Indie Business Network: 2016 Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone! As we glide into 2017, I am pausing to reflect on the magnificent blessing I have to serve thousands of Makers and Artisan Entrepreneurs all across the nation. It is such an honor to serve you.

2016 was a year of great intention for the Indie Business Network. We introduced a lot of new member benefits and watched our members grow and thrive. More importantly, our community has become stronger than ever. We have supported each other through times of plenty and times of great challenge. We celebrated each other's victories and lifted each other up when times were tough.

Entrepreneurship is filled with ups and downs, and one of the things the Indie Business Network does best is ensure that our members never cry alone, and never celebrate alone.

When one of us was down, hundreds of us were there to lift that one up. there were hundreds of us been a powerful year of firsts for IBN, and for all of our members. Here's a look back, with great joy and thanksgiving, at some of the ways IBN served our members and the creative entrepreneurial community this year.

Donna Maria, Founder and CEO, Indie Business Network

Hosted #IndieCruise MasterMind 2016

From January 15 to 21, 2016, I hosted the 6th annual #IndieCruise Mastermind at the beautiful Club Med Luxury Resort & Spa, Cancún, Yucatán, Mexico. Our theme was Make | Market | Monetize, and you can read more about it here. Watch the video below.

I will host the 7th annual #IndieCruise Mastermind next month in Punta Cana. You'll be able to learn more about the 2018 retreat, and register for it, soon at this link.

Hosted 11 Access Q+A Coaching Calls

One of the monthly Indie Business Network member benefits is a live Q&A Access Coaching Call with me, IBN's Lead Coach, and a member guest coach leader with experience and expertise that can help all of our members grow. Our 2016 guest coaches included a stunning lineup of talent. Led by our Head Coach, Christine Laureano of Ba6 Botanicals and Ba6 Content Marketing, meet 2016's amazing Guest Member Coaches:

• Maia Singletary of Astrida Naturals in Illinois
• Danielle Vincent of Outlaw Soaps in California
• Preston Tillotson of Sudz by Studz in California
• Kathy Danel Vitcak of The Blissful Dog in Minnesota
• Alana Rivera of etta + billie in California
• Gwen Jimmere of Naturalicious in Michigan
• dM, founder and CEO of IBN (that's me!)
• Kelly Maddison of Priia Cosmetics in Pennsylvania
• Teri Pearman of Infusion Breast Care Botanicals in Kansas
• Terri Lang Patterson of Body Systems Skincare & Wellness in South Dakota

Members, if you missed any of the Access Q+A Coaching Calls, the last three months of events are archives for you to enjoy on demand. Just log in, then choose “Q+A Coaching Calls” from the dashboard, and you'll see these and other resources ready for you to enjoy on demand.

Our Access Q+A Coaching Calls will continue in 2017. Our first one features Chelsea Selby at Witch Baby Soap in New Jersey. Stay tuned for more!

Hosted 11 Success Calls

We hosted 11 Success Calls throughout 2016. For those who don't know, our Success Calls connect our members with the expertise they need to be successful in all areas of life and business. Everyone was invited to attend live, and for those who could not make it, a recording was made. Our members were encouraged to download the recordings and add them to their digital Success Libraries so they can use them for years to come.

Our 2016 Success Calls guests join an illustrious lineup of experts we have introduced our members to for nearly two decades. Let's have a look back at our incredible Success Call guests:

• Rachel Daley of Made Freshly: How to Host Successful Events on Instagram
• Melody Bockleman Private Label Insider: How to Increase Your Cosmetics Production Through Contract Manufacturing
• Amir Elaguizy of Cratejoy: How to Start and Maintain a Profitable Subscription Based Maker Business
• Kerry Wilke of Marketing by Click: How to Use Google Tools to Set Business Goals and Track Results
• Lori Nova Endres of The Nova Studio How to Make Money Teaching DIY Classes
• Christine Laureano of Ba6 Content Marketing: How to Write Sales Copy That Works
• Jane Button of Jane Button International: How to Get More of Your Products Into Retail Stores
• Jennifer Moreau of Indie Craft Parade: How to Prepare for and Profit From a Curated Artisan Market
• Roberta Perry of Power of Free Publicity: How to Use “HARO” to Get Featured in the Media
• Kismet Andrews of KL Press: How to Make Money at Markets, Fairs, Festivals and Pop Ups
• Stacey Edelin of The Obelis Group: After Brexit: How to Sell Your Cosmetics in the European Union

Members, if you missed any of these Success Calls, all of them are available for you to listen to and download and save to your Success Library in the private area of our site. Just log in, then choose “Success Calls” from the dashboard, and you'll see these and other resources ready for you to enjoy on demand.

Hosted 14 Facebook Live Training Events

Each of these videos is housed in our private Facebook Group in the Files area. If you are a member, you can watch and learn from them on demand, anytime 24/7, at this link.

• How to Deal with Recent FDA Legal and Regulatory Actions
• Your Brand and Social Media
• Business, Bucks and Boundaries
• Facebook Groups: Thumbs up or Thumbs Down?
• How to Simultaneously Work “In” and “On” Your Business
• Exploring Current Practices in Cosmetic Development and Safaety
• Open Mic: a Discussion About Planners, Journals, and Staying Focused and On Track
• How to Give Good Group
• How to Use Conversations to Build Sales
• How to Focus In and Weed Out
• 15 Ways to Use One Piece of Content
• How to Handle (Marginalize) the Copycats
• 8 Ways to Delight Your Customers This Holiday Season
• The Five C's of Maker Success (create cash flow, create products, create vision, create content, create community — not necessarily in that order)

Hosted 8 Instagram Takeover Events

One of the new benefits we introduced last year was an opportunity for our members to become more visible on Instagram through our Instagram Takeovers. Eight of our members took advantage of this benefit by taking over IBN's Instagram account for the day. Here's a fun look at their videos!

