A Letter from Margy (a/k/a your friendly, neighborhood Community Manager)

margy-rydzynski
C’est Moi!

Happy 2019! I’m looking forward to an energetic and productive year and hope you all experience the same. I took a 10-week business development course last fall via the Center for Women and Enterprise and came away with some great ideas and initiatives, many of which we’ll be implementing this year. I’ll also be incorporating the information gleaned from the survey we sent out late last year. Thanks to all of those who took the time to respond. It really helped give us an idea of what was on your minds.

Working Together in 2019

We have three events coming up, two of which are completely new. Our usual Coffee at Kickstand will be taking place this Thursday at our usual time of 1:00 pm. It’s a very popular event at a very popular time. As a result, we’re getting seriously squeezed out and I’ve started looking around for a larger venue.

As luck would have it, a colleague of mine (Debra Woog, of Polka Dot Powerhouse and a former AE Advisory Board member) recommended a new restaurant in East Arlington, Town Tavern. She described the place as very welcoming and open to groups who wanted to get together. They also have dedicated event space and internet access (attention, event planners!). I gave the owner a call and was treated to a delicious lunch (on the house) and given the grand tour. I was hooked! Town Tavern has the room and the food to satisfy the most or least hungry among us, with plenty of room to sit and mingle.

town-tavern
Let’s Do Lunch!

Arlington Entrepreneurs is hosting a new networking series at Town Tavern in February, “Let’s Do Lunch!” This is an experiment, to see how people who are currently crowded around our table at Kickstand like Town Tavern. It will also get us out of Arlington Center and into other parts of the town. Interested? Feel free to RSVP for first lunch together in February.

Want Some Training with Your Coffee?

Some survey respondents indicated that they wanted more evening events. I’ve also been thinking about incorporating more substantive material into our coffee get-togethers. The end result is another new networking series called “Nights at Nero – Network and Learn.” We’ll be getting together at Caffe Nero in Arlington Center on the last Thursday evening of each month, starting at 6:30 pm on January 31. The cafe is open until 9 pm so food and drink will be on-hand. We’re also going to be incorporating a new feature: individual consultations on a number of topics of interest to our self-employed entrepreneurs.

nights-at-nero
Network…or Just Work!

Our first consultants will be offering a Website Checkup, conducted by Mike Grossman and Lauren Stakutis of Strategic Adrenaline. Lauren will be reviewing your website’s overall design and content. Mike will be looking at things from the standpoint of SEO (search engine optimization) and will suggest ways of organizing your site so that it attracts the attention of search engines like Google. You’ll go home with new tactics and skills that you can immediately apply to your business. We have seven slots of 10-15 minutes each open for anyone who’d like to have their website looked over for purposes of marketing, content and search engine optimization. There will be a fee of $25.00 per person for the consultation, plus the cost of admission to the event ($5.00). Remember: if you’re an AE Premium  member, your $5.00 admission fee is waived!

Interested? Visit our Eventbrite page for more information and to RSVP. Space is limited so don’t wait! As soon as we’ve reached an optimum number of people for the Checkup, we’ll contact you individually to get things going before the event begins.

That’s all for now. Thanks for taking the time to read through this letter. Things will be hopping in 2019. We’ll keep you posted!

Sincerely,
Margy Rydzynski, Founder and Community Manager, Arlington Entrepreneurs

RSVP for Coffee at Kickstand: https://coffee-kickstand-january.eventbrite.com

RSVP for Nights at Nero: https://nero-2019.eventbrite.com

RSVP for Let’s Do Lunch: https://lunchtowntavern-2019.eventbrite.com

Reflections of an Arlington Entrepreneur: Margy Rydzynski

In this new interview series, we meet our Arlington Entrepreneurs Premium members. We begin with Margy Rydznksi, founder and Community Manager of Arlington Entrepreneurs. 

 

Tell us about your business.  Who do you serve? What difference do you make for your clients or customers?

Arlington Entrepreneurs is a networking and business development organization for people who are self-employed. We’ve been in business 10 – 12 years.

Freelancers and all other members of the “gig economy” have unique needs which other business organizations may not prioritize. For example, freelance workers often work in isolation, even if they’re at a coffee shop or co-working center. Arlington Entrepreneurs offers a wide range of social and networking activities designed to get people out of their offices and into the world where they can enjoy the company of other entrepreneurs and also get essential networking done with a group of people who share their needs and skills.

Freelance workers have to wear many hats. They are their own product developers, marketers, accountants, social media and newsletter publishers and computer support specialists. At the same time, they’re running a specific business. Needless to say, many who work in this environment are at a disadvantage since they the lack the financial resources and expertise to manage all these responsibilities. To meet this need, Arlington Entrepreneurs offers a series of educational networking seminars, often with follow up activities or “office hours” for those needing more help with a certain set of tasks.

Arlington Entrepreneurs is also working on some computer infrastructure products such as self-guided WordPress websites and the ability to create virtual classrooms, publish podcasts, set up e-commerce sites and more. The AE website itself is set up like a social network, where members get their own profile page and can interact with other members. Members can also join groups and host their own events, among other things.

AE’s emphasis on combating isolation and providing skills where and when needed has given it a strong community identity. Many have said that events run by Arlington Entrepreneurs are very different from other networking organizations.

What’s your next major business goal?

Arlington Entrepreneurs started out as a free resource. In the intervening years it has become one of the few voices for independent workers. Given its current size and scope of activities, it’s become crucial for the network to create a viable revenue stream. The organization convened an Advisory Board in 2016 and is currently working towards meeting this goal. It also began to consult with the Center for Women and Enterprise in 2018.

What advice or tips would you like to share with other Arlington Entrepreneurs?

Computer literacy is critical to the success of any business, especially very small ones. I would advise members to become more active on the site itself and also make it a point to attend at least the networking seminars. We have a lot to offer but it’s up to each individual member to take advantage of the resources that are available. I would also urge members to create and manage groups within the larger network. Group managers can run their own events, link their website or blog to the group and create forum-like conversations to ask and answer questions or work out joint strategies.

How can we learn more about what you do?

As the Community Manager of Arlington Entrepreneurs, I make it a point to be as available as possible to members or others considering joining the organization. Send me an email and we’ll meet for coffee! Come to an event and meet us in person. We also have a set of very dedicated Advisory Board members who would love to meet you and help you join our community. We’re here to help you!

Would you like to be featured on the Arlington Entrepreneurs website? These profiles are just one of many benefits of Arlington Entrepreneurs Premium membership.  Learn more at  http://arlingtonentrepreneurs.org/membership-has-its-privileges/

 

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