I sometimes call myself an accidental entrepreneur, even though a part of me has always wanted to own my own business. In fact, as a kid, I started a “boutique” in my bedroom and tried to convince family members and friends to buy purses and costume jewelry I no longer wanted.

Nonetheless, it would be a blog, not a boutique, that would be the start of my first real business.

See Jane Write didn’t start out as a business. It was initially just an excuse for me to hang out with other creative women who write and blog. When I started See Jane Write in 2011 it was meant to just be a small group of women getting together once a month to talk about the writing life. But these women wanted more. They wanted workshops and other educational events. Then the See Jane Write events and the See Jane Write blog started getting attention — lots of attention. And soon people in Birmingham started calling me a writing and blogging “expert,” though I certainly didn’t think of myself as one.

Eventually, people started asking for one-on-one help. And just as I was offering events and workshops for free, I was giving one-on-one help for free, too. I was running around all over town after a long day of teaching meeting people at their favorite coffee shop helping them outline their book, launch a blog, or jump-start a freelance writing career and I was getting paid a smoothie and smile.

For the sake of my savings account (and my frugal husband’s sanity), I started a membership program to help cover event costs and later a business coach made me realize that all this one-on-one help I was offering was consulting or coaching and that I should be getting paid for it. So I started a formal coaching program, too.

And that’s how I became an entrepreneur.

But I would have no members and no coaching clients if I didn’t first build a tribe.

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