a few weeks ago i talked about finding your tribe. the blogging world is so darn vast that it is important to find support in small circles of friendship. being "around" others with the same skills, goals, and mindset as you can really be inspirational to your journey as a blogger, small business owner, and all around person.
i encouraged you to go out and find your tribe and gave you a few small places to start. taking that first step and making yourself the vulnerable party by asking those to join you is scary, no doubt. but, let us assume you have thrown some thought into the general direction of finding a tribe. what on earth do you do after that?
here are a few things that have worked well for our tribe. seeing as how we have only had two meetings (the third being tonight) we are by no stretch of the imagination experts in this field. i'm sure we have a lot to learn and will probably hit some snags along the way. but so far these bits of the agenda have proven to be successful and helpful.
you can have a group of friends you email and share information with, but meeting with them "face to face" WILL add another layer of special to the mix. talking with them, hearing their voices and their laughs, seeing the expression on their face and combining that with they words they are saying can never ever be conveyed in any kind of email, blog comment, or tweet... no matter how many smiley faces you throw into the mix.
a screen shot of our first meeting in google+ :)
a superb platform for this is google+. i know i know - grooooan. another social media platform to learn. but, before you write it off completely, google+ hangouts are free and you can have several (we usually have eight) different folks join in on the meeting. with skype, you have to pay for a membership to video chat with more than one person. with google+ it is free and relatively simple to use. and just so you can have no excuses, be on the lookout for a tutorial on how to start video chat sessions in google+ in the near future!
now plan the meetings
since kasey and i sort of headed up the whole project, we took on the task of planning our first meeting. this was really just a get to know you sort of meeting, but we still had an agenda and assigned a simple homework assignment. we sent out the agenda and homework assignment about 2 weeks before the first meeting which gave everyone time to prepare.
why an agenda? mostly - how precious is your time? every minute of my day is pretty much delegated to a specific task. i have scheduled in time for my 9-5, for my handmade biz, for dinner and time with the hubby, for cleaning, bathing, even sleeping. it is important to be respectful of others time and schedules and make excellent use of the time you all get together. having an agenda allows you to stay on track, or gives you a way to get back on track if you get off on a tangent.
our first sessions homework was to draw a picture showing who we are, what we do, and who we love. this is mine. :)
why homework? homework gives us something to be accountable to for the group. it isn't anything complicated or in-depth; there are no grades and no right or wrong answers. it is just a simple assignment that you bring to the meeting. we use these to spark conversations, get creative juices flowing, and to see a little into the brain of each person and how it works.
definitions of success
one of the very first things we did as a group was each define our success. success for one person doesn't mean the same thing to anyone else. we wanted to be clear in our ventures from the get-go. that way we would each be aware of our own definition of success and would know how best to encourage each other.
support each other
before our first meeting we all got a sheet with a picture of each girl in the group plus all their links. we all followed each others blogs, twitters, facebooks, etc. it wasn't required or forced upon us, but i think each girl knew that it was important that we all support each other and stand in the ring with each other. one of the easiest ways to do that on the internet is to participate in their little sparkly slice of the internet.
i also make an extra effort to read their blogs and comment on then every time they blog. if i only have a few minutes to check my reader i make sure i get to at least one of my tribe-pal's blogs and check out their latest post. besides it being the easiest way to get a glimpse into their daily life and learn a little more about them, it also reminds them that if no one else is out there, at least one of the girls in their tribe is checking in on them.
one of the resources that kasey told us about - roadmap to action (buy here)
once we had gotten to know each other a little better and each defined our own success, we were able to share resources with each other that we found along the way. one of the first ones was this roadmap to action that kasey stumbled across one day. she sent me the link for it and we both thought it was fabulous so we shared it with our group. i know that kelsey is approaching brick + mortar stores so if i find an interesting or informative article that would help her, i zip it right over to her. we have a great little you scratch my back, i'll scratch yours arrangement going on.
we have also created a shared folder on google documents where we can dump documents and other things we need to share with each other (meeting agendas, notes, etc.) so that we all have access to them. seriously - how did the world operate before google docs??
this post has a LOT of information in it. they are all just suggestions and by no means are they all inclusive. there are so many others roads to explore and ways to grow by being part of a small community so this definitely only scratches the surface. but it gives you a starting point if you are looking to start your own tribe - which, i can never say this enough, i highly recommend.