When I was in 4th grade I was really into ecological activism. The 3 Rs ran through my head constantly “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” I wanted to make a difference. So one day, I got out my notebook and with writing “Trash Busters” underlined at the top, my first club was formed.
I had almost all the kids in my class sign up and in doing so we would spend recess picking up trash out in the field and on the playground. It was awesome! Even though it was short-lived, I would much later in life come to realize that I love bringing people together for a common mission or purpose.
The thing is, you don’t have to be a leader to realize the importance of community and to get a lot out of one.
Many of us who have gone off on our own to start our own business out of our homes can probably relate. It can get lonely! You can get so used to being closed off from other people that you forget to be open to new ideas and influences.
Maybe it’s my self-diagnosed ADD that kicks in, but I’m never satisfied staying in my own little world 24/7. Sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking it’s fine, because if you’re like me you’ve got deep roots in introversion, but we don’t realize what we’re missing.
There are all different types of communities out there to get you out of the house and break up the daily routine. Here are some great things to look into and why they can better yourself and your career.
* Personal Note: Yes, I was a Catholic school girl. I went to Holy Family Educational Center (Now Holy Family School) in San Jose, California for 10 years followed by Presentation, an all-girls Catholic college-prep high school. I never really felt like I fit in, but I got a pretty good education.
Find a Coworking Space Nearby
Coworking is the best way to get work done while simultaneously investing in a collaborative community environment. I could go on and on about coworking since I run WIMPspace, a coworking and colearning space in Santa Rosa, CA. I just can’t begin to explain how much value a person can get out of being a member of a coworking space.
It doesn’t even have to be a full-time commitment. Most spaces have drop-in rates and even comp the first day to try it out for free. Just from working alongside other people you can make friends, find opportunities to collaborate and build companies, get and give referrals, and participate in a number of different events. I could go on and on about this… but for now I’ll just say give coworking a try!
The Coworking Wiki has a list of coworking directories depending on where in the world you live.
Find a Meetup group
Meetup is by far one of my favorite things to ever come out of the Internet. You can easily find a group in your area with a common interest, from hiking to vegan living to business networking and everything in-between. It’s all about building local communities and it’s the best way to start one too. In fact, the WIMP community was started on Meetup and still relies on it heavily for all its events. Aside from word of mouth, it’s the best way to build an audience.
I even met my husband, Cole at our very first Meetup, so you never know! (I like to say I had to start an entire organization in order to find the man I was going to marry.)
Start a Mastermind group
Mastermind groups have been picking up in popularity recently. It’s essentially a small intimate group of people who come together regularly for the purpose of setting goals, sharing achievements and holding one another accountable for them. It’s a great way to build a solid support network and many really successful people including Pat Flynn from Smart Passive Income swear by them.
Join an Online Community
The least amount of commitment really, but you can get a lot out of a community even if it’s just virtual. These can come in all forms and be based on professional or personal interests, but can be a good way to interface with real humans and build some real solid relationships.
A great example of this is our very own community at The Naked Freelancer. Join and get to know other freelancers from all over the place!