As this wonderful year comes to a close, it's fun to look back at some of our 2021 adventures in service. The Indie Business Network has been here for nearly 22 years, serving, supporting, uplifting, and mentoring American Makers. We're thrilled to share what a wonderfully fulfilling year it has been. This post includes some of the many ways we have enjoyed the sheer pleasure of serving the Indie Business Maker Community in 2021.
Challenges Combined With Optimism
2021 was an incredibly challenging year for many of our members, yet time after time and day after day, they persevered and persisted like successful entrepreneurs do. They have been undeterred by pandemic-induced openings and closings. They replaced limiting beliefs with liberating truths and boundless optimism. They have handled supply chain disruptions like champions.
While many people feel that COVID has made the world smaller and more contained than ever, our members continue to use this unique time in history to embrace a world of new opportunities. They are expanding their horizons through local, national, and international collaborations that produce more success in cities and towns nationwide. Here are just a few examples.
• IBN members leveraged heartwarming family traditions to attract target customers, as displayed in this post
• IBN members opened and re-opened retail stores, like Winding Wick Candles in Texas and Blank Mason in Illinois
• IBN members continue to create products to help you look and feel your best in a virtual environment, like our members featured in this article
The products our members make enhance people's lives around the world. It is an honor and a privilege to serve them.
Here's a look back at some of the ways we did that this year.
Indie Business Network Brand Refresh
We started the year with a colorful brand refresh. The round shape of our new logo reflects the continuous nature of our membership. The hues are indicative of the diversity inside the Indie Business Network family. The colors meet in the center representing the sweet spot of support and connection our members experience as a part of the Indie Business Network experience.
Service Through Our Maker Mastermind™ Circles!
Our Maker Mastermind Circles have 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, we have continue to fine tune our approach. We strengthened our virtual component this year so even more members could share in the transformative Maker Mastermind Circle experience.
Throughout 2021, we led private, intimate Maker Mastermind Circles with weekly meetings that facilitated the setting, tracking, and achievement of specific goals, and celebrated progress and business and personal growth.
Maker Mastermind Circle open quarterly and are a benefit of membership in the Indie Business Network. Learn more about how to apply here.
Indie Business Retreat
From January 24-27, 2021, we hosted the Indie Business Retreat at the lovely Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Our group was small, as the pandemic forced us to scale back our annual event quite a bit. All of our masterminding revolved around the requirement that each of us Lead + Pivot our businesses this year.
Our meetings took place on an outside terrace … which was lovely despite the wind.
We had to be creative when it came to excursions because so many things were closed.
As we always do, we made the best of it and enjoyed a fantastic event.
Indie Business Network Content Squads
We hosted four quarterly Indie Business Content Squads (formerly Instagram Pods) in 2021. Our Indie Business Content Squads are content sprints that position participating members to improve engagement and make their brands shine on social media.
Everyone who participated saw an increase in fans and followers, and in many cases, sales too!
Fifty-one members participated in our Indie Business Content Squads on Instagram this year. Collectively, they gained a total of 25,000 new followers. That's an average of 490 new followers per member!
Entrepreneurship is a marathon, not a sprint. Consistency is rewarded, and these statistics definitely point that out. Congratulations to our Indie Business Content Squad participants!
If you are an IBN member and would like to apply to be a part of one of any of our 2022 Indie Business Content Squads, click here.
Indie Business Blog and Social Media Features
We are so proud of the way this blog and our social media feeds showcase the creative products our members offer.
This year, the Indie Business Network Instagram feed featured 157 of our members and their products.
This blog featured 47 blog posts showcasing 329 members and their products. Here are a few samples:
• Some of our Canadian members
• Plastic-free products and packaging
• Irresistible handmade perfumes and fragrances
• Black-owned artisan businesses
• Veteran-owned member businesses
Binge our blog posts here.
Indie Business Network Scholarship Program
The Indie Business Network offers a valuable and transformative entrepreneurial experience, and we recognize that not everyone has the resources to access our suite of mentoring, coaching, and training services, especially when they are first starting out. To help offset the challenge for as many as possible, each quarter, we offer a scholarship for a year of membership and private one-on-one email coaching with our founder, Donna Maria. Click here to meet a recent scholarship award recipient.
If you or someone you know is interested in exploring scholarship opportunities, here is the link to apply.
Indie Business Network Office Hours Q+A
This year, we continued to provide our members with meaningful support and helpful resources on a regular and ongoing basis. Part of that support took the form of 32 live Office Hours Q+A meetings where members got answers to their most pressing questions about business success and leadership and learned from each other's experiences.
