How Joining a Community of Entrepreneurs Can Impact Your Business
Kim Marie McKernan, MBA, MS, is a facilitator, speaker, and international marketing leader who left the corporate world after 30 years to start Inspired Outcomes Now. She is passionate about helping business owners bring their vision to life with a true brand that generates results.
Lee Ann Fortunato-Heltzel brings 40 years of award-winning marketing and advertising experience, working alongside clients like 3M and Revlon. Her multi-dimensional marketing firm, Creative One, serves conscious creatives and leading-edge thinkers that desire to utilize higher consciousness and human potential to harness creativity and create new outcomes for success.
Our interview with Kim and Lee Ann was as follows:
Q: Why is it important for entrepreneurs to interact with each other?
Kim: The world of entrepreneurship is changing rapidly, and creating a thriving business poses new challenges every day. Learning from others that are facing similar challenges and leveraging opportunities is essential to success. It is also more fun to interact and learn from others who inspire you. I have seen the power of knowing my strengths and surrounding myself with others that have what I am missing. Community plays this role for solopreneurs and entrepreneurs in small organizations by providing many diverse opportunities to increase your network of like-minded leaders worldwide.
Lee Ann: A larger impact happens within a community. Think of it as a human function rather than just from a business perspective. Throughout time tribes nurtured and supported all members. This is a notion I’ve witnessed play out in my personal life as well as in business, when we collaborate rather than compete, when we come together with our strengths rather than function within separation, we thrive. Entrepreneurship is no different.
Q: What features are important to consider when evaluating the right community for you and your business?
Kim: When I started my career, a wise mentor said, “Hire someone you will want to sit next to on a plane for a transatlantic flight.” I feel the same about a community. Time is our most precious gift, so pick a community where you surround yourself with people that inspire, delight, and give generously. Of course, shared values and beliefs are the best criteria when researching which communities are right for you. Not only did Shift/Co meet all these goals, but it is also professionally and mindfully managed, so I do not waste my time with frustrating administrative or technical glitches.
Lee Ann: When choosing an entrepreneurial community, look for one that shares your personal values and perspectives and one that you can contribute to as well as be nurtured by. Do they speak your language of how you see the world and business? For example, Shift/Co supports elevating humanity through business and is a perfect fit for a conscious-based entrepreneur like me.
Q: What effects (emotionally and physically) have you experienced since joining a community of like-minded individuals?
Kim: The “why” of my business is to help people be more collaborative, creative, and positive at work. A community like Shift/Co is essential for all three of these goals. From my time in the corporate world, I learned the absence of these three attributes could impact my stress levels and overall health. My husband says I am like a different person since I have had my own business, and I have never felt better. Every day that I wake up and have a chance to meet or interact with someone from the Shift/Co community is a good day because I bring to life my values in a way that makes my heart happy and intellect enriched.
Lee Ann: I would say hands down the most notable advantage of joining a like-minded community of conscious businesses and entrepreneurs is the emotional support that I receive as well as provide. The ability to be seen, share, and learn from others facing the same challenges as I face in life and business allows me to see a vaster set of potentials and holistic solutions for those we collectively serve. Belonging to a community that self reflects the same values ultimately enhances my business decisions and raises the bar of how I show up daily.
Q: How has your business benefitted since joining a membership community like Shift/Co?
Kim: Shift/Co has helped my business in so many ways. First, what I have learned in the Core training has been reinforced by applying it in the coaching sessions with other members. Second, the mentoring sessions have helped me take my business to new levels. Third, working with the Shift/Co Conscious Marketing Collective (CMC) has helped me grow professionally by learning the latest concepts from true experts. Lee Ann is also a part of the CMC and we have developed friendship and trust in spite of never meeting in person. Conscious Marketing is new, and it is inspiring to be a part of this rapid evolution with others who share the same passion. Of course, the events and happy hours are fun interactions that are good for the heart and soul. I can’t wait for local in-person networking events to begin again to nurture new relationships in my local community.
Lee Ann: I find the relational support has surprisingly had the biggest impact. To have an authentic sounding board with my business and to see how others resolve obstacles has proved to be a priceless benefit. Relationships do make the difference in every aspect of life and being a part of that preverbal ‘tribe’ means I don’t need to feel isolated navigating my business.
Q: Is there any additional information you would like to share for those searching for an entrepreneur community?
Kim: Finding the right community is a strategic decision for a business owner. During the pandemic, I learned some communities were there to support me when I needed them, and others were missing in action. During this challenging time, Shift/Co made a difference in helping with practical matters such as pivoting to online meetings and best practices on government loans. Most importantly, Shift/Co has been instrumental in helping me grow as a leader and a person. Of all the things that I value about Shift/Co the most helpful is its proven model for scaling your business to grow your impact in the world and abundance in your business.
Lee Ann: Business is more than making a profit. If you are an entrepreneur or thinking about stepping into that role because you are ‘seeking more to life and giving more to life’ know that you don’t need to do it alone. There are more people becoming entrepreneurs now more than ever with over 800,000 entrepreneurs in America alone. 20% will fail within the first year and only 30% will be around in ten years, in other words, entrepreneurship isn’t easy. If you add to the criteria that you want to make a positive difference in the world and leave it better than you found it, then your circle’ will prove invaluable. Conscious business functions differently and the right support can make all the difference. Find a community to stand with you as a human being just as much as an entrepreneur. Shift/Co provides that community for me.
About The Experts:
Kim Marie McKernan, MBA, MS, is a facilitator, speaker, and international marketing leader who left the corporate world after 30 years to start Inspired Outcomes Now. She is passionate about helping business owners bring their vision to life with a true brand that generates results. Her business combines the Science of Creativity + Appreciative Inquiry + Best Practices to help organizations and individuals achieve marketing excellence. Kim has an MBA from State University of NY (SUNY) at Buffalo and an MS degree in Creativity and Change Leadership from SUNY Buffalo State and is proud to be a mentor at Shift/Co and Collective Brains.
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Interested in learning more about the Shift/Co Conscious Marketing Collective, visit https://shiftco.global/page/collectives.
Lee Ann Fortunato-Heltzel brings 40 years of award-winning marketing and advertising experience, working alongside clients like 3M and Revlon. Her multi-dimensional marketing firm, Creative One, serves conscious creatives and leading-edge thinkers that desire to utilize higher consciousness and human potential to harness creativity and create new outcomes for success. Through her Signature MetaInsights ™ she accesses the organization’s ‘point of highest potential’ and carries that unique energy signature throughout the brand and practical marketing efforts.
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