Beyonce Was Right… Girls Do Run the World & They Run Online Communities Too.
Girl bosses from all over the world can be found online in closed groups and communities sharing ideas, advice, and motivation to be successful in their careers.
Six months after I graduated from Florida State University with my BA, I decided to start my own LLC. My undergraduate degree is in Theatre, and I have minors in communications and education, but when it came down to starting my own business, I did not have the slightest idea where to begin. I leaned on friends and acquaintances for advice on the steps to starting a business, creating a logo, opening a new bank account, etc.
Fast forward almost two years and I stumbled upon a closed Facebook group titled “Freelancing Females.” I actually found this group from scrolling on Instagram. The “Freelancing Females” Instagram account feed is mostly comprised of motivational quotes, relatable memes, and content that appeals to female entrepreneurs. In their Instagram bio there is a link to join the closed Facebook community. The about section for the closed Facebook group reads: “Freelancing Females is a global community of over 15,000 women redefining 9–5. It’s a place for designers, content creators, engineers, translators and more to share knowledge and discover new ways to freelance. The FF platform helps women empower themselves around personal businesses. Here we seek and offer advice, create experiences, host important conversations, collaborate on projects and post jobs on our platform.” Immediately, from that description I knew I needed to be part of this group. I answered the required questions and was soon after approved in this group.
It sounds dramatic but once I was accepted I felt the doors of inspiration, motivation, and knowledge had opened. I was impressed with how willing members of this group were to share their own stories and experiences. Most of my past experience online in community groups were more guarded or superficial, but I find this group to be different. I could have used this group two years ago when I was lost and confused starting my own business. Now I happily help others when I can, and I reach out when I need help or assistance. In this group, there are also job opportunities being posted constantly, which I love. The fact that we can support each other’s businesses and hire from within is almost like it’s own LinkedIn network in itself.
I recently read this article by Lindsay Starke titled “Nine Characteristics of Online Communities That Work” and I found “Freelancing Females” really matched her description as a solid example. The nine characteristics she listed include:
1. Successful Communities Have a Plan- to this I say, duh!
2. They are Run by Humans- Sorry not sorry bots!
3. Designed for the User- The community should feel compelled to interact.
4. Consist of a Uniting Culture- The “Freelancing Female” group, for example, is all united by girl power! (YASSS!)
5. Constantly Cared For- Like a garden or a puppy, they require care and maintenance, so does an online community. Water the posts a bit!
6. Awesome Content- Without content, the online community cannot flourish.
7. Data-Driven- Are numbers growing? Are members interacting? Don’t ignore these stats!
8. Many Voices (not one)- That’s the best part of an online community, learning from each other.
9. Fun & Enjoyable- What is going to make you check the group and participate? It’s got to be entertaining to keep wanting to interact!
I agree with these points completely, and it is amazing to see how we have evolved in online communities. I think as the world becomes more digital, this is our future, and embracing it can really help your career and increase your networking sphere.
Click here to follow “Freelancing Females” on Facebook. You do not have to be in the closed group to follow the Facebook page, and I highly recommend it.