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/