Indie Business Network: 2019 Year In Review

It's hard to fathom, but 2019 is nearly over, and with its conclusion comes the time for an amazing celebration for us here at the Indie Business Network. I'll get to that in a few minutes, but first, I'm excited to reflect with genuine joy and happiness at the pleasure it has been to serve my members for yet another great year.

In 2019, IBN introduced several new member benefits, watched our membership grow, and saw our members flourish and blossom on their unique entrepreneurial journeys. More importantly, our community is stronger and more determined than ever to continue to support and uplift each other as we maximize our potential and live our best lives through small business ownership.

Here's a look back at some of the ways IBN served our members and the larger Maker community this year.

Launched Maker Mastermind™ Business Incubator!

The Maker Mastermind Business Incubator has evolved over the years. From humble beginnings as IBN's “Connection Day,” to a live event hosted in multiple cities including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and more. We eventually fine tuned our approach to a virtual strategy so even more people could share in the transformative Maker Mastermind experience.

Today, we have our own private and distraction free networking portal, a private podcast, and weekly meetings where we set and track goals, celebrate progress, and mastermind a myriad of challenges and opportunities. We even have weekly virtual co-working events so everyone can collectively plow through content creation projects that can be so hard to complete in isolation.

We will announce the return of Maker Mastermind Live next year, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, if you are tired of going it alone and want my personal support and mentoring, along with deep community and simple systems for your business, you will love Maker Mastermind. You can join Maker Mastermind here. It's month to month, with no long-term commitment, and of course, IBN members enjoy a hefty discount!

Hosted Indie Cruise Mastermind Retreat

From January 12 -17, 2019, I hosted the 9th annual Indie Cruise Retreat at the beautiful Club Med Luxury Resort & Spa, in Turks + Caicos. You can see the photo album here.

I will host the 10th and final #IndieCruise next month in Aruba, Dutch Caribbean. You can learn more about the 2020 retreat, and register to join us, at this link.

Instagram Indie Pods

We hosted four Instagram Indie Pods in 2019. Each one lasted 90 days — one full quarter. Our Indie Pods are like Instagram sprints designed to position participating members to make their brands shine on Instagram.

Everyone is encouraged to take a strategic approach so they are not just posting pretty pictures, but building a solid brand and extending the customer experiences to a social media platform that many people love to use for everything from casual browsing to shopping.

We also had two Instagram Pod Giveaways, with very happy winners here and here.

If you are an IBN member and would like to apply to be a part of one of a 2020 Instagram Indie Pod, click here.

Hosted Virtual Entrepreneurial Training Events

We hosted several virtual member events throughout 2018: Success Calls, Maker Workspace Tours, Master Classes and more.

For those who don't know, our virtual events 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.

Here is a look back at our 2019 virtual entrepreneurial training events and guests. You'll find links to their sites below. I am so proud of the many collaborative business projects we worked on this year, and am thrilled to introduce you to people who can inspire and assist you in your business.

Traci DeForge: Podcast Like a Pro
Riley Fouts: Brand Identity Strategies for Success
Dawn Fitch: How to Sell When You Don't Know How to Sell
Donna DeRosa: Spring Clean Your Blog
Emily Kerr-Finell: Let's Tackle the Wholesale Business Model
Hilary Goldman: How to Transition From Etsy to Your Own Website
Alana Rivera: How to Create Collaborations That Click
Donna Maria: How to Build and Nurture Your Customer Email List
Heather Luxe: Stepping Into Leadership
Mariel Diaz: Accounting Tips For Artisan Jewelers
Larissa Lewis: Increase Revenue and Following with Instagram

Our first Master Class of 2020 will be announced soon, so stay tuned for more collaborative learning in the New Year!

Hosted Access Q+A Coaching Calls

I personally love to host Q+A Calls where IBN members can ask me anything. They are really mentoring sessions, where members and I talk about any and everything, no holds barred. One of our meetings took the form of a Quarterly Planning Session where members used customized printables to strategize about and plan the next quarter. I plan to host more of those in 2020.

Like an open book, I call on my 20 years of entrepreneurial experience to share everything I possibly can to help them succeed. And if I cannot help, I reach into my network and find someone who can.

Members, if you missed any of these events, 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.

Launched Find Indie Makers

Find Indie Makers was originally launched to take the place of an outdated member directory. Once we saw how much work was involved in creating it, we expanded the focus so the site could serve multiple purposes. Not only does it make it easy for members to use a robust search tool to find each other, but it is also a great way to you and all consumers to discover artisan brands they love, and then go shopping for them.

As consumer tastes shift away from the commoditized versions of life that have been pushed by big business for decades, men and women from all walks of life have been empowered to become producers, rather than just consumers. Find Indie Makers celebrates that by making it easy and fun for people to find American Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs, and the products they make that add so much value to life.

A listing there is a member benefit, of course!

Indie Business Fit Club

I launched Indie Business Fit Club on the heels of the tragic suicides of entrepreneurs Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, in order to help our members address and handle the burnout and stress that is a natural part of the entrepreneurial experience.

Since it started, it has grown into a series of monthly challenges, each of which encourages you to select one new healthy habit that you can incorporate into your life.

In the four months since its launch challenges have seen members lose weight, get more sleep, transform their lives through dietary changes, minimize or eliminate sugar from their diets, and even work fewer hours!

Our January 2020 Healthy Habits Challenge starts January 1, 2020. You can join the fun at this link.

Hosted the Indie Business Podcast

We featured several inspirational Maker Stories on the podcast in 2019. Each is worth listening to for the tips and insights our guests shared.

Enjoy the 2019 episodes of the Indie Business Podcast:

• Episode 66: Zondra Wilson of Blu Skin Care in Los Angeles, California
• Episode 67: Sandy Engles of The Purple Sage in Ethel, Louisiana
• Episode 68: Amber Malcom of Shabby Chick in Duncan, Oklahoma
• Episode 69: Pam Rodgers of Stella Chroma in Richmond, Indiana
• Episode 70: Marissa Bethoney of Precious Skin Elixirs in Boxford, Massachusetts

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).


Well, there you have it. It's not a complete overview, but it covers most of our 2019 events and achievements. Did you miss out on all of this goodness by not joining IBN this 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 new year and the achievement of all of your wildest entrepreneurial dreams and goals. I am so proud of every one of our members!

Bring on 2020! We are so ready over here at the Indie Business Network!

Question: Are you ready for 2020?

What are you most looking forward to in the new year? 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.