This self-employment lark is a bit lonely isn't it?
Back in 2014 I was bumbling along, trying to make it as my own boss, but with no real direction, and very little support.
My friends and family had no clue what my freelancer lifestyle involved, and the marketing books I was reading were out of date.
Then somehow I stumbled across the Female Entrepreneur Association, and joined Carrie's Members Club.
It was the mojo injection I desperately needed. I was instantly surrounded by supportive women who understood what I was trying to achieve, many of whom had already grown successful businesses and were willing to share what they'd learned. I also had access to training materials that helped me develop my online marketing skills. In less than a year I was able to transition from a poorly paid odd-jobbing freelance writer, to a digital copywriter who got to pick and choose her clients and her rates.
But this blog post isn't (just) to rave about the FEA.
It's to encourage you to:
a) Think about what you would like from an online community; and
b) Help you find the right marketing club or community for you and your small business.
I've split the topic into two posts.
This first post covers premium online marketing clubs for small business owners. These are for you if you crave some structure, formal training materials and you're ready to make a financial commitment.
The second post is a list of the free business Facebook groups I am a member of (yes, I know there's a ridiculous amount here). Don't join all of them. Find which ones will serve you best. And if you join a group and it's not working out for you, it's easy to leave and no-one will be offended.
OK - let's get to it.
Premium Small Business Marketing Clubs
Why pay for a premium membership?
With so many free groups available you may be wondering why you'd bother paying to join a marketing club.
There are three benefits to premium clubs:
1) The leader of the club is already getting paid, so they won't be constantly trying to sell to you.
2) The club leader will have invested time, energy and money into creating high-quality materials for their members.
3) Often (though not always) personal input from the club leader is included in the fee. You may have the opportunity to ask questions, get feedback and receive their attention during scheduled office hours.
#1 Enterprise Nation
Just a few pounds each month gets you access to their online library of resources. Includes marketing, but also extends to other small business issues such as workplace pensions and payroll.
#2 Female Entrepreneur Association Enrollment only opens a few times each year, but click on the link to join the waitlist and you can bag yourself some free goodies that will give you a taster of what membership is like.
#3 The Profit Pack
Are you sure a marketing club is what you need? Maybe you need a little helping hand with your business profitability? Nadia Finer has made business coaching for solopreneurs affordable via her small, yet perfectly formed online group, The Profit Pack. If you're struggling to grow, launch or scale your business, Nadia can help.
#4 Write With Worditude
This is my club, so I may be a teeny bit biased about its brilliance. So much of marketing your business is about creating connection with your target audience - and that's what I help with. Through your website content, blog posts, social media and other online material, you have the opportunity to communicate and connect with people who want to buy from you. Using a combo of pre-prepared training materials and my own personal feedback (yes I really do read every bit of content sent to me, and give it valuable feedback) - I can teach you to write online content that connects with the same power as an in-person conversation. Find out more about Write With Worditude subscriptions here.
#5 Member Site Academy
Are you ready for a little head bender? This is a membership club for people who want to develop and launch a membership club. I know, right? If you are looking for a business model built on lasting customer relationships and recurring income, a membership club may be the way to go. Every month Callie and Mike deliver something that more than justifies my monthly subscription fee. If you'd like the chance to get to know them better, or you need to do a little research into whether a membership model is right for your business, join their free Facebook Group, The Membership Mastermind.
#6 The Small Business Kit
Access 12 modules that walk you through the process of starting and marketing your own business. Perfect for beginners as you pay monthly, rather than making a costly upfront investment, plus the club leader, Angie is on hand to offer guidance, support and feedback.
#7 Inspired Business Club
New monthly membership club to help small business owners get started, and grow. Training in marketing strategy planning, pricing and more is delivered through pre-prepared modules and monthly live events.
Before you join
Before handing over your payment details, you need to be clear about a few things:
♦ Are you tied into your subscription or can you leave at any time?
♦ Is the price fixed or will it rise over time?
♦ What are you hoping to get out of this membership?
Not ready to go premium yet?
Check out this guide to Free Facebook Groups for Female (and Male) Entrepreneurs to find 20+ places you can hang out online at zero cost.
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