community

3 ways to find your community as a maker

ccBeing a full-time maker is a wonderful thing. You have the freedom to shape your business and decide how to spend your days, all while doing something that you love. However, with that freedom comes a small price. Working by yourself can be quite lonely. An entire day can pass by without having a single interaction with another person. There are no colleagues with whom you can chat during your breaks, to ask questions when you are unsure about something, or to vent when you are having a tough day.

Finding community as a maker when you are self-employed is just as important as knowing the ins and outs of your business. These people can provide support, serve as a sounding board, or just be people who “get” what it means to be in your world. (Which, let’s be honest, may look like to some like you’re just having fun all day!) Whether you live in a bustling city or a small town, community can be found both locally and globally, in-person or online. It’s just a matter of seeking out those connections. Here are just a few ways to find community as a maker.

Find a local group

Do a Google search to see if there are any local groups for makers. It can be a neighborhood artists’ association, a craft guild, or just a group of people who like to get together to talk about their work. If you can’t find anything, start your own! Meetup.com can be a great way to connect with other like-minded people, or you can even put an advertisement out on Craigslist.

Join or start a Facebook group

Regardless of your feelings about Facebook, groups are a fantastic way to connect with others. The group can be as small or large as you want it to be, and you can adjust the privacy levels to let in everyone with a Facebook account or keep it invisible and invite-only. What’s great about Facebook groups are they allow relatively easy communication: you can post a question or a comment and everyone can see all of the responses and you can search for past posts. If the group is private, you can talk about just about anything without the whole world seeing it! I am part of several Facebook communities, one of which is a regional group for crafters to share information about shows, ask questions related to our businesses, or even to vent when we’re feeling frustrated.

Read & comment on blogs

You may wonder how reading a blog can help you to build community. I have found through commenting and sharing blogs I have formed real friendships, some of which have turned into even in-person ones as well. I feel that many people who are in this world truly want to help each other and connect with other like-minded folks, and if you are genuine in your comments and sharing, then people often want to connect back with you.

The most important thing to know, regardless of how you build your community, is to give back. Communities form from people helping one another. Pass on the wisdom you have gained through your own experiences and invite in people who are also seeking community. It can be a lonely world working for yourself, but with an open mind and little bit of effort, you can easily connect with others.

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Bev Feldman – Linkouture

Bev Feldman is jeweler and blogger in the Boston area busy juggling her small creative business with caring for her young daughter. You can find her work at Linkouture and can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. She loves connecting with other creatives, so be sure to say hi!

Would you like an accountability partner?

accountabilityHappy New Year! I know we are all looking forward to an amazing 2015! First of all, I would like to say that you are exactly where you need to be right now. There were lessons and triumphs that you experienced in 2014 that helped shape you and your business. Those experiences also helped you create goals and visions for this coming year.

I learned some lessons myself. I sat down to work on 2 different planners/workbooks over the holidays and realized that I had already had similar worksheets on my computer that I had created. About 2 years ago, I had an idea for a workbook and started creating the pdfs and saved them on my computer. I have spent a lot of time here and there fine tuning them. I told about two or three friends about it and showed some of it to one of them. I didn’t give myself any sort of date to get it finished by. I have had some self-doubt about sharing it with the world.

I will admit that I had a moment of feeling disappointed in myself when I realized that other people are helping others using similar content and mine was just sitting on my computer. So like I said above, I do believe I am right where I am supposed to be but I think I might need help getting me where I want to go. I need an accountability partner. Someone who I can share my goals with and know they are going to check in to see if I have gotten them done.

I am assuming you have tons of ideas and goals especially since it is the new year. Are there ideas you had last year that you didn’t bring into fruition for your business? Would you like an accountability partner?

If yes, you must be willing to share some goals with your partner and agree to check up on their goals at least once a month. I will be sending out an short questionnaire tomorrow to email subscribers to help pair you up with a partner. This could be something that lasts the month of January or 3 months or the rest of the year. I will try to match you up based on business size, social media that you prefer using and the possibility for cross-promotion.

I have a gazillion things I want to do on this blog this year and I am realizing that if I am the only one holding myself accountable then they will not all get done. I am excited about the prospect of having to tell someone how far along I am or what steps I have taken to reach a certain goal. Let me help find someone to help you reach your goals too! If you are not on our list, sign up below!

 

Want an accountability partner?

Sign up for our email list here!

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4 Low Stress Ways to Start a Creative Community

etsyRAIN event

Have you ever wondered, “How do I find other crafty people like me in my area?”

As the organizer for the Seattle Etsy team, etsyRAIN, I have had the privilege of meeting a lot of great artists and craft makers from all around our area. Each meeting is a new opportunity to not only make a new friend but it’s also a chance to learn about their work and why they do it. Oftentimes, I’ll have the opportunity to introduce them to someone who can help them with something they need or at the very least point them in the right direction. It’s a great feeling to be the one to make those introductions.

To me, that’s what being a part of a community is about. It’s a chance to connect, a chance to learn and a chance to reach out beyond ourselves and grow. (more…)

5 essential things to build an engaged community

Photo by francoiserachez on Etsy

“Hey, I post content on my blog every week, I regularly create new products and services,  I spread the word about them everywhere possible and I am a kind person with everyone.
Why the hell then do my posts have no comments, nobody seems interested in what I have to say or in my products, and my blog looks like a desert?”

Well, we could talk about the answers to these questions for days because the reasons may be many but there are 5 things that you should absolutely know and put into practice regularly to see changes happen around your blog and your online presence.

(more…)

Chicago Craft Social

This last weekend was unseasonable cold here in Chicago but the chilly forecast was saved by attending the Chicago Craft Social. This is an event held a couple of times a year and the mission is to make stuff and make friends.

It was founded in May 2009 and has become a very popular event. There are project leaders who choose or create crafts to teach to those attending. Participants can go from table to table and leave with the crafts they made. You can bring your own supplies or use the ones provided. You are also welcome to bring a craft from home to work on at the event. Coffee and an endless supply of delicious snacks are offered.

Above from left to right: supply table, paper mache letters with Katie sponsored by Plaid, duck tape and Velcro pouches with Marisa Pawelko sponsored by Westcott, seed bombs.

Above from left to right: coffee table, t-shirt headbands, crafter with fantastic yellow boots, vintage necklace with Candie Cooper sponsored by Plaid.

My favorite craft was making a porcelain pinch pot with Maker & Maker. They fire them and mail them to you! To be honest I was hoping to discover that I had a future in ceramics but quickly realized that is not the case. :)

You can see a full list of crafts and sponsors here. Every guest leaves with a goodie bag filled with items from the sponsors.

This last weekend the event was held at Catalyst Ranch in the West Loop. The crafts were in the Polka Room and refreshments were in the Tango Room. This event space is amazing. I took some pictures around the place that interested me including the restroom stall (!). My photos do not do this fabulous place justice. You have to check out their website. I promise you will be blown away by it’s uniqueness!

I always have such a lovely time at this event and am happy to be able to share it with you!

K

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