- Isolation of working alone, especially in 2020 (0:42)
- Accountability groups (2:02)
- Masterminds, what are they? (5:50)
- Facebook groups (8:48)
- Paid memberships (10:07)
- Direct connection through Instagram (11:54)
- How to feel connected in a huge group (12:30)
Hi, this is Laura.
And this is Nikki, with the Startist Society, inspiring you to stop getting in your own way and start building an art biz and life that you love.
We are artists who believe strongly in the power of community, accountability, following your intuition, taking small actionable steps and breaking down the barriers of fear and procrastination that keep you stuck.
Follow along with us on our creative business journey as we encourage you on yours. Laura, what are we talking about today?
Today, we’re talking about the importance of staying connected as a solopreneur. Let’s talk a little bit about the year 2020. Number one, thank God it’s over. I say thank God that 2020 is over, but I think 2020 has taught us a lot. And what I realized is the importance of connecting with other human beings. We are literally wired to connect to each other. So when we’re in a situation where we are unable to do that, like we have been physically unable to see coworkers and family members and so many things over the past year… that has really driven home the importance of staying connected and what are the ways and means that we can stay connected to each other at a time like this?
Yeah, for me, I have worked from home for the last 16 years.
And I love working at home, I love working alone, but I’ve taken for granted the fact that I can go out of my house and go hang out at the coffee shop and be around other people. But 2020 has taught us that you can’t always do that. So we’ve had to find other ways to stay connected.
Yeah. And what are some of the ways that you found that have helped you over this past year?
Well, my favorite way of staying connected this year has been the accountability group that you and I actually met in. We’ve talked about it a bit in past episodes, but we met four other women in this accountability group through Bonnie Christine’s Immersion class. And it has become just sort of a touch point each week to check in with other people who are doing the same kinds of things that you are, struggling through the same sorts of issues that you are, and just a great way of getting connected to people who can help you through issues that you’re dealing with.
I 100% agree with that. And it’s not something I ever anticipated that our group would come together in the way that it has, and made such a difference. And I’ll say I’ve been in different accountability groups in the past that have fizzled very, very quickly. So I don’t think you can say just forming an accountability group will be the magic miracle. But what I can say is that ours has really had the right people coming together at the right time. And it has been an amazing thing for us to stay connected and talk about everything… from whatever’s going on in your personal life for the week, to whatever your latest business challenge is. And that’s been an amazing thing.
I’d say we’re probably equal parts art/business and personal stuff. But yeah, I want to agree with you on the fact that I’ve also been in other accountability groups that have just fizzled after a little while. They just don’t click the same way. T here’s not the same commitment to it. So in saying that, if you are in one, and it hasn’t worked out, or if you’ve been in one in the past, and it hasn’t worked out, don’t let that stop you from trying again. Because you might just have not met the right people or the timing might not have been right. But try it again. Because you might be lucky enough to find a group of people as great as the ones we found that have continued to help us over the past year.
It’s made a huge difference for me. And I think each of us could say the same thing in terms of pushing ourselves toward being accountable. And there are absolutely weeks where we don’t get anything done that was on our to do list. And that’s okay, we’re forgiven for that.
But we still have that connection and are checking in and even if we’re not talking about our business, it brings us back to why we’re there in that group in the first place.
You and I happen to be people that are living alone and in an environment where this is super helpful. But I think there’s a lot of people who may even be living with a house full of people, but those people don’t get what they’re going through with their art business and all the challenges they might be working through as a creative.
So, right. So even though they’re getting a lot of the human interaction that you and I are not getting during this time of pandemic and isolation, they’re isolated with their family, so they get all the people time – the face time they need with people, but they’re not with people who understand the struggles that they’re working through in their business.
Yes, and that, to me, having those like-minded people to go to, to ask questions of, to get feedback from… sometimes it’s just a day where you need to vent. All of those things are so useful to have that outlet. So I can’t say enough good things about having an accountability group.
But beyond accountability groups, I think there are some other ways to stay connected. If perhaps you haven’t had a chance to meet up with people or create your own accountability group yet. There are other ways to stay connected. One of those ways is to form your own mastermind, where you might approach people or you can join someone else’s mastermind. I know that there are quite a few individuals out there that offer that service.
And what’s the difference between a mastermind and an accountability group?
I honestly think they somewhat merge. I think that masterminds are a little bit more formal. And they tend to be situations where each person, for example, in a given week will be given uninterrupted time to speak. That person might be given, let’s say, five minutes to talk about whatever is going on in their business that week, in their personal life, whatever that they’re having a challenge with. And then the other members of the mastermind group can be given, let’s say, two minutes each to respond to your issue – uninterrupted. So it’s sort of more organized… it’s a little bit more structured. But I think that can produce amazing results, because you’re now having that exclusive time to work on a specific issue and getting everyone’s feedback, and also getting ideas that you may never have thought of on your own. Now, accountability groups can do the same thing. Essentially, you can structure it a little bit like a mastermind. I think that’s something we’re exploring in our own group a little bit more. But I know a lot of people do have structured masterminds, and a lot of times, they’re at a bit higher level in your business… when you really want to reach to new horizons and expand your business to new levels.
