The Why, When, and How of
Starting a Peer Group
There’s a single tool that can help you build your skills, stay motivated, give you ideas for your business, and connect you with new resources. And, it won’t cost you a single, red penny.
If you’re just getting started in your freelance web-writing business, this is the perfect time to add this tool to your belt. If you’ve been working your business for a while, it’s still the perfect time.
And, if you’re heading to AWAI’s 2019 FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair this May, it’s the absolute best time!
What’s the tool I’m referring to?
A peer group.
If you followed my journey as the Wealthy Web Writer’s Reality Blogger last year, you’ve heard me talk about my peer group. My peeps. My squad. My tribe. (Here’s an article I wrote devoted entirely to them.)
At first, I thought of them as an accountability group, but in the nearly 18 months since we first met at AWAI’s 2017 Bootcamp, they’ve become so much more than that. They’re my friends. My colleagues. My cheering section. They’re the wall I bounce crazy ideas off of. They’re the people who I can ask for opinions on domain names or whatever else I need input on. They’re the crew that will say, “You gotta do this” or “Don’t do that!”
Each of us, in our own way, is finding success … and I couldn’t imagine being on this web-writing journey without them.
Where to Find Your Tribe
If you could use the same kind of help on your own writer’s journey, then it’s time to start a group. But, where do you find likeminded writers to join you?
You’ve got options!
Are You Bootcamp Bound?
AWAI’s next Bootcamp is right around the corner. If you’re going, it’s a wonderful place to find your peer group. You’ll potentially be meeting hundreds of people … in person! Many of them will be at a similar stage of their writing career as you.
Whether it’s your first Bootcamp or you’re a returning veteran, there are always new people to meet. Make it one of your objectives to find people who want to become part of a tribe. Bring it up in conversations with the people you meet. Get contact information and make a list. When you get back home (or while you’re sitting at the bar relaxing with a glass of wine or seltzer), follow up with them and get the party started.
Or … you could get a head start. Go to the Bootcamp Facebook group and put some feelers out … ask who’s interested in joining you and then plan to meet them when you get to Delray Beach.
Is Virtual Bootcamp Your Thing?
There’s a booming Facebook group for Virtual AWAI Bootcamp attendees! If you haven’t already, get on there and make some friends … then invite them to be part of your developing tribe. Go here for all the details on how you can join us live.
Not Going to Bootcamp This Year?
That’s ok, too. You’re a web writer. Go out there into the world wide web and find some people who want to form a group.
Check out the social media groups where web writers hang out and ask who’d like to join you. On Facebook, there’s Online Copywriters, the group sponsored by us here at the Wealthy Web Writer. There’s the Barefoot Writer group and Professional Writers for Professional Writers Alliance members. AWAI Circle of Success (COS) members also have a group. If you’re on LinkedIn, you can find AWAI and AWAI COS groups there. And, there’s a boatload of other writers’ groups out there.
Things to Consider
Before you start your list, take a moment to look through this section. It will help you to make sure everyone is on the same page.
- Do you want a local group or one with a broad geographic range? Some find it’s easier to get together (even if it’s online) when everyone’s in the same time zone. Others are excited about having a group that ranges from one corner of their country or continent to the other. Keep in mind, you might want to talk in real time, so being on opposite sides of the globe or too far off in time zones may make that challenging.
- Speaking of talking in real time, do you want to have live meetings or chats? There are lots of free meeting platforms, like Zoom and Skype, that are easy to use. Zoom is becoming quite popular — it’s what my group uses. We can all see each other on the screen (or participants can turn off the video option), and it can be used on any internet-connected device. We record (also free) and post our meetings on our group Facebook page for anyone who missed it.
- How often do you want to meet? Do you really want to push each other … and can you fit it into your schedule if you meet once a week? Would you rather meet every other week, once a month … every day? My group meets every two weeks at the same time. We’ve also tried alternating days … once on a Monday and two weeks later on Tuesday, for example.
- What platform will you use to chat and share on a daily basis? Facebook is one of the easiest to use. Using their privacy settings, you can set up a secret group … (not only is it private, but people can’t find it by search either). That will help you to feel comfortable sharing information, both business and, as you all get to know each other, perhaps personal. And, you might occasionally feel the need to vent about something … which should never be done on a public forum.
- How big do you want it to be? Too many people and it loses the personal aspect … too few and you’ll miss out on other perspectives. I’d suggest between 10 and 15.
- Are there any other criteria you want to have? A certain type of writing or niche?
How to Set Up a Facebook Group for Your New Tribe
Setting up a group in Facebook is easy-peasy and takes about 30 seconds. (If you’re already a pro, you won’t need this section.)
Click the Create tab on the blue bar by the primary Facebook navigation buttons, then click Group.
Enter a name for your group and the names or email addresses of the people you want to add. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the names at first. You’ll be able to add more later.
Pay attention to the privacy section. Click the dropdown under the Select privacy tab and set it at the level you want. I recommend a secret group. That way you won’t have other people asking to join (because it’s invisible to anyone who hasn’t been invited), and everything will be private.
That’s it. You can personalize it, add new members, and start conversations once you’re in.
You have everything you need to get started … so no stalling! Start reaping the benefits of a peer group.
"Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler
Do you have a peer group success story to share? Let us know in the comments below
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