Sunday, May 4, 2008

Community. Remember That Point.

Dear Readers,

On the same day that I decided to start my company, which I knew would serve the modern, cosmopolitan aunt, I made lists. Lists are a good thing to create when you know you need to do something, but aren't sure what.

First, I created a list of things the company would do. Or be. Gosh it was so amorphous at this point. It would be a Website. There would be tips for being the best Auntie possible. There would be things to do - Aunties need ideas for what she could do with kids. And of course,
there would be products and gift ideas. And community. In my very first day as an entrepreneur, on the list of things I wrote down of what needed to be included in my company, I included: Community. Aunties need to be able to connect with each other in order to learn from each other. Community. Remember that point. It's important.

The second list I made were of men and women, friends and acquaintances, I knew who were entrepreneurs. Right off the bat, I had a list of ten people. Without blinking, I knew ten people who could give me advice on entrepreneurship. Wow. That seemed like a lot at the time.

I spoke with them all in the two weeks following my list making. We met for coffee. At the gym. For lunch. For dinner. On the phone. On a street corner. At the bookstore. At their office. No matter where, what or how, each one made time for me. And they all had great advice. I learned something from each one of them. One thing I have learned is that entrepreneurs believe deeply in karma. They know that by sharing what they have learned from others - and on their own - with a newbie, something good will come back to them. These entrepreneurs should expect a lot of great things coming back to them.

I have all the notes. I kept them all in one book. They include brainstorms for names of the company (I went with another name in the end). Names of attorneys. Accountants. Graphic designers. Names of people these people were connected with.
Lots of fantastic ideas. And not one negative word. Not one hint that I might have a challenge I could not overcome.

I not only got great advice and qualitative information,
I also got tremendous support. Each smile, hug, "tell me more!," "let me know how else I can help," "I'll put you in touch with...," all of that meant I could wake up the next day feeling like I would one day be like them. One day, I would be a successful entrepreneur.

On both lists I made that day, I had listed Community. One was to serve Aunts. The other was a list of ten people in my life who became my community of entrepreneurs. Less than a year later, that list has grown to dozens more. Entrepreneurs introduced me to entrepreneurs. I found entrepreneurs on Facebook. On Twitter. Through networks like Ladies Who Launch and the Jeff Pulver Social Media Breakfasts. Sometimes I "met" entrepreneurs in books and magazines. And a few I just stumbled upon along the way.

What I have learned from these people is invaluable. I will try to repeat their lessons in this Blog as the posts move forward. And I'll add a few tips of my own.

I am much smarter and will be more successful because of the community of entrepreneurs who have helped and continue to help me every day. If you want to be an entrepreneur, ask another one for help. Some of you have even begun emailing me for advice (I laugh in humble irony). I am here to help. We are all part of a community. And that's what community does.

Remember that point. It's important.

Auntie Melanie


  1. Nice Post!!

    Entrepreneurs need to stick together!

  2. I'm just a girl with a blog (for now), but your attitude and your connection with community will guarantee your success. You earned yourself a customer in me! Waiting for the mugs eagerly!

    xoxo @marlinex/marilyn

  3. I would imagine the most fun is comes from the learning experience. Not too many things you can say that about eh?

  4. your wonderful work and willingness to help others will all come back to you...the more you give the more you get is what I believe!

    wonderful post Melanie...


  5. It all comes down to being willing to ask for help, doesn't it? That's where us ladies have an advantage :-) I'm a budding (infant) entrepreneur and I'm trying to draw on my rather rusty business courses in college plus a LOT of research. You've been an inspiration to me - thanks so much!

  6. Great information here. I'm sharing this blog with my wife... a stay at home mom & operator of a home-based business.

    I help her with technology things, but she's the real magic behind what she does.

    She needs to connect with other women who run businesses, and I think this would be a great place to start!

  7. OK I love this. First of all, it's just a great idea--this site. And secondly, yay for community. Yay for virtual community. Yay yay.
    And I hope all those smart people told you that this site is as much for moms as for aunts. Because honestly, though I have been a mom for nine months, I've been an aunt for seven years. And it's still way way important to me to be the coolest Aunt my nieces and nephews have. And I still really want to be there for them. So kudos. Rock on.

  8. Glad to hear so many new people are finding this blog!

    Bill - glad I can help connect your wife with others. Thanks for your lovely comment.

    Wendy - Mommy-Aunties are more than welcome to the site. My (unscientific) research shows me that moms who were Aunties first, don't ever want to lose that relationship - or have it dulled because of her new status as Mom. So glad you are planning to join when it launches. I am looking forward to meeting you there, and all mommy-aunties and non-mommy aunties alike when it launches in the near future.

    Auntie Melanie

  9. Melanie,

    Best of luck to you on your journey. Great entrepreneurs stick together!

  10. I am thrilled that you have seen the major importance in community! My motto is: Networking, networking, networking.

    You go, girl!

    Auntie Phyl


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