And I think that a lot of masterminds are led by somebody who is maybe more advanced in their career, and it’s often a paid mastermind program. Not always. But…
Yeah, I think that’s true. They’re sort of giving you the advice that they’ve had from their experience level. Whereas I know in our accountability group, a lot of us are on somewhat at the same level, exploring the same things at the same time, which I find personally really useful.
Yeah, definitely. So another great way to stay connected are online communities. There are some on Facebook, I’m also in one that’s on Slack, which is another app for community and conversation. I’m in all kinds of groups on Facebook, some that I feel more connected to, and some that are just topics I like to get connected to other people in. I’m in several art ones. I’m in some web design groups. And we’ve started our Startist Society, Facebook group that we’d love for you to join, to get some accountability and connection.
Yeah, I think so many people are on social media these days that if you’re already on Facebook, it’s easy to be able to join groups that are there and be able to see what’s available. So, for example, I have quite a few courses that I’ve taken in the past where the instructors have a community that’s available on Facebook, where like-minded individuals can share their work and get feedback on their work, which can be great if you want either positive or constructive feedback on your work. That can be really useful.
And it’s a great way to stay connected to people in the course after the course has ended.
Yes, absolutely. I also have another group I’ve been involved in that’s a daily creating group. That can be a fabulous way to not feel nervous or judged or anything like that. You’re just putting work out there that can be absolutely anything that you’ve created that day to share with other people. And it just keeps you in the zone a little bit, in that creative zone. It can also be a great way to connect with people that you might not otherwise have met. So there are all different types of Facebook groups out there. I have a Facebook group myself for my students who take my Copic classes. I’ve been teaching those for 10 years and I love sharing upcoming projects and tips and tricks with people there.
There are also paid membership groups. For example, we’ve talked a lot about Bonnie Christine, who we took the immersion course with, and she has a membership group called Flourish, which you can join for a monthly fee and stay connected to her and her teachings and then all the people that are in her group.
So Emily Jeffords has one called The Collective as well. That one is geared a little bit more towards fine artists versus people who are surface pattern designers. You’ve participated in both of them, haven’t you?
I’ve participated in both Flourish and The Collective because I walk that line between fine art and surface design.
And I’m the same way, so I haven’t done the collective but I am part of Flourish. And I did do the Making Art Work course that Emily offered. I’ve also done membership programs that are for fine art. For example, there is a great one called Flow, which is one that Dreama Tolle Perry offers. She does beautiful, impressionistic, bright paintings that remind you of walking through the Monet’s garden in France. She does oil paintings and watercolor paintings in her membership. There’s another membership by Anna Mason that offers different watercolor realistic botanical projects every month, she does these gorgeous life size paintings of botanicals that are just beautiful. And she breaks it down into the simplest steps.
So sometimes it’s fun to join a group of like-minded individuals, artists that you can create with, that you can learn new techniques from. And it gives you that outlet to meet people outside of your normal day-to-day activities that can really spur you forward.
I totally agree. And also, I’ve met artists and other people, but mainly artists that I’ve connected with through Instagram, though it’s not through anything formal. It’s not a group. But I have several artists that I just started liking and commenting on their things. And they started liking and commenting on mine. And we ended up having conversations in our DMs and have formed relationships that way. And with all of these, I think the secret is you get as much of it as you put into it.
So it’s really easy to join one of these groups, especially one on Facebook that might have 20,000 members, and feel like, well, I’m not any more connected than I was, I’m just getting lost in a sea of people talking. But if you start commenting, and posting and sharing and offering advice and asking for advice, you will get to know the people and you will make those connections.
Yes, I think that Instagram can be a great way to direct message with people get to know them a little bit better, and share your work. I know that can be a very vulnerable thing to share your work, but everybody else is being vulnerable too… so it’s great to go out there and foster a little bit of love to other people when you see artwork that you really love, as well. And you never know where that will go.
And don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Because you think, oh, I love their work, but you know, who am I? Why should somebody talk to me? Don’t be afraid to reach out people are all craving that connection. And sometimes all it takes is just a little comment here and there.
To wrap this up. I think today’s episode when we’re talking about connection and finding ways to connect, there are three key elements that you can do. 1) You can look for accountability groups and join one like Nikki and I have and how we met and even reach out to perhaps local artists or people that you’ve met online to create your own accountability group. 2) You can create a mastermind where you have a more structured view, with other creatives, in developing your business and pushing you forward. Or 3) there are online communities.
You can join an online community that already exists or if you have a topic that you’re not finding a lot of community around, start your own group. Join us in the Startist Society Facebook group.
And if you’ve enjoyed today’s episode, please subscribe and share it with a friend. Visit startistsociety.com to learn more about the podcast and read the show notes.
And we’ll see you next week.
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