I'm a small business owner, I run a small business group, I'm an organizer for an upcoming creative small business conference and have an eleven month old, but I still make time to be active in my crafting community.
Each month I meet up with other artists and crafters and we discuss various topics about our small businesses. These conversations have given me new insight into my line and new ideas on how to best manage my business. But it's more than the topics we cover, it's the sense of community that keeps me coming back.
Running your own crafting business can be a lonely experience. However, when you have a group of people that understand your struggles and can share in your victories, you gain the confidence and enthusiasm to move forward and grow your business.
Although it may seem obvious that there are many benefits to joining a crafting community, there are many reasons why artists and crafters do not join. For example:
- They don't know what a small business crafting community looks like or how to find them
- The topics don't seem to apply to their business
- They can't find a community that feels like the right fit for them
- It just takes too much time away from their already hectic schedule
Well, I am here to dispel these reasons for not joining a group and to encourage you to start searching now for a small business craft community in your city!
A small business craft community can look like a group of business owners that get together monthly to discuss their goals or cover a different business topic each month or it can be a more formal group with classes. The best resource I have found is Meetup.com...all you need to do is type in a search for small business, arts, or crafts and see what you find.
Or maybe even think about starting a new meetup group yourself. Maybe you have a few friends in similar situations or you had a good chat with another vendor at a craft fair...just reach out to them and see if they want to meet up once a month to talk about business goals.
Maybe you found a group on Meetup but just aren't sure the topics will be right for you or even the right fit. Sometimes it's not the topics that are the most important thing about the group, but the people you meet and how you can help each other. It may take a few meetings to get to know people, but once you do, these meetings provide amazing opportunities to discuss the issues you face and for others to bring new light to your challenges.
I always feel like my schedule is so busy, but I still make a plan to attend my small business group the third Wednesday evening of every month. I go even if I don't think the topic pertains to me because the topics force me to spend time and energy where I wouldn't normally...and this can be a great spark for a new idea! The gains of joining a group far outweigh the limited amount of time that is actually cut into your schedule.
Many of us spend a great deal of time reading blogs, commenting, watching videos, reading eCourses. These are all wonderful tools, although meeting someone in person and sharing ideas, stories and inspiration is one that can't be beat!
Do you need help in finding your community? Join us at the School House Craft Conference September 23 - 25 in Seattle. There will be classes for the crafty small business person as well as time to meet up with others who may be looking to join a new crafting community too!
Andrea Porter along with her husband owned and operated Bluebottle Art Gallery and Store in Seattle from 2002 – 2010. Bluebottle built a reputation for being at the forefront of the DIY indie art, craft and design movement. In 2010 Andrea moved full time to focusing on building the Matthew Porter Art line. The line features her husbands children’s books, prints and other gift goodies. She currently is on the organizing committee of Grassroots Business Association and the School House Craft Conference.
Main image courtesy of o palsson