When I first heard grumblings last last year about a severe flu overseas, I hardly gave it a second thought. After all, here in the US, we often enjoy the privilege of learning about illnesses that affect people in other countries but have relatively minimal impact here. Ebola and Swine flu come immediately to mind. Like many, I figured COVID-19 would be similar. Boy, was I wrong!
So much heartache and sadness
So many lives and livelihoods have been lost. 2020 has been a grab-bag of stumbling blocks and challenges. With C-19, quarantine requirements, travel restrictions, bitterly contested elections nationwide, crazy natural disasters, the hardships of 2020 have been relentless. unrelenting.
And if those things were not enough, 2020 brought with it continuous epic fear and sadness due to racial unrest. So many of this year's murders cannot be fully explained apart from intentional or systematic racism. I still cannot wrap my head around all of it.
Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Dion Johnson, and many more I will never know about, and even if I did, I would not have enough room the list them here. Our nation's shame was on full display, as if there was some sort of veil lifted so those who had been sleeping could finally wake up to reality.
Yet, I am thankful ….
I am thankful to the frontline workers who continue to take care of us when we are sick, deliver food and other necessary supplies to our front doorsteps, keep our towns and cities clean, and drive the busses and subways that make it possible for people to get to work.
I am thankful to my neighbors, some of whom I finally got to chat with because we were all home so much.
I am thankful the the the creation of vaccines to push back the virus.
I am thankful that none of my friends or family members have lost their lives to COVID-19 … though I a so sorry that so many others cannot say the same.
… And, entrepreneurs press forward …
The pandemic and racial unrest continue to be very unsettling, yet as entrepreneurs who lead artisan businesses, we must maintain a laser focus on the parts of life that we can control. We must press forward to contribute to our own personal economies, as we also do our best to hold up our communities with our innovative spirit.
I am pleased to report that, despite the sickness and unrest of 2020, Indie Business saw our membership grow, and watched our members flourish and blossom on their unique entrepreneurial journeys. More importantly, our community is stronger and more determined than ever to support and uplift each other as we continue to maximize our potential through small business ownership.
Here's a look back at some of the ways Indie Business served our members and the larger Maker community this year.
Hosted the Black Lives Matter Mentoring Program
For several weeks over the summer, I hosted the Black Lives Matter Mentoring Program. The goal of the program was to provide extra support and coaching to black entrepreneurs. I capped participation at 12 in order to facilitate deeper connections and have more of an impact.
Served Dozens Through the 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.
This year, we had our own private and intimate networking group and weekly meetings where we set and tracked goals, celebrated progress, and masterminded a myriad of challenges and opportunities.
Several changes are underway to the program, and will be announced shortly after the new year.
Hosted the Final Indie Cruise Mastermind Retreat
Indie Cruise continues in its new format as the Indie Business Retreat, and I will host the next one next month at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Florida. We will be a smaller group than usual next year due to our current situation, but it will be fabulous nonetheless. You can learn more about the 2021 retreat, and register to join us, at this link.
Instagram Indie Pods
We hosted four Instagram Indie Pods in 2020. 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 who participated saw an increase in fans and followers, and in some cases, sales too! Indie Pods is a fun collaboration that helps participating members build a solid brand and extend their customers' experiences to a social media platform that many of them love to use for everything from casual browsing to shopping.
If you are an IBN member and would like to apply to be a part of one of a 2021 Instagram Indie Pod, click here.
Launched the Indie Business Scholarship Program
You do not have to reach annual revenues of multiple zeroes before you have a “real” business, and you do not have to appear on the cover of a national magazine before your business counts.
You can go big without growing big, but since not everyone has the financial means to access Indie Business's array of entrepreneurial mentoring, coaching, and training services, we launched a quarterly scholarship program so more people could be coached to entrepreneurial success.
If you or someone you know is interested, you can apply here.
Hosted Lead + Pivot
With the start of the pandemic, I noticed an opportunity to dive in head first on a weekly basic with Indie Business members to provide increased encouragement and open office hours. From March 20 November, I hosted 31 Lead + Pivot sessions in an effort to provide our members with meaningful support and helpful resources on a more regular and ongoing basis.
