Why Entrepreneurs Need Community

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Today’s weekly guest contributor is my friend and go-to tech-genius, Glen Stansberry. Glen is the co-founder of the LifeRemix blog network (which I am incredibly grateful to be a part of), he writes about helping creative people create at LifeDev and Tweets regularly. Today, Glen shares some killer wisdom on the importance of community.

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Can you believe the nerve of this guy?

While Jonathan’s lazily propping his feet in a hammock, we’re here slaving away for him. He’s sipping drinks with tiny umbrellas and playing with his family while we’re grunting away at our own jobs. I mean, it’s bad enough that he keeps rubbing it in that he’s in a tropical paradise, but what really chaps me is that he’s taking a vacation and asking others (like myself) to do his work for him.

It’s easy to be a little really jealous of Jonathan, but the truth is that we’d all be in Bali right now if we could. Vacations and breaking out of our normal routines are like espresso shots for our creativity. I expect some high-caliber stuff out of Mr. Fields once he returns.

It takes a lot of work to be able to relocate for a month to a somewhat-remote place, and the fact that Jonathan is pulling it off is pretty impressive. What’s most interesting about Jonathan’s trip is that he was able to effectively use “peersourcing” to help him get away.

This is a fantastic example of how community is pivotal to the success of an entrepreneur.

Or in Jonathan’s case, how to slack off more. (Ok, seriously… I love Jonathan. I’d gladly drop everything to help him out, as he’s helped me out so many times before. Just don’t tell him, ok? I’d never hear the end of it.)

I was fortunate enough to co-found the blog network LifeRemix a few years back. The network has some amazing people, with serious skills in many different fields. Bestselling authors, awesome programmers, marketing geniuses, financial wizards… we’ve got it all. (I’m quite lucky that I was a founder, otherwise I wouldn’t have made the cut!)

We’ve managed to help each other out with our writing and other pursuits of life. In fact, we’re a pretty close little community. We all have unique skills and knowledge about different topics, so really the network is like a massive pool of knowledge. Someone will ask a question in our email list, and usually four to five really smart people will chime in, offering help and advice. So it’s no surprise that when Jonathan told the network he was going on vacation and needed a hand with guest posts, we gladly answered the call.

Here’s the secret to being a successful entrepreneur: You need community.

You need help from other people. People who will challenge you and lend you a hand when needed. People who will expand your horizons with their expertise or particular walks of life. Thanks to this thing called The Internet, you can find people and groups to help you in almost any field and variety.

Forums, Google groups, open source projects… there are literally limitless options for finding a community.

Or maybe it makes more sense to find a local, offline community. There are plenty of options for finding groups of people in your area. Churches, business organizations and memberships, neighbors, etc. Just because someone isn’t in your exact niche–or even know the definition of the term “niche”–doesn’t mean they can’t provide you with valuable support and feedback.

Community helps us fill in those little cracks in our life that we can’t fill ourselves.

I’ll often ask our crew for marketing ideas or feedback. I’m a designer by trade, but my marketing chops are “meh” at best. Guys like Jonathan or Chris have saved my bacon many a-time.

Community also gives us a chance to give back.

I love this. I love the fact that I’ve got a chance to help Jonathan because he’s helped me so many times before. There’s nothing better than receiving and giving. It’s important to note that asking for help is just as important as giving. Oftentimes people feel like they’re being a burden by asking for help. But other people need a way to give back their talents and resources too.

At LifeRemix we’ll ask each other for help all the time. In fact, it’s encouraged. I dare you to find a successful person that did it “all on their own”. Everyone (yes, even Steve Jobs) has had people in their lives that bring the best out of them, both professionally and personally. Finding and surrounding yourself with these people is going to be critical to your success.

So if you really want to skyrocket your career, find a community to be a part of.

If you can’t find one, then start one within your niche. (All you have to do is ask.) There’s always something you can provide. If anything, you can be encouraging and supportive. (Sometimes the thing a community needs most is more cheerleaders.) The important thing is to just get involved. No man is an island. (Though certain renegades do go and live on one for a month or so…)

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Glen Stansberry writes about helping creative people create at LifeDev. You can also find him ribbing Mr. Fields from time to time on his Twitter account.

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22 responses

22 responses to “Why Entrepreneurs Need Community”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jonathan Fields, remarkablogger, Grant Griffiths, kurio's resource, Jade Craven and others. Jade Craven said: RT @jonathanfields Why Entrepreneurs Need Community http://bit.ly/dscjQk […]

  2. This is a good guest post and timely too. Having just launched my website, I’ve really discovered the value of the “community” – all the tweets and links from others have been far more effective than any promotion I could do on my lonesome.

    So yeah, the implications of this lesson are sinking in. It’s good to see even a rockstar like Jonathan still needs his community too… even if it is to hold the fort zone while on a luxurious vacation! 🙂

  3. Community is important in all aspects of life. It’s easy to think we can do it all on our own, but it’s difficult. Very rarely will you find a “self-made” person that didn’t get a little support along the way.

  4. This was exactly my motivation for starting The Rise To The Top network of shows. Entrepreneurs need to stick together. When I started my first company, I felt extremely alone…entrepreneurship can be lonely in many respects.

    Now with the rise of all kinds of amazing online communities, shows, blogs, etc. there is a real opportunity to be part of something bigger.

    Fantastic stuff.

  5. Karen says:

    Hi Glen,

    Let’s admend that last statement a bit and say that “No woman is an island” 🙂 We need all types of people to build our community.

