Indie Business Network: 2017 Year In Review

Happy New Year everyone! As we coast into 2018, I am pausing to reflect on the magnificent blessing I have to serve thousands of Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs all across North America. It is an honor and a privilege, and frankly, a whole lot of fun!

2017 Year In Review

2017 was a year of great fun and forward progress for the Indie Business Network. We introduced several new member benefits, watched our membership grow, and saw our members flourish and thrive on their unique entrepreneurial journeys. More importantly, our community is stronger than ever. We continue to support each other through times of ease and 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.

Here's a look back, with great joy and thanksgiving, at some of the ways IBN served our members and the larger Maekr community this year.

Indie Business Network: 2017 Year In Review

Hosted Indie Cruise Mastermind Retreat For Makers & Handmade Entrepreneurs

From January 15 to 20, I hosted the 7th annual #IndieCruise Mastermind at the beautiful Club Med Luxury Resort & Spa, in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Our theme was Make | Market | Monetize, and you can read more about it here. Here is our official group photo, taken at sunset on Indigo Beach.

I will host the 8th annual #IndieCruise Mastermind next month in Ixtapa, Mexico. You can learn more about the 2018 retreat, and register for it, at this link.

Hosted Success Calls

We hosted several Success Calls throughout 2017. 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 and stored for on demand access in the members only area of our website. IBN 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 2017 Success Calls guests join an talented and sought after lineup of experts we have introduced our members to for nearly two decades. Here is a look back at our 2017 Success Call guests:

• Lauree Ostrofsky of Simply Leap: How to Make this Year the Year of Do It Anyway
• Channel White Studio CRW: Your Shopify Questions Answered
• Padraic Ryan of Ryan Design Studio: How to Plan the Long-Term Success of Your E-Commerce Business
• Padraic Ryan of Ryan Design Studio: Introduction to SEO For Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs
• Donna Maria, founder and CEO of Indie Business Network: How to Set Up Your Branded Facebook Group
• Melody Bockelman of Private Label Insider: How to Find and Use a Contract Manufacturer
• Linda Balon Stein of Handel Food Law: How to Keep Making Money After You Close Your Business
• Teri Lang Patterson of Body Systems: How to be Successful in Your Business Without Compromising Your Health

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 members only area of our site.

Our first Success Call of 2018 is already scheduled, and you can learn more about it here.

Opened the Doors to the Maker Mastermind Facebook Group

Our Maker Mastermind Facebook Group welcomed hundreds of new participants who meet, greet, and connect around topics of interest to Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. I hosted one Facebook Live Q+A in the group this year, and I plan to host many more in 2018.

The purpose of the Maker Mastermind Facebook Group is to complement our live Maker Mastermind Live event, which I personally host several times a year. (See below). Inside the Facebook group, I answer your specific questions about how to grow your business and make it more profitable, more sustainable, and more fun! If you have not joined us in the Maker Mastermind group, you can do that now at this link.

Hosted Access Q+A Coaching Calls

One of the Indie Business Network member benefits is live Q+A Access Coaching Calls with Christine Laureano, IBN's Head Coach and the founder at Ba6 Marketing, and a member guest coach leader with experience and expertise that can help all of our members grow. Our 2017 guest member coaches included a stunning lineup of talent. Meet them now:

• Christina Wennstrom of Soap Seas in California
• Hassan Sayyed of Haus Urban in New York
• Heather Havens Lux of True North Beauty in Maine

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 2018, so stay tuned for more!

Hosted Several Episodes of the Maker Mastermind Show

This year, I had the pleasure of sharing the success stories of several Makers in the Maker Mastermind Facebook Group. If you missed any of them, the quiet before the start of the new year is the perfect time to watch and learn.

Here are all of the Maker Mastermind show links directly into the Facebook group.

