Okay, so I did an episode on my new podcast, Emmet Audio (find it anywhere you get your podcasts), about just this. About the need to build a community rather than amass a following. In the episode, I said that the community is what really matters in the end.
So for this second to last week of the Virtual Apprenticeship Challenge, I want you to come up with a community building project that will create value or others. Here are some examples of ones I have done:
The @spoonesaurus feed on Instagram, which, while it did not live up to me and Matt's original vision of a community project, nonetheless created a valuable resource for fellow spooncarvers.
Gathering and shipping spoons to send to a fellow spooncarver who had lost a daughter.
The free Spoonesaurus Gatherings that Matt White and I host twice a year.
Spoonesaurus Magazine, even though it isn't free, has the goal of strengthening and enriching the spooncarving scene.
This challenge itself, which I have seen foster connections between people and a shared sense of purpose and support.
I am excited to announce the most recent of these projects, which is the Spooncarving Collective, a network on the Mighty Networks app. There is a link in my Instagram profile, please check it out. Basically, Mighty Networks allows users to create communities that people can join and then mess around in. My thought was that the Spooncarving Collective could provide a permanent home to these threads of connection and advice sought and given that currently live in my DM lists on Instagram, and which are limited to the max number Instagram allows.
Am I asking you to download yet another app and figure out how to use this new-to-you software? Yes I am.
Because I think it can be a space that we can organize to provide the ultimate resource for other spooncarvers. I think we can together create the community that we all want, that right now lives in a very diffuse way because Instagram puts such a heavy focus on each of us presenting our lives. Don't get me wrong- I think that's important. But what that misses, and what the Spooncarving Collective can provide, is a place for us to all gather and be seen and heard.
So go check it out. I have spent basically no time on it because I'm crazy busy these next few weeks with the Christmas trees, but I've established some topic threads for people to add to, including a suggestions one so you can let me know what else you want to have in the space. I'm really excited to have this space that we can all add to.
Also, if you are doing the challenge, I want you to think about what other community building project you can start. Remember that you don't need permission. Remember that it might as well be you. Remember that it can be small, local (host a spooncarving gathering) or giant and grand (start a non-profit to send a cooking spoon to every refugee family). Build your community by reaching out to people, and by responding to every comment someone makes on your work. Build a community by actually caring what someone thinks. Build a community by being brave enough to share your truth in your posts, and taking the time to actually contribute something meaningful.
So, to recap. You should be carving every day. Because getting good at this thing you want to do is the only way to get where you want to go. You should be posting every single day to social media, and scaling that up as you can. Read my blog post a long time ago about what I think is important in balancing out an Instagram feed. You should be building a website to give you a home base on the internet that is yours and can never be taken away. You should be registered with whatever government entities need to know you exist and have established bank accounts and bookkeeping processes to support this. And now I want you to give back.
Because the more you give, the more you get. But you have to give first. That's how it works.
My blog has evolved into a series of short essays on the nature of entrepreneurship, craftsmanship, and their overlap. If either of these topics is something you think about, you will probably like this.