My house was packed with more than 40 women, and we were all chowing down on casseroles, salads, and brownies.
In February 2012, I hosted a potluck dinner for my networking and professional group, the Boulder Media Women (BMW). BMW is a group of more than 400 female media professionals who get together on a regular basis for happy hour events, group coffee dates, and potluck dinners.
BMW members are all associated with media in some way — we’ve got content marketers, freelance writers, authors, magazine editors, and graphic designers in the group.
On the night of my potluck on Leap Day 2012, I was getting ready to make a big, exciting announcement. I took a deep breath, stood up on a chair, and clinked my glass to get everyone’s attention.
“I have an announcement to make, everyone,” I said. “I quit my day job today, and I’m striking out on my own!”
The roar of support and approval that came from the crowd still rings in my ears today. I will never forget it.
Get the support you need to make big changes
For years, the members of BMW had offered advice, support, and encouragement as I planned my escape from cubicle nation.
They knew exactly how difficult it was for me to quit, and they were there to celebrate with me when I finally took the leap.
Knowing I had a supportive and encouraging network of freelancers, business owners, authors, and consultants made me feel like I could accomplish anything.
It made it possible for me to quit my day job and become the successful business owner I am today.
That’s just one example of what a support network can do for you as a freelancer, business owner, or professional content marketer. There are many other benefits, too.
The benefits of a support network
Here are some more reasons you need a network of cheerleaders, sages, mentors, and mavens to support and encourage you on your journey:
A support network helps you dream bigger and shows you what’s possible
I’m lucky. I live in Boulder, Colorado — a city filled with authors, freelancers, startups, and entrepreneurs of all kinds.
I’ve got lots of people to show me that supporting yourself without a traditional nine-to-five job is possible and attainable. It’s one of the reasons I love living here.
Members of your support network can help you shoot for your biggest dreams by acting as your biggest role models and sharing advice on how they’ve succeeded.
Imagine if you surround yourself with people who have been freelancing or running their own businesses for more than 20 years. Doesn’t that make you feel fired up and inspired about your own future?
That’s what a support network can do for you.
Counteract social isolation with local friends and allies
You might have already experienced the joys and sorrows of working from home.
Making your own schedule is great, but perhaps you occasionally feel isolated. Maybe you’ve started working at all hours of the day or night — or now stay in your pajamas all day.
A support network, especially one that includes local friends you can meet with in person, can be the perfect antidote to social isolation and other pitfalls of working from home.
Your support network can get you out of the house (and out of your pajamas) and lead to real, in-person human connection.
Find accountability partners, mentors, or mastermind groups
Need a mastermind group, mentor, or accountability partner?
Your network is a great place to start when you’re looking for more formal support relationships.
How to connect with people who support and encourage you
If you need help finding your own personal network, here are a few possible places to start:
- Ask for virtual and in-person introductions from your friends, family members, and colleagues
- Connect with people you respect on social media (Facebook or LinkedIn Groups, for example)
- Local, in-person networking or Meetup groups
- Participate in online forum discussions
If you’re an introvert, and it feels more comfortable to connect with people via email or social media, that’s okay. Any type of support will benefit your personal sanity and your professional growth.
If you’re feeling shy about connecting with people or need a dose of courage, read Keith Ferrazzi’s book Never Eat Alone and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.
And if you’re not comfortable making in-person connections just yet, we’ve got another solution for you, too.
Make connections and further your professional content marketing education
Authority, Copyblogger’s content marketing and networking community, will give you phenomenal support and connection opportunities, all from the comfort of your home office.
Not only is Authority a great place to get emotional support, it’s also the perfect venue to learn new skills and techniques as a content marketer.
You’ll get your questions answered by the Copyblogger team, outside experts, and other Authority members. You can network with like-minded content marketers and form valuable strategic alliances with other experts in your field.
Staying in touch with the latest trends and techniques makes you considerably more valuable to your clients (and you can charge more, too!)
And if you’re continually learning new skills, you’ll be far less likely to burn out or get bored with your business.
Need the specifics? Here’s what you get when you join Authority:
- Ongoing education on virtually every aspect of content marketing
- Instant access to the extensive Authority archive of content marketing education
- Monthly Q&A sessions with Copyblogger team members and other experts
- An interactive forum for networking and getting answers to your questions
- Discounted access to our suite of tools and products
Support and education, all in one place — what could be better?
So, what’s your next step?
As content marketers, it’s critical that we surround ourselves with people who will cheer our biggest victories and support us through our most challenging difficulties.
In a fast-changing field like content marketing, we also need to continuously learn new trends, strategies, and techniques. The more we learn, the more valuable we will be for our clients, subscribers, listeners, and readers.
Developing your own personal support network and designing a personalized continuing education program keeps you energized, revitalized, and engaged in your work.
Your assignment for this week is to research and connect with one support group or person. Find a group or like-minded individual, and figure out how to turn that relationship into part of your content marketing cheerleading team.
In the meantime, we’ll be waving our pom-poms for you, too.
Join our private community for content marketers
If you want to get smarter, more strategic, and more effective as a content marketer, we’d absolutely love to have you with us in Authority.
Join us for:
- Master classes on key elements of content marketing
- Q&A “mini consultation” sessions to answer virtually any business question you may have
- In-depth and ultra-supportive “hot seat”-style Authority Business Coaching calls, where we look at what’s working, and what needs improvement in one member’s business
- “Behind the Scenes” sessions from community members who have solved the problems you face
And, of course, instant access to our archive of more than 230 hours of marketing advice and strategy.