The Value of Professional Online Communities

Seeing that I am working from home and still in the first 6 months of starting my business, I am finding professional online communities very helpful.  Not only is it an opportunity to learn from others in a given profession but also provides a social network of people working towards similar goals.  In fact I was surprised to learn that it is quite common for participants on different sites to try and meet up at industry events.  Often times at conventions and trade shows one would be by themselves but if you are an active participant in online forums there is an opportunity to network with others you have already established  a connection with.  How great is that?! 

Naturally, Startup Nation is exceptional because of the variety of business information available and the willingness of the participants to offer advice and opinions.  The best online community for fashion designers I have found is Fashion-Incubator.  Yes, the blog is extremely helpful but there is also an online forum in which professional and courteous designers partake in.  A particularly unique quality of the Fashion-Incubator forum is that it is extremely affordable.  The only requirement is that you have bought the administrator’s (Kathleen Fasanella) book The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing.   The book is an extremely helpful guide and a designer entrepreneur would only be doing themselves a disservice by not owning the book in the first place.  Another particularly useful and inviting social network exists on the Ladies Who Launch website.  There are many different groups available with active participants.  Fashion Business Inc., an organization founded by Fashion for Profit’s author Frances Harder, provides resources including blogs and courses (virtual too!) for those in the fashion industry.  

With a little extra effort your home office can have all the networking potential and more of working in an environment with hundreds of employees!

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