    We all need people around us to offer support, encouragement, and sometimes just to listen to us rant about how lucky other people are that they get to go on awesome vacations. I thinks it’s vitally important to surround yourself with a diverse set of people because you never know what you can learn from someone else, nor can you know what traits will appear in yourself once you offer your skill to others. I’m glad that you mentioned the giving and receiving part. It’s no use always asking and taking – you should be giving, giving, giving before expecting anything in return.

    Maybe one day you can get to Bali, too 🙂

    Karen

  6. Wow.

    “If you can’t find one, then start one within your niche.”

    I just might do that. Thanks Glen!

    • Brett says:

      Hey Joel – include me in that community, eh?

      @Glen: I’ve been lone-wolfing it for a long time (though not as an entrepreneur; I’m too young), and, while the results have been incredible as far as my personal growth goes, it’s just not as fun without a community. That’s why the Internet is amazing – instant community, with no geographical (or other) boundaries. Truly a game-changer.

  7. Kevin Miller says:

    I saw this from a tweet from David Garland. This is a growing need. Community, intimacy, accountability…from likeminded folks. We all end up isolated and it’s not healthy, nor does it produce the best results. So as free agents, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs…whatever, we must be intentional about working in union. More than just encouragement, but invested walking together.

    Thanks for putting this out there Glen.

  8. Ken says:

    Good post!One thing I’ve learned over the last few years is the power of a community.I am involved in several right now with Y/Tube being the greatest community asset to date.Lots of help from that group.

    Thanks for the post Glen

  9. Yeah, I’m with Karen on amending that last statement! 🙂 I enjoyed reading this. Absolutely on the community. I’m really lucky to have found a blogger’s community online (Alist Blogger club) but have also been finding other friends along the way. Recently found local, in-real-life blogger and WordPress clubs through “Meet Up” and a freelance writer’s group through Meet Up as well, and it’s a lot of fun. Nice to get off of my island–ok out of my office–once in awhile but still have it related to my work.

  10. Love the article and love LifeRemix… yet I’m going to tiptoe out on a limb as I feel the need to chime in with Karen’s and Leah’s comments which gently point out the not-so-balanced gender bias in the article and many an entreprenuer community. 21 bloggers at LifeRemix but only 4 females? Wisebread has a lot of women contributors so that helps. And there certainly are lots of women only groups. But I’m not thrilled with that either.

    I’m not saying this bias is intentional, but it is revealing and slightly troubling when an article on community includes only male names and pronouns. It’s something I’d like to see change. Soon maybe a sentence such as “Guys like Jonathan or Chris have saved my bacon many a-time,” will naturally become “People like Jonathan or Chris…” and we won’t all automatically assume Chris is a male.

    I really hadn’t given this gender bias thing much thought until last week when Pam Slim posed a question to her facebook friends about how we felt about the new TEDWomen spinoff – was that a good thing or did we, like her, feel a bit confused? Wasn’t TED a celebration of diversity and synthesis? Was TEDWomen empowering women or marginalizing them?

    I did an informal alexa survey and was surprised to find that far and away largest percentage of the audience for top bloggers and online entrepreneurs is women! Even macho Gary V! Go figure.

    Here’s what it says about Awake at the Wheel:
    “Based on internet averages, jonathanfields.com is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 35-44 and browse this site from home.”

    And LifeRemix?
    “Based on internet averages, liferemix.net is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 25-34, received some college education and browse this site from home.”

    So it’s not because women aren’t on the playing field. I think women have some serious work to do regarding stepping out of the comfort zone of the audience “from home” into leadership roles. I suspect the guys will welcome it. At least I hope so.

    Like Leah I’m enjoying the community over at A-List Blogging Club. I’m encouraged by the diversity of the group which seems to have naturally attracted a balanced mix of people of both genders from all over the world (and also a wide range of ages.)

  11. Christina says:

    What an awesome post. Community is of great importance even on personal level. Very well written, thanks for the insight.

  12. Mars Dorian says:

    Ha,

    When I started out, I seriously had the mindset I should do everything by myself.

    Everyone was a competitor to me, and I thought that if I do everything myself, the success will come naturally. Luckily, sense came back to me.

    Being part of an ass-kicking community is not only super-helpful, but it’s epic fun as well !

    We are all so unique, but we have a common goal – to spread our influence and do stuff that matters.

    I have started my own syndicate with ambitious peeps that want to kick-ass and inspire along the way.

    It’s too bad that a lot of people think they have to fight alone – they miss out allllllll the fun.

    simple, but essential article.

    Rock !

  13. “Oftentimes people feel like they’re being a burden by asking for help. But other people need a way to give back their talents and resources too.”

    This is me! I’ve invested the time (and money!) into joining an awesome community like ThirdTribe, but there is a part of me that feels like I’d be asking dumb questions or that people are too busy to have to put up with silly questions like mine.

    But I LOVE to help other people out when I have the answer, and it makes me feel good, so it shouldn’t have taken your post to smack myself across the forehead and go “DOH”! People who take the time to comment are probably doing so for the same reason I do- because they WANT too and it makes them feel good- like they are paying it forward too. Thanks for the insight!

  14. […] Why Entrepreneurs Need Community- Glen Stansberry shares some killer wisdom on the importance of community. This is a fantastic example of how community is pivotal to the success of an entrepreneur. […]

  15. Karen Swim says:

    This is a great reminder that humans are social creatures. We need people, and not simply numbers in a tweet stream or fans on a page but real interactions and involvement with one another.

  16. […] To read Glen’s original post in entirety […]

  17. […] have read the following awhile ago (from Jonathan Fields’ blog) I really like the sentiment in it: You need help from other people. People who will challenge […]

  18. Hi Jonathan, I like connecting with similar minded people, you might like to look into mine, I have this post/article about the elevation group by mike dillard.