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Creating Your Own Water Cooler Community

image for boundaries blog postGuest post by licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitator and Associate Coach Kiala Givehand

Let’s face it. If you are a creative entrepreneur who works and creates solo, it can get a little lonely working from your laptop or your studio all by yourself. If you worked in an office and you had co-workers, you’d likely have some sort of gathering place onsite where you all had your community conversations, check-in, and chats. In the traditional office setting, you can run next door to your colleague and brainstorm or bounce ideas off one another. But if you work solo, you’re likely not in conversation with others very much, if at all.

Yet, it’s just as important (if not more important) to have those connections when you work alone. Creating your network with intention can give you countless ways to share, grow, and learn as a business owner. Here are a few ways you can build your own “water cooler community”!

1. Accountability Buddy — find another person that you have a connection with and who you feel will be a good fit for keeping you accountable to the things you say you want to get done in your business. Accountability buddies can work together in a number of ways — like checking-in on a weekly basis to say what they want to get done and report back on what they actually did. Sometimes just stating your intention and having someone witness your forward movement can be powerful and affirming.

2. Blogging BFF — Whether you are a professional blogger, a newbie, or a fledgling start-and-stop blogger, having a blogging best friend can help you take your blogging to the next level. Being able to brainstorm, share resources, and proofread for each other can be a lovely blogging relationship. You might even have a small group of 3 – 5 bloggers who gather around each other to help the blogging feel less isolating.

3. Nurture Huddles — In her book, The Right Brain Business Plan, Jennifer Lee talks about the nurture huddle as a kind of safe and sacred space for creative entrepreneurs to support one another. Three to six people who connect on a regular basis just to share, speak, and support can prove especially empowering when you start to hear that others are dealing with the same kinds of concerns and situations that you’ve been facing on your own. In this kind of community each person has the chance to be heard and seen. It’s such a lovely way to acknowledge the ups and downs and the ins and outs of working solo.

4. Master Mind Groups — This is similar to a nurture huddle but tends to be more focused on the business side of your business (instead of the more personal side of what it means to be a business owner and how that shows up in your personal life.) The mastermind can often be more lengthy than a phone call can sustain and might even been a day long event depending on the number of people in your group. It’s a lovely way to get multiple perspectives on a new project, offering, or product you are planning.

Of course there are many other ways you can create your very own “water cooler community,” but these should give you a good place to start. The point is that even if you start a solo business, you don’t have to function in isolation. There are others just like you waiting and wanting to have conversations about creating a thriving business.

Keep in mind that these connections don’t have to be bound by place. In each of the above scenarios you can find ways to bridge the time and space divides. Using SKYPE, Google Hangouts, and other video streaming options can provide an alternative to having a face-to-face requirement. But if you find that you want to be in a face-to-face community, there are likely others in your area who want the same thing. Will you be the one to initiate the conversation?

Kiala GivehandKiala Givehand, EdS, MFA, MA is the founder of Giving Hands Creative, Generations Literary Press, and HowToArtJournal.com. She has a unique perspective on what it means to be a multi-passionate business owner. As an empowerment & accountability coach for creative female entrepreneurs, introverts, writers, & artists, Kiala uses her fierce energy to help her clients identify and embrace their gifts so they can empower their lives with passion and intentional success. You can visit her on her Website. Kiala is one of our licensed Right-Brain Business Plan® Facilitators and a Right Brain Business Plan Associate Coach.

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