Creating community is essential for the solopreneur.
I live “out there”. What I mean by that is I live in a place most people aspire to visit on their weekend, or on a family vacation, or take a trip to once in a life time. It’s a beautiful mountain hamlet nestled in a gorgeous green valley on a glacier fed lake that’s kind of in the middle of nowhere.
The distinct advantage to living here? Lifestyle. There’s unlimited fresh air, wilderness, mountains and uncluttered space to live and play and raise my family. But it doesn’t come without it’s own set of challenges.
Being a solopreneur in a world where connection and contacts exponentially drive the potential of business forward, it’s tough not living close to a group of professional contemporaries.
I miss out on coffee dates where we can share ideas, offer feedback, collaborate and inspire each other in the work we are doing.
That said, it isn’t impossible to connect. The web makes it possible to bridge those otherwise enormous real time gaps, allowing face time and conversations via your computer screen.
There’s 2 things I really want to say about this.
You were never meant to do it alone
I was listening to a talk between my dear friend and mentor Jonathan Fields from Good Life Project and the late but beautiful and inspiring Scott Dinsmore from Live Your Legend. Live Your Legend was built by Scott to help people access not only their true vocation and passion in life, but through courses and content, provide tools to help people create lives with impact and influence . Last month Scott suddenly and tragically died in a climbing incident on Mount Kilimanjaro and the world that knows Scott has been rocked by his passing. As a 33 year old man he had already become a brilliant luminary and inspiring mentor and leader for entrepreneurs and people who just want to live a bigger, truer, more authentic life. I didn’t know Scott personally, but after listening to that conversation it further validated my belief in what it takes to build a business and community around who you are. No one does it alone. You can listen to that conversation here and I’d love to hear your thoughts about it.
One of the things Scott did when he started out in the early 2000s was hang out with people who were creating a living online. When he saw that it could be done, he propelled himself forward creating an online presence and what grew into the immensely successful venture Live Your Legend.
Creating a thriving business is an epic challenge for anyone, but living in the South East interior of British Columbia, I’m eight hours from an international airport or major city in Canada. My geography makes it difficult to connect to dynamic thought hubs and entrepreneurial communities that spontaneously happen in places like Vancouver, San Francisco or New York. Places where people can come together, brimming with ideas and possibility and driven by the power of community and co-creation. By comparison, a big dream in little old nowhere BC can feel pretty isolating and unimportant.
Getting up every day and committing to myself about what I have to do to show up and make a difference and create a more impactful business and a more impactful life takes considerable effort. I believe it takes considerable effort wherever you are, but the sheer lack of contemporaries can heighten that sense of isolation and despair (on the toughest days).
What if you could create your own virtual community
The second thing I have to say about this idea has to do with all the cool tools and software that make connecting possible. The software that I’m finding most helpful these days for creating community online is Zoom. It’s an online communication software that allows you hold conferences of up to 1000 people tuning in either through live video feed or by phone. The way Zoom is set up is a bit like the opening credits from the Brady Bunch where everyone appears in little boxes. Live feeds are stacked side by side and on top of each other across the screen and offer a similar effect to sitting in a meeting room or around a table. Admittedly I’ve never done a call with 1000 people, that just happens to be the capacity, but I have had regular meet ups with a group of 40 entrepreneurs I work with from around the world and while it doesn’t replace the joy of spending time in person, the effect of Zoom is excellent. I use it for small one on one client meetings as well as group training sessions and professional mastermind groups I gather with.
So you want to connect with some friends, some contemporaries, some allies to share ideas? Maybe you’re looking for a conferencing software for your business or organization. I encourage you to try out Zoom (for the record I’m not an affiliate, just a fan). You can meet for up to 45 minutes for free or for scaling fees get all kinds of add ons from webinars to teleconferencing and other features.
The other thing I’m a part of that has made a huge impact on my life is a small professional mastermind group. We meet every 2 weeks (via Zoom) from home-based offices from Aspen, Berlin, Toronto, San Diego and Nelson. We come together and share our challenges, ask for help and advice from each other and then hold each other accountable to follow through on the things we need to do to move forward in our businesses. I encourage you if your a solopreneur, mompreneur or an entrepreneur of any sort to seek out a mastermind group or people that inspire you and bring them together and see what happens. Anything is possible if you’re willing to do the work.
If you want to talk about it, I’d love to dream and scheme with you. Learn more about how we can brainstorm together here.