Episode 1: with Adora Winquist of Adoratherapy in North Carolina
Episode 2: with Kayla Fioravanti of Selah Press in Tennessee
Episode 3: with Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry in Washington
Episode 4: with Amber Huffman of Shabby Chick Cleaners in Oklahoma
Episode 5: with Dawn Fitch of Pooka Pure and Simple in New Jersey
Episode 6: with Kristin Fusaro-Pizzo of Scents the Moment in New York
Episode 7: Roslyne Yates-Johnson of MayaIndia in New York

Hosted Maker Mastermind Live in Two Cities

I launched Maker Mastermind Live in Boston and Nashville. Each event was a great deal of fun and the progress attendees made is so great that I have decided to host four Maker Mastermind Live events in 2018.

Each event will correspond to a specific phase of the Indie Method: Emerge, Engage, Evolve, or Expand. Breaking things up this way ensures that everyone in each city will be in approximately the same phase of entrepreneurship. This will facilitate more lively and relevant discussions, and ensure that there is a level of parity among attendees.

If you missed any of this year's Maker Mastermind Live events, you can catch the recaps here in the blog.

Here is the one for Boston.

Here is the one for Tennessee.

The Maker Mastermind Live tour schedule for 2018 will be announced next month. I cannot wait to tell you where we will be meeting. Until then, you can learn more about the event at the Maker Mastermind Live site.

Hosted the Artisan Product of the Year Awards

We hosted the Artisan Product of the Year Awards this year! A carefully curated group of influencer judges evaluated and scored each product, and the winning products were named in November. In case you missed them, you can catch them here.

Artisan Entrepreneurs like you are single-handedly reversing a hundred years of standardized manufacturing practices. By turning away from mass production methods and assembly lines, they are feeding the demands of a market place that is increasingly hungry for customized and niche products that meet both pragmatic and emotional needs. The Artisan Product of the Year Awards celebrate the amazing products that stand out in the crowd.

The Artisan Product of the Year Awards will take place again next year, so stay tuned for that!

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 late 2016. During 2017, we read 10 books together.

If you missed any of the book club readings this year, you can read the book reviews for each one here.

I have archived Indie Business Book Club for now, so I can focus on delivering additional valuable new benefits for Indie Business Network members. It may or may not launch again in the future. I'll keep you posted on that!

Hosted 13 Episodes of the Indie Business Podcast

We featured some really inspirational Maker Stories on the podcast in 2017. Every single one is worth listening to for the tips and insights our guests shared.

Whether it was a subscription box masterclass (with Paul Chambers, in Episode 55) or a lesson in falling in love with your business again (with Valerie Reed in Episode 62) 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 2017 episodes as follows:

• Episode 51: Mike Neustrom of Prairie Lavender Farm in Kansas, and the US Lavender Growers Association
• Episode 52: Nieves Rathbun of By Nieves in California
• Episode 53: Briar Winters of Marble & Milkweed in New York
• Episode 54: Exciting Changes at Indie Business Podcast
• Episode 55: Paul Chambers of The Gentleman’s Box
• Episode 56: Hassan Sayyed of Haus Urban and Creative Hustle Podcast in New York
• Episode 57: Danielle Vincent of Outlaw Soaps in California
• Episode 58: Lisa Wynne Salvatore of Purely Lisa in Connecticut
• Episode 59: Dawn Fitch of Pooka Pure and Simple in New Jersey
• Episode 60: Sierra Zamarripa of Lovewild Design in New York
• Episode 61: D’Shawn Russell of Southern Elegance Candle Company in North Carolina
• Episode 62: Valerie Reed of Valana Minerals in California and Hawaii
• Episode 63: Kayla Fioravanti of Ology Essentials and Work+Shop Create in Tennessee

Subscribe to Indie Business Podcast

If you enjoy the Indie Business Podcast, please subscribe so you can get each episodes as it is released. You can subscribe on iTunes (on iPhone) or Stitcher (an Android or iPhone app).

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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 click here to learn about our member benefits, and 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 2018 and the achievement of all of your wildest entrepreneurial dreams and goals. I am so proud of every one of you.

Bring on 2018! We are so ready over here at the Indie Business Network!

Question: Are you ready for 2018?

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.