In honor of the re-opening of the LHF Greenhouse, I’m re-sharing this post from last January about the importance of community–even when you work alone. Enjoy!
Like many people who run a home-based business, I do most of my work alone in my office save for an office assistant whose main contribution is to sit on the Caps Lock key. As a person who thrives on the company of others–and who needs the input and perspective only other people can provide to do my best work– one might assume this arrangement is a recipe for disaster.
Actually, it would be, save for one very important technological advancement: the Internet.
Sure, I rely on it to connect with potential clients, and I teach those clients to use it to connect with their clients, customers, and donors, but that’s just the most obvious benefit.
The Internet also provides me the one thing I need to stay sane, productive and creative while working on my own: access to other humans.
Thanks to Twitter, I am connected to a huge community of theatre artists and administrators through the #2amt hashtag and some of the most dedicated nonprofit professionals you’ll ever meet though #smNPchat. Twitter is also the place I “hang out” with some of the smartest and most generous consultants I know including Erica, Pamela, Jenny, and Shoshana. (I’ve linked to their twitter profiles, but be sure to visit their websites as well!)
Thanks to the Society of the Secret Play Date, I (usually) remember to incorporate a sense of wonder and play into my everyday work. I also have the pleasure of cheering the accomplishments of other play-daters (and receiving encouragement myself) when we meet in our secret hideout.
Thanks to the Remarkable Marketing Blueprint, I now count some of the internet’s best “third tribe” style marketers among my friends. I also have a place to go to test new ideas, get advice, and blow off steam when I worry I’ll never have another good idea. (Thanks to the blueprint, I’m also just one Kevin Bacon-style step removed from Seth Godin, but I’ll spare you the fan girl moment.)
Finally, thanks to Facebook, I have a way to stay connected to my “real life” communities made up of family, friends, teachers, students, neighbors and colleagues scattered across the United States–and increasingly, the world.
So while my physical space offers only 3 cats and one engineer for company, the Internet provides me a variety of spaces, some public, some private, where I can go to hone my skills, get advice and encouragement, ask silly questions, build relationships and, of course, procrastinate. Thanks to those communities, and the amazing people who are a part of them, I’m able to pursue a dream that would not have been possible for me 10 years ago.
Another Place to Build Community
Because these online communities have been so crucial to my work, (and because the world will be better when more people start pursuing their dreams) I built a private space where smart, kind, generous, and driven people can take the ideas about which they usually only whisper, and give those ideas the nourishment, protection, support, and care they need to grow.
I hope to see you inside.