Monday, October 15, 2012

Community and why do you need to be in one

1. A group of people living together in one place, esp. one practicing common ownership: "a community of nuns".
2. All the people living in a particular area or place: "local communities".

Okay so let me start off with a confession, I'm a community junky.  I like to be and feel involved in something.  I get energised by interacting with people, be it online or in the real world.  Sure I like my alone time, like Greta Garbo in the movie Grand Hotel "I want to be alone", but I find not being part of something isolating and depressing.

On the other hand my darling husband is perfectly happy being on his own.  He enjoys his own company and does not get his batteries recharged by communicating or interacting with others.  This doesn't mean that he doesn't see the benefits of being in a community or that he's not part of any, he just chooses not to be in as many me.  Where I will be helping out at school or volunteering at the local museum or  chatting with friends on Facebook, my husband finds community within Nerd forums and Coco heads gatherings in Sydney.

So why do I think community is important?

Apart from the fact that I get energised by them, I think being part of a community is important because in the right community you can get Support, Affirmation  Feedback, you can bounce ideas, have a vent tap into the brains trust and network.

Support and Affirmation
A community is a great way to find the support from like minded people is fantastic.  We all need a cheer squad and we all need to be part of someone else's cheer squad.  There are many benefits to receiving supporting and supporting others.

Feedback is vital to the growth of your business.  Honest feedback from your community can turn your new creation from just another pretty dress to a "OMG I have to have it" dress!  As a community member it is also important to give honest constructive feedback.  Nanny use to say "If you have nothing nice to say, then don't say it" but if someone has asked for your advice and you see something that needs improving than say it but say it nicely.

Bounce ideas
Have you ever had an idea and part of your brains said "thats fantastic" and the other half says "thats crap"?  By having a place to safely bounce your ideas off one or more people you can turn an idea into product.  By bouncing ideas off others you can receive their feedback, consider their advice, which could lead to an affirmation of your idea or you could take on board what has been said and tweak your initial concept.

Lets face it we all need to vent at times, even if its just about Australia Post raising their prices again. The importance of being part of a supportive community becomes very apparent when you work by yourself and things aren't going so well or those thought gremlins won't shut the hell up!  The ability to simply vent about an issue that is bothering you can help you get things into perspective, nut though the real issues and enable you to move forward.  We all know that old saying about a problem shared is a problem halved.

Brians Trust
In my experience the communities I have found myself in have been full of brilliant, funny and wise people.  I've been able to ask questions, seek advice, learn something new, receive a great tip etc.  By being part of a community of creative peeps like yourself you can find the answers to questions that Google can't provide.

Communities are also great for networking.  Some people may think this is a dirty word but networking isn't just for wankers in suits who hand out business cards. Its about making connections, forming relationships with complementary businesses.  Networking can open doors to new stockists, invitations to other communities, new suppliers, potential buyers and the list goes on.

Are you in a supportive community?  What do you get out of being in it? We would love to hear your answer, leave a comment below.

About the Contributor: 
Christine is a Wife and a Mum of 3.  She is the owner of C Percy Designs and the Editor of The Contemporary Handmade Alliance.  She is also the Editor of the Handmade Cooperative - Australian Handmade 4 Kids and is a little obsessed with all things crochet. 

To find out more about Christine go to her blog or follow her on Facebook.

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