Online entrepreneur, are you hiding behind your laptop?
Doing most of your marketing via social media? Assuming that your ideal clients live in places far away so there is ‘no point’ in bothering with face-to-face networking outside of the big conferences?
Looking to distant online “gurus” for online business advice and signing up for expensive courses that you never seem to get around to implementing, or that don’t quite apply to your situation?
If that sounds familiar, you could be overlooking a huge source of customers, referrals and support for your business in your local community.
‘But I’m an online entrepreneur,’ I hear you cry. ‘The whole point is to be location independent.’
Hear me out.
One of the loveliest surprises in my business, has been getting to know other local women who are also working online. (And I mean local in the broader sense, as within a few hours of my home). But I didn’t start out with that intention.
I discovered online business when we were living in California in 2013 and quickly got hooked on US-based influencers for blogging, social media and online marketing.
Upon our return home to New Zealand, I assumed I would have to look offshore for clients and support in my business. NZ just seemed too small, too backward (I know, I know! Face palm. ) So I priced my services in US dollars and manipulated my schedule to suit US office hours. You want a skype call at 6am my time? You got it!
And it was great! I loved – and still love – working with women from Washington to Melbourne to New Delhi to Paris to Port-au-Prince….
But I soon discovered I was overlooking some incredible talent right under my nose. And I know I’m not the only one to make that mistake.
Connecting with ‘local’ entrepreneurs has been huge for my business. I’ve not only made many dear friends, but I’ve gained some amazing clients, an incredibly supportive referral network and access to huge resources of knowledge and expertise.
That’s the thing about location independence.
It turns out that people of amazing talents and knowledge are hiding out in the most ordinary suburbs and tiniest country villages all over the world, if only we come out from behind our desks to meet them.
Just because a product or service originates from some big name in New York or London or Los Angeles, does not make it better than the advice of the woman seated at the next table.
The busier I’ve become, the more I’ve realised I’m better off hiring an expert to help me with my specific needs, than purchasing an expensive course I’m never going to get time to implement. And it turns out those experts may be just around the corner.
That lady with the crazy purple hair who writes a social media column for our dinky local paper? Turns out she’s an internationally renowned social media expert with tens of thousands of followers. Who knew?
Two years on, I’m proud to say I’ve cancelled some of my ‘big name’ subscriptions and looking closer to home for my business support network and online expertise.
So today I want to give a huge shout out to some Kiwi women in online biz who are not only sharing great stuff but lifting up other women along the way. If you haven’t heard of them, check them out.
And wherever you are in the world, take the time get to know those in your local network. You never know what genius could be hiding just around the corner.
Natalie Cutler-Welsh – The Go to Girl
Natalie was the first Kiwi online entrepreneur I discovered upon our return to New Zealand, initially through her parenting podcast, If Only They’d Told Me.
Nat brings together social media business ‘know how’ and good old fashioned face-to-face networking events. I’ve made so many friends and client connections through her welcoming and fun networking events and it has been inspiring to watch her business and influence grow over the last few years.
Check out her Facebook group, or get along to her next event (she regularly hosts events in Auckland, and occasionally in Wellington, Tauranga and Christchurch)
Rachel Lewis – The NZ Women’s Entrepreneur Network
Rachel’s NZ Women’s Entrepreneurs Network (formerly Kiwi Mumpreneurs) splashed onto the scene fairly recently, yet she’s created a lively community, with an incredible, supportive vibe.
As co-founder of the London-based KiwiOz Nanny Agency back in the day, Rachel knows a thing or two about running and marketing a business – as well as managing a team, learning to work ON the business not IN the business, and working remotely, since she now leads the London operation from her Auckland home.
Rachel is in the Facebook group a lot offering advice, insights and ideas. The group is currently closed for membership as she gears up to launch her new programme – make sure you watch that space though, as Rachel knows her stuff and has a lot to share.
Natalie Tolhopf – Catapult Your Business
The imperfect action Queen and biz coach extraordinaire, Natalie Tolhopf is unapologetically herself – and attracting a growing tribe as a result.
Forget six-figure launches and social media show reels – she’s building her rock solid business the old-fashioned way, with a no-nonsense approach, consistent daily action and a steadfast commitment to her success mindset. Check out her Catapult Collective online accountability group, for affordable group coaching (wherever you are in the world).
Janine Ogg and Jo Foster from Get it Done Mum
Janine and Jo caught my attention a few years back when they launched an online summit and they’ve created a fantastic community of Mums in Biz. Their Get it Done Mum podcast is dedicated to helping Mums create a successful business in 20 hours or less – and offers practical, expert tips and resources for doing more with less stress, and managing life, work and family.
Philippa Mannagh from Liked Media
My husband has always accused me of being Auck-centric, so he’s delighted that I’ve connected with Pip Mannagh who has created a fantastic network to support Mums in biz in his hometown of Whangarei. In doing so she’s drawing attention to the awesome creative ventures happening outside of the country’s biggest cities. Love your work Pip.
Michelle Morpeth – The Outdoorsy Mama
This one breaks the business and networking mould, but I love what Michelle is creating with her blog and Facebook Group, The Outdoorsy Mama, dedicated to Mums who love getting active outdoors and want to share that passion with their children.
Some of my best memories and favourite travels are the outdoorsy ones – a six week hiking holiday in the South Island of New Zealand, climbing Mt Fuji, diving in Thailand and Galapagos, kayaking in the fjords of Norway and rivers of Argentina, hiking across Switzerland and the Cordillera Blanca in Peru, sailing around the south coast of England, mountain biking in Wales, skiing in France…
Since becoming a Mum a lot of these pleasures had fallen away, dropped into the too hard basket.
No longer! Thanks to The Outdoorsy Mama I’m reminded daily why we used to do these things – and that it IS possible even with little (sometimes whinging) people underfoot. The 1000 women (and growing) who jumped in to join the group in the first ten days share endless ideas and places to get outside and get active, no matter how old your kids.
So if you’re keen to get outdoorsy with your small people this summer, head on over and check it out.
Of course there are loads more who inspire me… Liz Fry for her Fuse networking events, Deb Malone for Facebook Ads, Deb Rock Evans for getting over yourself and getting out there, Wick Nixon and Claire Deeks for their healthy eating blogs and workshops… yikes I run a very real risk here of leaving out someone important!
But for now I’d love to know: Who inspires you both online and offline? Share your favourite peeps in the comments below.
If you’re keen to connect with more inspiring women in business AND work on creating content from the heart, come on over and join my private Facebook group, The Content Collective. It’s free.