After leaving the corporate world, the one thing I missed most was the connection I had with the people I worked with. From water-cooler talk to focused group work, that sense of camaraderie can disappear when you start to do business on your own.
With 14 years of solo entrepreneurial experience behind me, I can tell you this: I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for the people that I’ve connected with along the way.
I didn’t just associate with random people though, I specifically put myself into communities where other like-minded entrepreneurs exist, and I owe most of my success to those communities.
Here are 5 reasons why a professional, entrepreneur-specific community will help you grow, and how to maximize your results within the community.
1. You'll Be Around People Who Understand
When I started my business, I felt like everyone else around me thought I was crazy.
“Go get a real job,” they’d say.
Oh, and my favorite: “So you’re just going to turn your back on everything you’ve worked so hard for?”
That one always got me.
If you’ve been there, remember that the people who say those things aren’t starting a business of their own, so they can’t truly understand your “why.” And in many cases, those especially aggressive responses come from people who are externalizing their own insecurities.
When you link up with other entrepreneurs though, it truly feels like you’ve found your people. They just get it, because they’re doing it along with you. They understand your “why.”
When I joined my first community, this was the most valuable part for me. Just knowing there were other people out there who were just like me (and yeah, maybe a little crazy) felt good. It made me realize I wasn’t alone and gave me the courage to keep pushing ahead.
2. You'll Find Potential Partners and People to Collaborate With
In addition to being around the right people, the community itself acts as a filter to help you find perfect prospects for potential partnerships and collaborations.
The best online groups all have a give-and-then-take attitude, and when everyone comes from a place of serving first (knowing well that it’ll come back in return), that's when the magic happens.
For example, in our SPI Pro community, two of our founding members actually created a product together. Now, they are business partners and doing incredible things. And we have more examples just like this, all because of our communities.
On a smaller scale, guest swaps are something that happen quite often in our groups, and other groups around the world. If you have a podcast or a YouTube channel, or even a blog, it’s so much easier to find the right person to pitch a swap with when you're part of a community.
Here’s an episode of the Amplify podcast featuring two of our members together: Bob Gentle and Junaid Ahmed. Now they’re benefiting from the reach of each other’s audiences and growing together!
If you’re interested in learning more about our entrepreneurial communities, click here to find the best fit for you!
3. You'll Get All the Inspiration and Information You Could Ever Ask For
In a professional community, two things are likely to happen:
1. People will share their progress and wins.
2. People will detail how they did it.
As a business owner, there’s no better form of inspiration than witnessing another entrepreneur’s success.
And for the most part, community members are VERY happy to share what has worked for them and how they’ve overcome obstacles. That’s because they’re also learning from the lessons of others. It’s reciprocal.
A Pro Tip from Pat:
One of my favorite things to do when joining a new community is to create a post and share a specific strategy or tactic in my business that has recently worked very well and that I know will help others, too. I’ll go into great detail, provide step-by-step instructions, and ask for nothing in return.
When you do this, it makes a great first impression because you’re giving first, not taking. In many cases, it’ll capture the attention of the members. I’ve seen it time and time again — you can quickly become an authority in these spaces and gain access to more people, places, and events. It takes time, but participate, overdeliver, and great things will happen.
4. You Get Accountability
Just like going to the gym, it’s SO much more difficult to get up and go when it’s just you. But when you have other people to go with, you’re SO much more likely to get it done.
Just sharing what you’re doing can help, but when you declare your goals and band together with others, it holds you accountable and keeps you moving forward.
In some communities, you might find there’s a specific structure to accountability. In SPI Pro, this includes sharing progress reports weekly, to what we call Demo Day, which happens every quarter. Members of SPI Pro declare what they’ll be working on, and at the end of the quarter they present their work to show what they’ve done and the progress they’ve made.
It’s become one of my favorite things about SPI Pro, and the results from students have been outstanding! Nothing like a little accountability to push you forward.
5. You Get To See What Community Building Is Like Firsthand
At SPI, we’ve seen firsthand how community has become an essential part of growing a business. We believe this so strongly, in fact, that community has become the center of our business!
Niche communities are where things are headed. We’ll close with a few important questions to contemplate if you're considering joining a community:
What do you like? What do you not like? What motivates you, and what motivates you to stay?
The goal is no longer about gaining the most fans and millions of subscribers. Long-term business success comes from forming a core group of amazing people, a community who become superfans of you and your work and support your business in the long term.
If you’d like to get a first-hand view of what our communities are like, check out our community page and learn about the various communities we have available. There’s a community for you — wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey — to help you launch, grow, or exponentially accelerate your business!