Years ago when I started my custom drapery/interior design business I felt overwhelmed at times. I was 26 years old, living in a “foreign” county (Canada) on a farm miles away from town, and only had a party-line phone where almost every call was long distance! There were no computers, internet or google search. I really needed someone to bounce my ideas off and give me a little guidance. Luckily, I had a friend that was like-minded and we soon partnered up to start a successful business. I can’t imagine how our business would have sky-rocketed with help from the internet and Facebook groups!
Being a part of a Facebook group isn’t always for everyone. I’m not one to fear the “competition” and I think I have plenty to learn and share, so being a part of different groups is a boost for me. I’m also very lazy about researching and would rather ask a quick question and get an answer. Watching YouTube video’s might be great for some but I prefer the interaction with others rather than just watching a stranger.
I recently asked the question on the Furniture Painting Business Tips group, "How has being a part of a group helped you as a furniture painter?"
One member responded, “Knowing that everyone has the same struggle as you, and one is not alone in this.”
Another response, “I like being able to reach out to others when I have a question and get replies and suggestions from those who have tried and succeeded and or even failed. I like that a real person can offer their advice and or opinion and have a great discussion some times with several people and gain valuable insight you just cannot obtain by a google search.”
Most groups have members with all levels of experience. Those more experienced painters are a valuable resource for new beginners and can help guide them in the right direction and save them from making many mistakes. Those willing to share their experience have mentored some fantastic new painters in their businesses.
“Many ways, but when I first started I had many questions. Being in a group that was willing to share helped answer those questions and more. Also, when I started sharing my pieces to the groups, positive comments gave me confidence that what I was doing was well received by a group of people I respected.” What a wonderful testimony to helpful mentors.
“As a beginner, the encouragement and support of a group was very helpful, as well as the ability to ask questions without judgement or ridicule.”
Most groups insist on good manners and etiquette in comments and responses. Sometimes we encounter painters without self-confidence and it’s important to uplift and support their efforts and not be discouraged by negative comments or remarks. We should want all painters to have the proper tools for a good start.
We can inspire confidence in others with just a few words of encouragement and gentle critiques. “Always having a place to go with my questions, a huge amount of support from other painters helps with confidence and inspiration ideas!” We shouldn’t view other painters as our competition and should encourage them to develop their craft as it is good for the furniture painting industry as a whole.
One member made this observation about participating in groups; “First. Inspiration, 2nd, support, third knowledge on repairs, repurposing and products available. Stripping and problem solving furniture issues. 4th pricing and staging.”
As we participate in various groups we need to use common sense and put ourselves in the shoes of others. It’s also important to remember the advice from others is based on their personal experiences. Advice is always just that, advice. It is not the only way to do something. As a member of a group read, watch, share and participate. Give pats on the back to others and be prepared for comments you might not agree with. Be a member that others "like." It’s an opportunity to learn and share.
Join groups that interest you and enjoy making new like-minded friends! Who knows, you might even be inspired to go on a cruise with your group!