When I first started the Kinship, it felt like I was doing something no one had ever done before. I didn’t know other people who were doing the work I wanted to do: building up other small businesses and helping them tell their stories. Every direction I moved, and every decision I made, relied on a kind of faith. I tried, keeping what worked and losing what didn’t. I had enough experience to recognize what was working and what wasn’t, and I had the combination of luck and determination that let me and the Kinship grow.

Even with the experience, the luck, and the determination, it was hard, lonely work.

One of my favorite parts in what I do now is that I make it less lonely for the people who come after me. When I take a weekly call with a client, we often start out talking numbers and goals, but we just as often start out talking fears and triumphs. I push them to look inward as often as outward, building their business from a central core of deeply held values so that it reflects who they truly are. I call this business the Kinship for a reason: my clients are deeply important to me.

I’m just one person, though. And so, about a year ago, I started talking with my team, batting around an idea for how we could support more small business owners, and keep them from feeling alone. The idea that slowly took shape became the Simply.Kinship Series. I’m drawing on my deep network of other small business experts to lead monthly web-based talks about their experiences and offer their advice. I’ve asked them to keep it real, raw, and honest. They’ll share what they’ve learned, and what they wish they’d known, with the goal of building your small business expertise.

The series is suited for people who are currently running a small creative business, and have a working knowledge of business practice, but are looking for the support to create depth and expand their work. We’ll dive into the nitty gritty of business development: your breakeven, margins and markups, pricing, supply and demand, social media and email strategy, branding, photography, building a team, negotiating contracts, and much more. You’ll learn from other entrepreneurs who have become experts. We’re building community: helping you find other people who are in a similar stage of growing a business, and connecting you with people whose strengths complement yours.

Businesses are tricky. They’re tiring. They’re consuming. That’s just reality. But there’s another side to them, too: they’re empowering, inspiring, invigorating. In the Simply.Kinship Series, we’re tapping deeply into what sustains us, because we’re better together. We’re stronger together. When we work together to grow our knowledge and confidence – and to accept each other exactly as we are – we can build something amazing.

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