It can be lonely being a creative professional.
I know that for a fact. Sometimes an entire week goes by and, in my rush to finish a client project, I realise the only person I’ve spoken to all week is the cheerful cashier at Seven-Eleven.
I know I could be more sociable. I know I could go to more events and conferences and get-togethers.
I agree with all that. However, sometimes, I could use the sense of connection with others, without the long commutes, the alcohol, the expense, and the time spent away from doing my thing.
That’s where an online forum can be valuable.
“A community is a group of people who agree to grow together.” ~Simon Sinek
I’m not saying never to leave your house, and I am saying that being sociable occasionally is essential, but I am saying that forums can bridge that gap when you need it.
If you’re an illustrator, you can engage with other designers to see what they need and where the current trends are emerging. Perhaps there are ideas there that give you an idea of what artwork is in demand and what clients are looking for, and who those clients are.
Let others find out what you’re working on. Start developing your voice and nurture your personal brand within a community by contributing, sharing and helping.
The more you help and the more value you present, the better this is for the attention you attract to your brand and products. A great place to do this is on a chat forum that people return to again and again.
Build relationships and make friends in a way that can lead to tighter bonds than is the norm on social media.
It is psychologically uplifting to know you are better, more intimately connected with people you can check in with over and over again in a way that is win-win.
The beauty of forums is that people are there to talk. So you don’t have to bang on closed doors. People are there to hear you out, and allow you to add your voice.
Users need to apply to our Red Lemon Club Slack community through a questionnaire. In this way, those who participate in the forums have been vetted, and have shown themselves to possess something they can contribute, no matter how far on along their journey they are; they are not tire-kickers or only lurkers.
As a moderator for my own forum, I also continually reach out to — and add — influential, experienced and interesting people with interesting stories to tell, and plenty of value to share.
Those who do not contribute after a few weeks are reminded to join in, or they may be dropped (at least, I am considering this). In this way, the community is always awake and breathing and active.
You can also benefit from the smaller community that exists here, compared to the noisy communities that you’ll find on social media platforms.
Connect with like-minded and ambitious people who set goals and benefit from each other’s accountability and support, so that you hit your targets.
You can use a forum to gain support and ideas as you move towards your goals or habits, but you can also find people to act as accountability partners too.
Gain feedback on your work and brand from others who enjoy providing feedback.
People in a closer-knit community environment are often keen to help. You can also receive more private and potentially more brutally honest criticism if you request it in your private messaging (DM) channel on the Red Lemon Club Slack forum.
Napoleon Hill spoke of the value in creating such groups for accelerating growth in mind and wealth.
Online forums are great places to find other like-minded creatives interested in setting up something similar.
In this way, these communities act as a kind of crowd-sourced mentorship.
Alternatively, you can use these places to find individual mentors and coaches to help take you to the next level of your business and life.
Users are often happy to share job opportunities that they might be passing on, or offer collaborative opportunities that involve working for other clients.
As users get to know each other more online, these often lead to initiatives to do real-world meetups in various cities and places around the world.
Find people to collaborate with on projects for extra clout, and efficiency, and marketing power with your work.
The beauty of bringing together people from a wide range of creative industries and skillsets, means there are plenty of opportunities for fascinating collaborations.
Think of the skills of the kinds of people that your creative work may benefit from merging with.
If you are interested in joining an online forum to chat business, motivation and creativity, I set up a Slack channel for my Red Lemon Club blog followers.
The cool thing is that it attracts a wide range of creative minds from designers, writers, and coders, to illustrators, film-makers, and sculptors to entrepreneurs, blockchain enthusiasts, and technology nerds.
You can focus on individual, niche channels, or hear from others in other channels, so you are stretching beyond your usual bubble in an environment that is encouraging and pragmatic.
I’m keeping it small, so it won’t be open forever.
We look forward to seeing you there.
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