When we first started our business, almost ten years ago, we were very lonely. We work from home, and we didn’t know anyone else who did what we did. So we had each other, but that was pretty much it.
For the first several years in business, we continued to not have any professional connections. We worked from home, we didn’t go to conferences, our leads were all word-of-mouth. Most of our communication with people was through e-mail.
It can be very isolating to work from home.
Then in 2013 we went to our first WordCamp. And while we were nervous and felt like imposters, we learned a lot and we met a few people. We didn’t branch out much, we didn’t do the “Hallway Track” as you hear about it. But during the course of that conference, we learned that the WordPress community was great. During each session, I’d follow the speaker on Twitter.
There was a hashtag for the conference, so I set up a column in Tweetdeck to follow everyone’s tweets. I responded to people, and slowly, I started making connections to people in the community. Other people who do what I do.
And two years later, I’ve made many more friends, both online and in real life, that have greatly increased my skills, knowledge, and my connection to the community. The hard part about working from home is that you don’t have that camaraderie that comes with an office. If I’m stuck on a project, I can’t just walk into someone’s cube and get their thoughts.
But over time, I’ve made those connections in other ways and I can toss out my questions online. I can tweet at people I know. I can post in Facebook groups or in Slack. I have a lot of resources and a lot of people I consider my WordPress family.
My message here is that it’s important to make connections to people in your field, whether you work from home or not, but it’s especially important if you work from home. Because those connections, whether online or in real life, can add a lot of value to your business. They can provide feedback, knowledge, and just be someone you can exchange ideas with.
One of the reasons I think the WordPress community is the best tech community is because everyone is so open and willing to have these connections. It’s less about competition and more about friendship. And that’s important.
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