The Not-so Lonely Life of the Solopreneur

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!

my office assistant is cute but not helpful

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. Continue reading

Do You Equate Boring with Serious?

i saw what you did there

Do you believe the only way to become a thought leader in your field is to express yourself in as dry a manner as possible?

Do you use data or graphs your audience won’t be able to read so your opinion seems well-researched?

Do you obfuscate your  meaning with words like obfuscate to make yourself feel smarter?

Do you wonder why you have a hard time bringing outsiders into your fold?

Unless you work in web development, gaming, or some corners of the internet marketing sector, the answer to these questions is most likely yes.  It also explains why if I were to sum up my consulting practice into one sentence it would be:

Stop sapping the awesome out of your inherently amazing work. Continue reading

On Community: the unsung power of Internet communication

my office assistant is cute but not helpful

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.

A New 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 am building a new 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.

Click here to learn more about the LHF Greenhouse.

In many ways, the greenhouse itself is the “seedling” project I intend to grow along side the seedling projects of other greenhouse members, so those of you who choose to become charter members will play a major role in helping it grow.  If you like the idea of shaping the greenhouse for future members, or just like the idea of getting in for an insanely good price, you should go check it out now.

I hope to see you inside.

In Social Media, Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

Tropical Hinchinbrook Island from Cardwell, no...

A lovely example of somewhere I did not go this week

Some of you may have noticed this post is late.

It’s not because I’ve been vacationing on a tropical island. In fact, I spend more time on this week’s blog post than I have in quite some time.

The idea was a good one– Why blogging is awesome and more nonprofits should do it.

I’ve never written about blogging here so it’s definitely not an over-done topic, and it’s useful because blogs are an under-utilized resource for most nonprofits*.

Should have been a slam-dunk.

And yet, after 16 or so hours of writing, rewriting and maybe a bit of pouting, I still didn’t have anything worth publishing.

For reasons that are not yet clear to me this seemingly easy post was just NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. Continue reading