Working on your own can get lonely, and living your business life online can leave you craving some face to face time with people that just get it. Trying to find ‘your tribe’ or just other people choosing the path of self employment or business owning can be so difficult – let alone making your business profitable and finding customers and clients. This is where networking is needed.
When I say the word ‘networking’ it gets very different reactions.
I don’t know about you but I struggle at traditional, more corporate style networking events and sessions. The structures and time pressures and salesy vibes just cause my anxiety levels to shoot sky high. Yet I love making connections and collaborating with other businesses, so going to these events seemed to be a, for want of a better term, a necessary evil. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing bad about these events, per se, I just don’t think they are often set up with creative introverts in mind.
This led me to to take steps to set up my own networking group. I chatted the idea with a few fellow self employed friends to check whether I was being crazy and also whether it was something they’d find useful to join. Thankfully the people I talked it over with were just as keen as me, so with a glass of wine in hand one evening earlier this year I set up our Facebook group. From then it’s grown wonderfully organically with friends referring friends – there’s been no need to push or hard sell it to anybody.
The ethos behind Coffee Work Sleep Creatives is simple, we are a female only group, we believe in community over competition, we value authenticity and we are definitely not ‘hustling’ #girlbosses. It’s a group for female creatives that work for themselves or by themselves that live in the Preston area and the North West of England in general.
Each month we meet together to ‘network’ which basically means having chats over coffee, sometimes based on a relevant theme. The collaborations and contacts made from these sessions are not pressured and are completely organic, and this is something I love and want to continue to foster. We’ve had two fantastic meet ups so far in one of my favorite independent coffee shops, Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar, you can read my write up of it here – The Best Independent Coffee Shops in Preston: Townhouse Coffee and Brew Bar
Instead of hearing from me tell you about it, after all of course I’m going to say how much I love it – I set it up! I’ll let you hear what a few of our members think about our online community and the meet up events –
Amy from Northern Dough Co – When you start up or run your own business (most often from home) the first thing you miss from office life is your colleagues. For me, this group provides a fantastic support network of ‘virtual colleagues’ to bounce ideas off, share experience with, and seek solidarity from when it’s most needed, whether in person at the meet ups, or knowing you can pose a question any time of the day on the group. It’s such a great resource, as well as a lovely way to make new like-minded friends.
Leanne from The Lancashire Hypnobirthing Co – On a personal level, I’ve found it’s really helped my confidence. I’m quite an introvert and not usually found in big groups. The meet-ups are so friendly, relaxed and open. I really look forward to them. As a small business, it’s been invaluable to have such incredible, business savvy women around me to bounce ideas off, collaborate with and grow friendships with (the latter i’m really grateful for.) – I love it!
Christina from Fish 2 Photography – I enjoy meeting up with other small business in the local area. It’s great to have the ability to learn from and help each other with confidence, business and our dreams.
Emma from Isabella and Us – I loved the relax feel of the meet up. I was so nervous about coming as I’m not overly confident but everyone was super lovely! And I left feeling super inspired having met some lovely ladies.
Leona from Marsh Mill Interiors – I’ve not managed to get to a meet up yet, as I’ve always had a job on at the time. However, I’m really excited to be able to make the next one. The small business community is all about helping each other up. We are the backbone of modern society.
Emma-Marie from Mrsrawlinson.com– Finally a meet-up in Lancashire tailored to creative and lovely women who are running a business. It’s such a fantastic group for many reasons whether that’s to gain additional expertise to strengthen your brand or purely to feel less alone and more together thanks to the community vibe.
The members group is currently free to join and based on Facebook. It’s a virtual group where you can ask even the silliest question, get business advice, network and make new friends. At the moment our meetings are members only, so once you’re in the group you’ll get access to tickets for the events. If you’d like more information about this group then please get in touch.
Request to join by clicking the image below
A huge thank you to Christina, Fish 2 Photography, for photographing our most recent event and letting me showcase the photos in this post.
Morgana is a social media coach for small businesses and entrepreneurs, specialising in Instagram and Pinterest. Based in the North West of the UK, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She particularly enjoys a Netflix binge watch and cannot function without black coffee and dark chocolate digestives.