Natural masterminding also took place as members generously shared the details of how they meet the many challenges of entrepreneurship.
Indie Business Network Quarterly Planning Sessions
In 2021, we hosted quarterly planning sessions where we worked through goals set and achieved in previous quarters and set new goals for the coming quarter. Participating members were empowered to create a simple, powerful, quarterly plan that made it easier to take the steps that actually produced results.
Indie Business Network Expert Training Classes
This year, we hosted 6 Master Classes with experts whos hands-on classes taught by experts in their field. Members were encouraged to proactively participate and engage with the instructor and each other for maximum benefit. The content is stored in our members only Digital Success Library so members can refer back to them for years to come.
• Danielle Vincent: The 2021 Goals Workshop
• Carla Marina Marchese: Selecting the Best Honey to Use in Your Products
• Emily Kerr-Finell: Pandemic Wholesale Strategy
• Ellen Rohr: Managing Monthly Profit + Loss Statements
• Danielle Brooks: Small Business Payroll
• Trevor Mlot: What you need to know about the White Label Expo
Indie Business Network Indie Shares
One of the most amazing things about our members is their willingness to share with other members how they conquer challenges and achieve success in their businesses.
One Indie Share this year featured Handmade Soap Coach La Shonda Tyree who shared how her products were accepted into the amenity program at a worldwide hotel chain.
Our Indie Share with Roberta Perry of Scrubz Body featured tips and instructions from Roberta on giving stellar customer service in ways that produce positive good will and repeat sales for years and years. As always, the recorded content is stored in our members only Digital Success Library so members can refer back to them for years to come.
There will be more Indie Share events in 2022.
Indie Business Network Maker Workspace Tours
A Maker Workspace Tour is a live, behind-the-scenes studio, retail store, and/or workspace tour hosted by one of our members. We hosted two this year, and they were so much fun.
Sheena Tahilramani of Banter & Bliss in California
Laura Luther of Olive My Skin in Connecticut
We have several Maker Workspace Tours scheduled for 2022. They are so exciting, and everyone learns so much by seeing how other Makers do things.
Indie Business Podcast
We featured several inspirational Maker Stories on Indie Business Podcast this year. Each is worth listening to for the tips and insights our guests shared.
Enjoy the 2021 episodes of the Indie Business Podcast:
- Episode 77: Laura Luther of Olive My Skin, in Oxford, Connecticut.
- Episode 78: Isabel Alvarez of Albisa Candles, in Los Angeles, California
- Episode 79: Patricia Nizalowski of Green Valley Herbal, in Grand Junction, Colorado
- Episode 80: Mindy Cheng of Fyve Beauty, in Cupertino, California
- Episode 81: Ayanna Jackson of Arbria Creations, in San Leandro, California
- Episode 82: Nadja Renise of FEMMENOIRE, in Alpharetta, Georgia
- Episode 83: Sara Jennetten of Blank Mason, in Park Ridge, Illinois
- Episode 84: Patty Liu of Free Flow Botanicals, in Santa Cruz, California
- Episode 85: Christine Mineart of Sent Nudes, in Oakland, California
- Episode 86: Christie Krasteva of CEVARI, in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Episode 87: Rhonda Walters of RareGlo, in Gaithersburg, Maryland
- Episode 88: Brittany Hogan of Nefertem Holistic Skincare, in Park Forest, Illinois
- Episode 89: Lakisha McMillian of Simply Unique, in Charlotte, North Carolina
- Episode 90: Jennifer Watt of Jenny the Hemp Goddess, in Armada, Michigan
- Episode 91: Tiana Coats of Winding Wick Candles, in Garland, Texas
- Episode 92: Lauren VanScoy of Essence One in Minneapolis, Minnesota
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).
Indie Business Network 2021 Holiday Gift Guide
Our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide featured member products and editorial content to uplift, inform and inspire you.
For each product, you'll find a lovely picture of the featured product, with a direct link to where you can easily and quickly drop it into your shopping basket. Many featured products include coupon codes — some of them are still active as of the date of this post
Check out the 2021 Indie Business Network Holiday Gift Guide.
Happy New Year!
Whew! What a great year 2021 was! I enjoyed every single minute of it. At the same time, we're ready for 2022. It's going to be even better.
By the way, 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!! Membership dues will increase on January 3, 2022, so this is a great opportunity to join.
Indie Business members, we love you, and we 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 2022! We are so ready over here at the Indie Business Network!
Question: Are you ready for 2022?
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.