This post is part of a mini-series on growing your community and, in particular, your client base by being proactive and seeing opportunities all around you. Today’s post comes from copywriter Lilybet Murray. Want more tips on building your business community? 28 solo business owners shared their #1 secret for growing their community with us- get them now!

Ask not what the community can do for you, but what you can do for the community! This is a mentality I encourage my clients to try on for themselves, because our work as creative solopreneurs is always done in the service of others.

I'm a business and marketing consultant to solopreneur artists. Essentially, I teach my clients how to fish for themselves and turn their artwork into opportunity. In the past two years, I’ve received all of my clients through word of mouth marketing, have been asked to speak and teach at arts venues and colleges, and have built a following because of the reputation I’ve developed in my niche.

To date, the best compliment I’ve received for my work was from a digital marketer who moved to my city to work in the arts, heard my name pop up from a number of people and said, “Heather, I don’t know what you are doing, but it is working.”

Did I develop a strong reputation overnight? Of course not. The number one way I build (actively, not passively) my community of loyal fans and followers is by participating in the community as a member first, and a contributor second.

Like many solopreneurs, I started my business after realizing what was lacking within my own community of interest, and discovering where I could add value. As an active participant in the world my customer lives in, I naturally understand my customer’s pain points, their needs and what their hearts desire. It’s my job to listen and find the right solutions for my client’s goals, strengths and budget. Doing so reliably, with loads of enthusiasm in my own style, keeps me top of mind within the community and keeps opportunity knocking at my door.

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Heather Allen

Heather Allen is the author of the upcoming book, Let Your Creativity Work for You: The Artist’s Step by Step Guide to Turning Artwork into Opportunity. An art business consultant who helps artists earn more for their craft, she speaks to audiences of artists, business professionals and students about marketing, branding, the creative process & creativity in entrepreneurship. Learn how to stay on top of your art business A-Game through her live and online workshops, and on her blog at HeatherAllenOnline.com.

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