Eight Creative Communities for Indie Businesses, Makers and Doers!

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Photo Credit: Leona, Lucky Dip Club.

 

 

I’ve been a self employed business  owner and blogger for years now and I still get overwhelmed when trying to prioritise my workload and decide what's best for my business.

I am lucky to have an incredibly supportive partner, however he just doesn’t quite ‘get’ exactly what running an indie business is all about. But I have found a wonderful, support group of people in the last few years through social media, facebook groups and real life meet ups who have changed my life for the better. They have given me the confidence to keep creating a life I love.

It seems that these days everyone is being called to ‘find their tribe’. It’s in our nature to search for belonging and search for other people that share our sense of values. As Adults, this seems to become even harder as we are no longer in education and the forced interactions that that brings! 

Often we may have a full time job that doesn’t align with our hobby or side hustle, or we are busy mums or just live somewhere off the beaten path.

It can make you feel alone which is why deliberately searching out a community that understands us is so important.

The benefit of finding our community is huge. We can feel supported, share ideas, work together and help us find whatever success means to us. We need a nonjudgmental, friendly environment to help us grow and succeed.

I wanted to share with you the best off and online communities that you can join now to find a group of people that understand you!


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Photo Credit: Caboodle Magazine

 

Caboodle

Your favourite magazine for makers and doers has created a Facebook Group for you to communicate with other fans! Not only this, it’s also an area in which you can discuss thoughts about previous articles and ideas for future issues.

The print issue is a thing of beauty which I tend to refer to again and again for inspiration. I’ll read it just for the pleasure of the writing and pictures, then I will pull out my phone to follow and engage with the brilliant artists and makers!

Join the community here.

 


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Photo Credit: Etsy Manchester Facebook Group  

 

Etsy Meet Ups

I have only just started using Etsy as a platform to sell as I have been with Shopify for the last few years and found it to be a wonderful online platform for Stag and Raven.

However joining Etsy has already had a big positive influence through the community of people I have met at the Manchester Meetups. Our team meet once a month and have events structured around a central topic (last month was how to work with influencers) and then an opportunity to network.

Not only have I been walking away from these meetups with tangible ideas on how to grow my business, but also its been a great place to find people to collaborate with and help me with problems and issues I am facing.

You can join a team here.

 


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Photo Credit: in Colourful Company Facebook Group

 

In Colourful Company

As well as an active facebook community, the main purpose of this group is to create real life connections.

They believe in living a creative live and highlight this through organising ‘colour walks’ all over the UK with upcoming walks in Manchester, Leeds, Margate, London, Liverpool, Brighton and Glasgow. These involve spending two - three hours exploring the city, taking photos and getting to know each other. All are finished with a shared meal together and an opportunity to make new friendships.

You can join the group here.


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Photo Credit: Leona, Lucky Dip Club.

 

The Rollercoaster of Running an Indie Business

Joining this group was a game changer for me. Run by Leona from Lucky Dip Club, this acts like a virtual co-working space for indie biz owners to chat, collaborate and cheerlead. With over 2,000 members, this closed group is a safe space to discuss any business issues you may have, share information and help find a real sense of community.

Not only that, Leona has tons of live video resources on topics as varied as blogging, subscriptions, licensing and wholesale to help you with your own research and business development.

As well as running this group, Leonie also has a subscription based ‘Make It Happen’ group which goes really in depth with support and course work to help you grow your indie biz. Subscriptions for this are now closed, but signing up to the main free group will give you a ton of free resources and support to get you started.

You can join the group here.


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Photo Credit: Kenny Clayton Photography

 

betternotstop

I started writing over at betternotstop.com five years ago when I was working in the Music and Events Industry and was trying to seek out other people with my values. I believe we should all enjoy everyday life through our work, friendships, travel, and adventure. We can make our lives better, we can help and support each other, and make the world a nicer place to be.

I also started meetups in Manchester and Liverpool to meet other like minded people through putting on talks, workshops and film nights. I am happy to say I met a lovely group of people I can now call my friends.

After returning to Manchester this year after a year of travel I decided to start my events up again. As well as running a monthly evening meetup, I also run what I call my ‘GSD Coffee Mornings’ every Wednesday. (Yes, it stands for ‘Get S**t Done’!).  These are a way for us all to meet other indie business owners in Manchester and help us all towards holding ourselves accountable for our business goals.

Join my facebook group here.


Glug Events

Started in 2007 in East London, Glug now hosts talks around the world (Berlin, New York, Amsterdam to name a few) and works by sharing series of talks along with informal networking.

We have had a few talks in Manchester, but it seems the most active chapters are found in Leeds, London and Bristol. Tickets start at £5 and include a free drink. This group seems more geared towards digital designers and creatives.

Learn more about Glug Events here.


Meetup

Meetup believes that getting together with people in real life is what makes powerful things happen!

I promote betternotstop through meetup and as an organiser it costs me £20 a month to put on events on this platform. However it is free to join and explore what is on in your city. Many groups run a mixture of paid for and free events, so it depends on the community you join on whether it costs anything to attend an event.

As a guide, most major cities in the UK have meetups for art classes, dancing, hiking, film makers, photographers freelancers and business owners. It’s also a great place to seek out building a community yourself. People who join meetup are actively looking to get together with people with similiar interests. So if there is nothing on you fancy in your city, maybe you are the person to start it!

Find out what Meetups are on in your city here.


Eventbrite

Eventbrite is a similar platform to meetup as it allows event organisers and potential customers the perfect place to meet online. Membership for organisers is much cheaper, as it only charges you per event and takes a percentage of the ticket price.

I choose to advertise on both as it’s a good way to get a mix of people at my events, and it’s also got a better ticket platform (I can offer early bird pricing and donation only tickets on eventbrite to make my events more accessible)

Like meetup it is free to join and explore what is on in your city. As it is cheaper it tends to be VERY busy and hard to navigate what is going on around you. It has a huge variety of events available. As a guide, when I was researching for this article in Manchester there were thirty different events to attend today, from bicycle repairs, networking, prosecco tasting and free walking tours. Although there is more to explore, I find it alot harder to navigate when looking for things to do.

Find out what events are on in your city here. 


 We Blog North

I joined this Northern Bloggers Network as they are well known for putting on lots of events so that you can meet people in real life! The monthly membership is just £5.99 and for that I am a member of a super supportive Facebook group, have access to tons of online member resources and get invited along to all sorts of amazing social events. Not only that they also have a free networking event for Blogger members with free prosecco every month! 

They also run the incredible Northern Blog Awards which is a brilliant celebration of all the talent in the North of England. As a blogger this group has been great, but also super useful as a business owner. This is because it has encouraged me to start a blog for my business, and provides me lots of interesting things to do that my customers would be interested in too. There is also the added bonus of connecting with other bloggers, many of whom I am not talking to about colloborations with my shop. 

Join the community here. 


Joining a new community and seeking out new friendships can feel hard, I know. What you need to remind yourself is that you can do anything, just not everything!

Any fears or problems that you have running your own business or creating your own art, is totally normal. This is why sharing with other people is a vital part of finding your community. I strongly encourage you to join any or all of the groups in this article that you feel align with your values. Join in the discussions, ask questions and decide which ones are right for you.

Do you have any other online or offline communities that I can add to this list? Please answer in the comments below!

 

Hannah Cox

I run Stag and Raven, a UK Art & Lifestyle brand and betternotstop a lifestyle site and events focused on building a life you love through meaningful work and adventure.