Christine Coughlin sits behind her laptop smiling at the camera as she prepares to host the Rise and Monetize Creators Summit

13 Ways Building an Online Community Empowers Female Entrepreneurs

Life As An Entrepreneur

May 8, 2024

In 2019, I pressed post on my first blog-style Instagram post. At the time, it was a form of therapy to help me process feelings of loneliness and overwhelm in motherhood, but it was also the start of building my online community of female entrepreneurs. You can read that post here.

If You Build It, Clarity Will Come

Truthfully, I wasn’t sure what the end goal of building an online community was, but I was desperate for deeper connections to others and myself. I also knew that if I built an online community, once I figured out what I was trying to create, I would have a community of people who already knew, liked and trusted me.

13 Ways Creating An Online Community Empowers Female Entrepreneurs

Rediscover And Sharpen Your Marketable Job Skills 

After being a stay-at-home mom for a decade, my skills needed to be updated. By blogging, I built up my writing, editing, photography, videography, graphic design, software skills, and even talking and working with adults. 😅

Explore Curiosities Safely

An online community allowed me to test concepts in real-time and receive instant community and self-feedback. When I first started sharing online, I explored the idea of being a home decor blogger or someone who upcycles old furniture. I quickly discovered those weren’t aligned with my talents or how I wanted my home or career to feel. 

Increase Confidence

In the beginning, sharing your thoughts, ideas, and creative work online can be terrifying. Reaching out to someone you’ve never met and asking them to collaborate on a project isn’t easy.  

In the early days, for EVERY project I took on, I was positive this was the one I would fail at, but time and time again, I proved to myself my commitment to creating quality work and my ability to problem-solve when issues arose. 

Over the last four years, I’ve felt my self-trust soar. (I hope my “covid therapist” reads this; that poor woman listened to me cry for years out of fear over ALL THE THINGS.) 

Find Your Voice

Once I overcame the fear that not everyone would enjoy me or my content, I was empowered to lean into authentically expressing myself. I had spent far too long filled with self-doubt and the fear that there was something fundamentally “wrong” with me. 

While building my online community, I’ve realized we are all more alike than we realize. If something is coming up for me, I am not as original as I thought, and voicing my experiences has only brought me deeper connections to those around me. 

Create A Portfolio

From the early days of reaching out to other creators to collaborate and create giveaways to creating events and editing two websites, I showed the quality of my work, which has created a level of trust and credibility when I reach out to someone new about a project. 

Network Despite Social Anxiety

As someone with what we’ll call ” occasional social anxiety” and a dislike of small talk, networking has always been a challenge. 

Building an online community allows me to connect with people comfortably and naturally online. We can see our mutual connections and interests, engage in meaningful conversations, and build relationships without the pressure of trying to make a “good first impression” in person. 

Find Your People

As someone who has always felt like an outsider, it’s been amazing to put my heart and passions into the world and see who I attract to my community. 

The women I’ve connected with bravely showcase their talents and pursue their passions, and they have been a constant source of motivation and support. Their stories and successes have encouraged me to continue embracing my gifts and putting myself out there. The exchange of ideas and collaborative projects have pushed me to think outside the box and continuously innovate. 

Discover New Perspectives

Connecting with a diverse online community has exposed me to various perspectives and ideas, from gay drag queen dads to goth mom influencers and psychic business coaches. Creating a world where you only see yourself reflected back to you is so easy. My online community has allowed me to connect and learn from different cultures, industries, and viewpoints, making me more open-minded and adaptable.

Be the Change You Want To See

In the beginning, I struggled because I didn’t want to be labelled an “influencer,” but creating my community has allowed me to show up in a way that is authentic to me. 

I share topics that matter to me and don’t worry about what is trending. I have created a space to showcase the struggles and joys of balancing family, ambition, and well-being, as well as things that light me up, like fashion and connection to nature, highlighting healthy female relationships, personal development, and business. 

My goal is to be an influencer for good, and if others feel the need to minimize that, I now have the confidence to not give it a second thought. 

Empowered Me To Find My Passion And A Way To Monetize It

It’s always been about bringing people together and creating experiences for me. Creating my online community allowed me to expand my network and see where my skills were needed. 

After showing up consistently to support and encourage my community, they have done the same for me, allowing me to turn my passion into my career. 💕

Opens Doors to Unique Opportunities

The connections and visibility gained from my online community have opened doors to incredible opportunities for myself and my family. My daughter had the chance to walk in Toronto Fashion Week, and I was invited to create content at retreats in Whistler and Costa Rica. 🎉

Built In Focus Group

An online community means having a built-in audience ready to provide feedback. This immediate and diverse input has been invaluable in refining my skills and improving my work. It’s like having a supportive focus group available at all times.

Building Accountability

One of my goals is to stand up against hustle culture and promote a healthy work-life balance. Knowing that others follow my progress motivates me to stay committed and disciplined. When I feel out of balance, I feel accountable to my community to make adjustments to maintain integrity.

Build A Life You Love

Building an online community has led me to my passions and allowed me to create a career that is both fulfilling and adaptable to my family life. It’s been a journey of growth, discovery, and empowerment, helping me find my voice and confidence, connecting me with a network of inspiring female entrepreneurs, and opening doors to extraordinary opportunities. 

It’s now 2024, and I’ve religiously shown up when no one was listening, when I felt like a fraud, and when my real-life friends and family looked at me like I was crazy. It has not been easy, but I would do it again in a heartbeat to get where I am now. 

If you’ve considered building an online community, I wholeheartedly encourage you to do so! 

xx Christine

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