• #IndieTakeover No. 1: Jennifer Waller at Celtic Complexion
• #IndieTakeover No. 2: La Shonda Tyree at Nyah Beauty and Soap Coach
• #IndieTakeover No. 3: Torrian Denise at Dorneé Natural Body Luxuries
• #IndieTakeover No 4: Stacia Guzzo of Handcrafted Honey Bee
• #IndieTakeover No. 5: Roberta Perry at Scrubz Body Natural Skin Care
• #IndieTakeover No. 6: Desiree Doucet at The Creative Cajun
• #IndieTakeover No. 7: Cindy Jones of Colorado Aromatics
• #IndieTakeover No. 8: Ally Lin of Wonderland Organics

If you’d like to be an #IndieTakeover guest, please submit the short form here and we’ll be in touch quickly!

Launched the Artisan Made Show

• AMS Episode 2: Handcrafted Honey Bee. You can watch the whole episode here:

• AMS Episode 1: with Sparklefly Candles, Scrubz Body, Lovewild Design, Ba6 Botanicals, and Grapeseed Company. (This was our first episode, and it's the last one featuring multiple companies.) You can watch the entire episode below:

Are you an Artisan Entrepreneur? Would you like to sell your products on the Artisan Made Show? If so, submit the application here and we'll be in touch!

Hosted 3 Maker Mastermind Events

I launched Maker Mastermind so IBN members would have a fun and convenient way to Mastermind and grow in person. Our virtual events are wonderful, but nothing beats personal face-to-face connection.

In addition to Hot Seats and a lot of sharing to help each other overcome the kinds of challenges all Artisan Entrepreneurs face, each Maker Mastermind includes “field trip” to a curated artisan show. We enjoy a little retail therapy as we see great examples of how other entrepreneurs package, feature, and sell their wares.

I personally hosted three Maker Mastermind events in 2016. Click on the cities below to see the photo albums for each event at our Maker Mastermind site.

Greenville, South Carolina
Washington, DC
San Francisco, CA

Stay tuned for our 2017 tour announcement!

Hosted the Artisan Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

As the Indie Business Network approaches its 17th year, now is the time for an award that allows artisans and their customers and clients to nominate and vote in six categories that uniquely reflect the creativity and innovative spirit of the Artisan Entrepreneur:

• artisan product(s)
• product photography
• Instagram imagery
• inspiring storytelling
• website user experience
• community engagement and customer service

There is no panel of judges. A winner in each category will be announced based on the number of times they were nominated by their peers and customers in that category. You can learn more here.

Re-launched Indie Business Book Club

I hosted the Indie Business Book Club from 2010 to 2013. We took a break, and re-launched it in 2016 with our first book, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. Several of us read together and created our Life Plan, a document we will use to ensure that we are not distracted from our highest priorities in 2016 and beyond.

Today, we started reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. It's not too late to join us in our private Facebook book club group. (You do not have to be a member of IBN to participate.)

Hosted 2 Member Makeover Webinars

Based on conversations with IBN members, I saw the need for a service offering live, tactical, hands on training to help you attract more people to your website to discover and buy your products. Member Makeovers is that service, and, in collaboration with Padraic Ryan of Ryan Design Studio, we hosted two of them this year.

Member Makeovers take place via live webinar, so you can participate from wherever you are in your busy life: desktop computer, laptop or mobile phone. As with all of our events, Member Makeovers are recorded so you can give yourself a “selfie makeover” anytime you'd like.

Submit this application if you'd like to apply for a 2017 Member Makeover!

Hosted 10 Episodes of the Indie Business Podcast

We featured some really inspirational Maker Stories on the podcast in 2016. Every single one is worth listening to for the tips and insights our guests shared. Whether it was going through an entrepreneurial desert (with Toushonta Hogan, in Episode 48) or juggling multiple streams of income (with Khadija Dawn Carryl in Episode 44) or everything in between, you will learn something new and useful in every single episode of the Indie Business Podcast. You can binge on all of the episodes going back several years at this link. Enjoy all 2016 episodes as follows:

• Episode 41: Kara Brook of Waxing Kara and The Honey House in Maryland
• Episode 42: Michelle Smith of Mama Suds in Michigan
• Episode 43: Jennifer Hardaway of KleanSpa in California
• Episode 44: Khadija Dawn Carryl of Henna Sooq in Maryland
• Episode 45: Christina Wennstrom of Soap Seas in California
• Episode 46: How I Put the I-N-D-I-E in the Indie Business Network
• Episode 47: Andrea Hence Evans, Esq. in Maryland [Podcast]
• Episode 48: Toushonta Hogan of Scent_sa-tional Soaps in California
• Episode 49: Ronda Porter-Altema of Soude Haiti in Kansas
• Episode 50: Meagan Sincock of Wildly Natural in Kansas

Subscribe to Indie Business Podcast

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Well, there you have it. It's not a complete overview, but it covers most of our major events and achievements. Did you miss out on all of this goodness by not joining IBN last year? Not to worry, you can join today at this link so you don't miss out on anything else!!

Indie Business Network members, I love you, and I love serving you!

Here's to a great 2017 and the achievement of all of your highest goals. I am so proud of every one of you.

Bring on 2017! Just bring it!

Question: Are you ready for 2017?

If our achievements inspire you to beak all the rules, build your own corporate ladder, and create the life you live, please share on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.