opportunities arise that would be beneficial to you and your business.
4. Be informed of opportunities and resources
As an entrepreneur, it is important to be informed of events, skills, strategies, and other resources that can enhance your business. Staying connected to other entrepreneurs is one of the easiest ways to find out when new opportunities arise.
5. Feel a sense of connection
As an entrepreneur, you may feel isolated at times due to deadlines, administrative duties, or even the process of making itself. In the traditional work setting, you’re interacting with coworkers, managers, and others frequently. They help you make decisions, distribute the workload, or even simply chit-chatting in the lunchroom. You may miss those moments. But when you make it a priority to cultivate a community, your community mates often become your confidantes, advisors, friends, and emotional support. Making decisions on your own can become a struggle when you are juggling so many balls in the air at once, which makes the support of your community that much more important.
Now that you know some of the benefits of finding a community, it’s time to go find one! You may want to check out websites like Meetup.com or check in with your local Chamber of Commerce. If you’re in the Baltimore area, you should consider becoming a member of Made in Baltimore! Our members enjoy greater visibility and the power of support so many entrepreneurs crave. Membership benefits include:
- Use of the Made In Baltimore seal on your products, packaging, or promotional materials
- A business profile on our online member directory, and access to our ‘Maker of The Month’ web feature
- Inclusion in our retail and promotion opportunities, which include pop-up shops, factory tours, panel talks, newsletters, and parties!
- Free admission to our business development workshops and networking events
To apply for membership with Made in Baltimore, click here. We’d love to hear who has supported you on your journey, so let us know in the comments!