Building a Clan to Get There Faster (and Saner)

by Annie

in building your tribe

Scottish men in kiltsWhat’s more solo than being a solopreneur?

Trick question.

Solopreneurs aren’t actually solo, at all.

At least, not the really smart and successful ones.

There’s no limit on what you can achieve (beyond the limits of the laws of physics, of course – well, so far, anyway).

But why would you want to deprive yourself of the benefit of community along the way?

It makes the journey so much nicer – not to mention faster – when you build a clan and take ’em along with you.

Family, we’re born into. Not much choice there, I’m afraid.

But when you’re all grown up, and launching your brilliance into the world, you get to choose a new family. Or several families, if you will.

Over the last twelve or so months, I’ve been privileged to join some pretty fabulous people in a bold experiment – Word Carnival.

Tea Silvestre of The Word Chef came up with the idea, and contacted a group of small biz bloggers, including me, mid-2011. And about one year ago, the first Word Carnival debuted, centered around the topic of “Engaging With Prospects Online.” (Here’s my first contribution to the Carnival, just for kicks.)

Every month since, subsequent Word Carnivals have explored different themes of interest to the small/solo biz community, such as finding and connecting with ideal clients, outsourcing business needs, and, my personal favorite, enhancing creativity. My post for that month, 101 Easy-Breezy Ways to Get Your Creativity On, was one of the most popular posts on this site, and still gets lots of hits, even now.

What might not be as apparent to those who read our Carnival posts each month is that a very interesting thing happened behind-the-scenes over the last year.

We carnies became a family of sorts.

This goes way beyond simply sharing each others’ content on social media platforms (though there’s lots of that, too).

We communicate as a group (via a Facebook group page) on all kinds of topics and projects.

We’ve formed joint ventures with each other, sought advice from each other, brainstormed new product names and taglines for each other, reassured and sympathized each other when things got tough (as they do for all of us), and cheered each other on when things went well.

We’ve got each other’s backs, for sure.

There’s a certain amount of solemn responsibility in a community that develops this way, but there’s also a good bit of reassurance and easy camaraderie.

Yes, you can get there on your own.

But if you let your tribe help you raise your “baby” (your business), you get there much faster, and with much more of your sanity intact.

Photo credit: © Mark Atkins |

For more Word Carnival awesomeness on this month’s topic — the power of community — check out the links here.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandi Amorim August 28, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I love knowing that there are likeminded folks on the same journey. Even when we don’t connect regularly on Facebook or Twitter, there’s still a sense of knowing that if I need help I only have to ask and that is the best feeling ever!
Sandi Amorim recently posted..Celebrating a Village of Dreams


Annie August 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Too true – sometimes just knowing your clan is there is enough!


SandyMc August 29, 2012 at 11:59 am

The Carnie Clan is valuable in so many ways. For me it was the possibility it offered at a time when starting a business again seemed very difficult. And that’s the thing about a committed group of people with a common cause, they make anything seem possible.

“There’s a certain amount of solemn responsibility in a community”. A powerful point Annie.

If you’re in business today, you cannot afford not to create a clan, then build it, nurture it, love it and be responsible for and within it. The rewards are boundless.
SandyMc recently posted..Clans. It’s a revolution, well, you know.


Annie August 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Amen, sister. Exactly this: “a committed group of people with a common cause … make(s) anything seem possible.”


Tea Silvestre, aka the Word Chef August 29, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Wow. I’m totally using some of this for our anniversary book. Thank you, Annie for joining us on this adventure. The carnies wouldn’t be who we are without you and your awesome point of view. xoxo
Tea Silvestre, aka the Word Chef recently posted..The Quantum Mechanics of Manifesting Your Community


Annie August 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

{{Tea}} – did you ever have any clue way back when last year what, exactly, you were starting here? LOL


Carol Lynn August 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I’m big on staying sane! Some days, the only thing standing between me and my computer smashed on the sidewalk below my window is the people I talk to.

I’m glad I stalked Tea into the Carnival because everyone is smart and awesome, two things you don’t always find together.

And you said the one thing that I always want to shout from a mountaintop: you can’t – you don’t – do it alone. Solopreneur just means you don’t have a staff. But you still have a community – minus the annoying uncle 🙂
Carol Lynn recently posted..3 Types Of Communities That Matter To Your Business And How To Start Building Them Today


Annie August 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Or in my case aunts, LOL. Well said, Carol Lynn.


Nicole Fende August 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Annie what a wonderful summary. I remember when Tea first reached out to me about joining. I thought – why not? Sounds like fun. Now I can’t imagine not having this group as part of my business. You guys have all inspired me, challenged me and supported me. Thanks!
Nicole Fende recently posted..Gamification – A Fun Way to Small Biz Profit


Annie August 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Right?! I mean, did anyone really imagine this could have worked out the way it did, with all of us so supportive of each other, serving as one big Council of Jedi Knights for each of us? May the Force be with you, sister!


Jenny August 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

I always look forward to your posts, Annie, and this is another example of why that’s true. I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of your clan! And I’m reminded of a saying my mother always repeated (probably for good reason): “You can pick your nose, you can pick your ass but you can’t pick your family.” Luckily, that turned out to be only partially true.
Jenny recently posted..How to Crush Your Competition Overnight


Annie August 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I am fairly sure I would love your mom.


Sharon Hurley Hall August 29, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Who knew that a single ‘sounds like fun’ moment would morph into this awesome group of online buddies. I can’t imagine not being connected with you all – and I love the way you’ve told the story, Annie.
Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Community and Your Writing Business: It Takes a Village


Katrina Pfannkuch August 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yay for sanity! People forget how easy it is to slip into a routine when out on your own for long periods of the time without creative input, support or perspective from others. Without community, who would inspire or comfort us? Who would let us know what ideas are stinkers and which ones have serious growth potential? Finding the right “mirrors” is what keeps as all sane as we try new “seemingly insane” things : )


Clare Price August 30, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Annie, What a gift to all of us and our readers to share what is so great about our Word Carnival on our first anniversary. And its not all talk, folks! I was struggling with a Website issue yesterday and Annie jumped in and fixed it in a few minutes. If that is not the power of community I don’t know what is!
Clare Price recently posted..The Community IS the Brand


Annie August 30, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Aw, it was my pleasure. That’s why I think it’s so much like a family – you do these things for family, right? (Or should. I mean – that’s the ideal. Where you want to help each other out.) And I’ve been the recipient of help from the group so many times in the past I’ve lost count. But that’s the thing – there IS no “count.” Not with family. 🙂


Nick Armstrong September 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

There’s this great idea of Weak Ties circulating around the internet.

“Weak Ties” are those folks who aren’t necessarily business connections, but they’re folks you know who do something who might have a resource you can use once year or so. Weak ties are folks who you don’t interact with on a daily basis, but folks who are friends nonetheless.

“Strong Ties” are the opposite – daily interactions, folks who buy from you and vice-versa, etc. Everyone wants “strong ties” but they forget the value of having acquaintances – folks who can help you out in random situations or who know someone who can. Having a wide net allows you to leverage your community in wider ways.

I like to think of the Word Carnivals as my latest venture into weak ties – folks who have skills that I just didn’t have access to before, folks who I love to help and give advice to. The Word Carnivals have been super helpful, and in particular – were the reason I met you! 😀

It’s definitely worth setting up some sort of networks like this for yourself and contributing to them as much as possible!
Nick Armstrong recently posted..The Right Way To Ask For Help


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