Is the Indie Business Network Right For You?

If you are not a member of the Indie Business Network, it might be helpful to learn a bit about exactly how we help Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs succeed, so you can know if IBN is right for you. If you already know you'd like to join, click here to join now. We look forward to serving you!

If you're on the fence, this article will help you decide whether to become a part of our thriving community of Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs from across the nation.

With rare exception, we’ve added new entrepreneurial training curriculum inside IBN at least once a month since January 2000. As you might imagine, after two decades, that's a lot of training created specifically for people who make the products they sell. We regularly scrub our member content to remove content that is no longer relevant, is outdated, or becomes redundant.

Because our services are so targeted to Makers, it's pretty easy to tell if our membership is right for you.

  1. IS IBN RIGHT FOR ALL MAKERS WHO WANT TO GROW THEIR BUSINESSES?

    Yes.

    IBN is right for any entrepreneur who makes the products they sell, and wants to grow their business on their own terms. This does not mean you have to want a massive business. At IBN, we believe you can “go big without growing big.” Regardless of the size that's right for you, IBN can help you get there with our affordable product liability insurance rates, unsurpassed entrepreneurial training, and a supportive community that wants you to succeed.

    IBN is probably not right for you if you are a hobbyist Maker, but if you are transitioning from hobbyist Maker to entrepreneur Maker, then you'll be in good company. IBN has helped thousands of people make that transition over the years!

  2. IS IBN RIGHT FOR SERVICE BASED BUSINESSES AND SUPPLIERS?

    Maybe.

    If you provide massage and esthetician services, IBN is a great place for you, especially if you buy artisan products to use and/or sell as a part of your services and/or if you need insurance for the services you provide.

    If you supply consulting services and/or ingredients, supplies and packaging to the Maker industry, IBN may be right for you if you want to be intimately connected to your target buyers in a supportive and sharing community.

  3. WILL I LEARN HOW TO MAKE BETTER PRODUCTS AS AN IBN MEMBER?

    Maybe.

    While IBN does not offer manufacturing training, several of our members who teach classes can help you formulate your products.

    From time to time, members discuss formulation ideas and processes in our private community, but those discussions are usually high level conversations about things like shelf life and preservatives as opposed to basic making concepts. Our members often discuss the best places to learn how to make and improve product formulations, and these discussions have helped lead people to instructors who have helped them improve their formulas in many ways.

  4. WILL I LEARN HOW TO MARKET MY PRODUCTS IN THE INDIE BUSINESS NETWORK?

    Yes.

    In fact, this is where IBN truly shines. We believe that as a business owner, your chief job is to sell things — not to make them. If you're a Maker Entrepreneur, you must do both (obviously), but we teach you how to spend as little time as possible making products, so you can get to the business of selling them. That's the strategy all businesses must embrace to be successful, and we focus on helping you do that inside the membership.

  5. WHAT CAN I EXPECT AS A MEMBER?

    Personal and professional growth, and fun!

    You can expect to learn how to BREAK ALL THE RULES, BUILD YOUR OWN CORPORATE LADDER, AND CREATE THE LIFE YOU LOVE. That's a fancy way of saying that you'll learn how to create a fun, sustainable, and profitable business around your life.

    Do we teach you how to build a list of a million people so you can market the heck out of them? No.

    Do we advocate that you spend all your time playing Instagram games to up your follower count? No.

    What we will do is help you clarify your life goals so that you can build a solid business around them, and then we teach you to Donna Maria's signature 4-Step Indie Method Success Path to help you do just that. You may actually end up having a million people on your list, and you may end up becoming a millionaire. We can help you do both, but neither is our purpose. Our purpose is to help you define success on your own terms, and then support you as you take specific and practical steps to make your vision a reality.

  6. IS IBN RIGHT FOR NON-TECHIE PEOPLE?

    Yes.

    But first, don't refer to yourself a non-techie person. If you want to succeed in business today, you must embrace technology and nothing will get in the way of that more than telling yourself that you are “non-technie.”

    At IBN, we understand that you probably do not have a technology-focused background, so we translate some of the big “tech speak” for you, and make it possible for you to get big results from technology without having to turn over your life to it.

  7. HOW MUCH CONTENT AND TRAINING IS AVAILABLE TO ME WHEN I JOIN IBN?

    All of it.

    When you join IBN, you get immediate access to our training going back nearly 20 years. We know how valuable your time is so we update our training regularly, and we delete old training that is no longer relevant.

    If you'd prefer a more sequential entrepreneurial training program, then you'll want to take advantage of the Indie Method, which is essential 20 years of entrepreneurial training broken down into four entrepreneurial phases: Emerge > Engage > Evolve > Expand.

    If you make cosmetics, you will love Indie Beauty University, which is specifically focused on the business of making and selling soaps, cosmetics, and bath and body products.

    Each Indie Beauty University training module includes an audio stream and a downloadable transcript summary. Module 3 is focused specifically on how to label your cosmetics in accordance with FDA regulations, so you can skip that if you don't have a cosmetics business. All of the other modules (trademarks, PR, networking for business …) are perfect for all businesses.

    Most of the training is housed both at our private member website and inside our private Facebook community so you can learn where it's most convenient for you. All of it is easily accessible. You can watch, listen, and even download the training so you can benefit anytime from wherever you are in your busy life.

    When you join, as the CEO of your company, you also get access to our amazing private networking community where you have 24/7 access to support, networking, and business brainstorming sessions.

  8. WHAT IS YOUR PRIVATE ENTREPRENEURIAL COMMUNITY LIKE?

    It's amazing.

    IBN's private entrepreneurial community is housed on Facebook, and it is a fantastic valued added option to IBN's core membership benefits. Members asks each other questions, get solutions to their most pressing challenges, and help each other with every issue you could grapple with as an entrepreneur: website design, email marketing, Instagram, content creation of all kinds, customer service issues, business growth, product launches, mental and physical health related issues, and so much more.

    There is also a healthy dose of reality checking and accountability for all who desire it. In our community, you will hone your leadership skills, which, over time, will translate into a healthier business with a happier leader — YOU!

    Negativity is not tolerated. Self-promotion is prohibited (except on PROMO Day, which is Friday), and because we enforce that prohibition, it hardly ever happens. You will not be bombarded with people trying to sell you their stuff.

  9. WHAT ABOUT PRODUCT LIABILITY INSURANCE?

    We've got that too!

    IBN offers affordable, reduced price product liability insurance to all members. You can learn more about that here. IBN members love this benefit because it saves them hundreds of dollars a year, and the insurance is good at trade shows, craft shows, pop ups, and retailers both large and small.

  10. HOW DO I JOIN THE INDIE BUSINESS NETWORK?

    Click this link to submit our membership application, and you are done.

    (If you need product liability insurance as well, the link to procure that will be emailed to you immediately when you join. If you don't see it in your inbox right away, check our spam folder. If it's not there either, contact us.)

Still not convinced? Here is what some of our members have to say.

Question

Do you see yourself in this post? Which parts of our membership benefits are most useful to you? Are ther things you'd like us to add? Please tel lus in the comments below. We like nothing more than to service the precise needs of our members and are known to add benefits specifically based on Maker requests! Also, we so appreciate it when people help us spread the word about what we do. Feel free to share in the comments below, or 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.