Lead + Pivot sessions were a unique opportunity for members to ask questions as they led and pivoted their businesses through COVID-19 and beyond. Natural masterminding also took place as members generously shared the details of how they navigated their businesses through the pandemic.
Hosted Three Amazing Challenges
In 2020, I hosted three challenges designed to help Makers be more successful and happier as they combine life and business: the Happy Before Hustle 5-Day Challenge, the Recurring Revenue 5-Day Challenge Summit, and the Video Sales and Marketing 5-Day Challenge. Hundreds of people participated. It was so much fun!
Hosted Several Virtual Entrepreneurial Training and Lifestyle Events
Indie Business 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 some of our 2020 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.
• Lisa Kennally: Tap into the Spa Market
• Neha Chokshi: Shopify Questions + Answers
• Donna Maria: Positioning Your Business in Uncertain Times
• Patsy Balachi: Branding Questions + Answers
• Dawn Fitch: Creating an At-Home Wellness Routine
• Danielle Vincent: The Pandemic Pivot
• Lindsey Brantley: How to Build Your Beauty Empire
Following the murder of George Floyd, I felt the need for Indie Business members from all walks of life members to come together to celebrate one another and to find a center of peace in the chaos. Three amazing women stepped up to the plate and led us in The Healing Power of Entrepreneurship.
We also hosted a three-part series entitled The Healing Power of Entrepreneurship. Each segment was hosted by one of our members as they shared their personal and unique ideas for how we could heal each other and our land through the power of expressing ourselves through our businesses.
Thanks to our healing facilitators:
Hosted 4 Episodes of the Artisan Made Show
I hosted four episodes of the Artisan Made Show in 2020, three on Facebook Live (Mother's Day Edition) and one on IGTV (Summer Kickoff Edition). The Early Spring Edition came along first, and almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were put in place nationwide. I'm so pleased with the work we did to help Makers pivot to video sales as the pandemic reared its ugly head.
You can catch replays of all of the shows at the blog:
Launched Indie Business School
For many Indie Business members, life becomes richer and more meaningful when they teach their passion to others. That's why I am so excited that we launched the Indie Business School this year!
So far, several member teachers have shared their knowledge with entrepreneurs from all walks of life, among them:
Jennifer Waller of Celtic Complexion taught a class on how to take good selfies with your smart phone
Toushonta Hogan of Scensational Soaps taught a class on how to take quality product photos with your smart phone
There have been more, and there will be more in 2021, including my class next week on how to start podcasting NOW! Register for my class here.
If yuo'd like to take a class, click here.
If you'd like to pitch your class, submit the form at this link.
A teaching a class at Indie Business School is a paid benefit of membership in Indie Business!
Hosted Indie Business Podcast
We featured several inspirational Maker Stories and a solo episode with me on the podcast in 2020. Each is worth listening to for the tips and insights our guests shared.
Enjoy the 2020 episodes of the Indie Business Podcast:
• Episode 71: Make Your Business Support Your Life (with Donna Maria)
• Episode 72: Alana Rivera of etta + billie in Ventura, California
• Episode 73: Melissa Troupe of Mocha Whip in West Pam Beach, Florida
• Episode 74: Kirsten Conner of Flourish Beauty Lab in White River Junction, Vermont
• Episode 75: Lisa Kennally of Wild Air Skincare in Centerbrook, Connecticut
• Episode 76: Ciara Fritsch of Pure Body Nantucket in Nantucket, Massachusetts
Subscribe to Indie Business Podcast
Hosted Indie Business Fit Club: Yoga
We hosted dozens of virtual yoga classes in the midst of the pandemic to help our members enjoy peace and calm throughout the workweek. Thanks to Kim Jones of Urban Tranquility for leading us.
If you missed any of the sessions, they are archived in our Facebook Group under the #FitClub hashtag. There are several morning and evening sessions to choose from.
Well, there you have it. It's not a complete overview, but it covers most of our 2020 events and achievements. Did you miss out on all of this goodness by not joining Indie Business 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 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 2021! We are so ready over here at the Indie Business!
Question: Are you ready for 2021?
Do share feedback about the year below. And if you loved any of the activities and benefits we offered this year, do tell! I'd love to know what you liked and benefited from the most.