What's better than making a living doing something you love? Making a living doing what you love with people you love! Today, we wanted to make a case for community and encourage you to seek professional camaraderie for the sake of your business (and your personal sanity). While there are many reasons to seek out peers and professional friendships, the five we’ve listed below are more than convincing and we dare you to read this and NOT be inspired to find your career-centric community.
Benefits of Community:
There is no faster way to exponentially gain the wisdom of experience than joining a community of people and learning from one another. To learn from each other’s mistakes and successes is priceless. It can be the changing factor in the longevity of your business and the pivotal moment of your entrepreneurial career.
Working for yourself can be fantastic and terrifying at the same time. It’s a lot of pressure to make all the right decisions, and without the experience you probably won’t be perfect— and if you make too many mistakes, you may not have a business long enough to gain any wisdom from experience… so having a group of people at different stages of the same journey you are on is MAJOR. Having a community of people to ask very specific and important questions will give you better peace of mind, will put you in a better position to run your own business, and will keep you from having to learn some really tough lessons the hard way.
This is an offshoot of experience and advice. Actively being a part of a work-community gives you amazing access to the tricks and tips of your trade. We can’t express enough how smart of a business move it is to be the kind of entrepreneur who shares and is open to communal knowledge-- community is a place of exponential growth opportunity, and is a place where you should feel safe to learn, collaborate, challenge and encourage one another.
Without a connection to clients, you won’t make any money; without industry connections, you won’t stay relevant; without a connection to your peers, you won’t stand much of a chance to profit from these listed benefits of community with them. Networking and developing connections are pillars of good business and are extremely easy to participate in by simply inserting yourself into a community of people dreaming your same dreams.
This is arguably the best and most immediate benefits of working in community. Camaraderie brings a little calm to the crazy, a little joy to the stressful and most importantly it provides a person in your life that understands, encourages and challenges you to be the best you can be. These fellow creative dreamers and risk-takers will most likely end up being your closest friends because you have common goals, talents and priorities.
In some ways community with your competition seems a tad gauche. Why would you share your secrets with someone trying to get the same clients you are hoping to acquire? Or why would you advise a newbie against a poor business decision- especially if you had to learn the hard way? Because that is how we grow, that is how we set each other up for success, and that is how we create the kind of business climate we want to thrive in. Successful entrepreneur Ted Malloch says it best: “Three cardinal virtues of business: creativity, building community, practical realism.” For community to be number two on his list of business virtues speaks volumes to its importance on a grand scale, and even more so for small businesses.
If you are interested in finding this community we speak of (and are a photographer or filmmaker), we really encourage you to check out Fotolanthropy’s Fotocrew. This is a group of creative story tellers who are interested in making a difference in this world through their media, working as a community to share inspiring stories of extraordinary people going through life’s adversities. For more information on becoming a Fotocrew member, click here.
Together, not apart, will we find and celebrate each others’ successes, grow and evolve as businesses, and support and encourage our dreams to ultimate fruition.