Are you looking for opportunities to work or grow your business? Have you started a new gig and don’t know how to get the word out?
That was me in 2018. I had decided to pursue a freelance writing career in 2017, created this website, have been blogging and writing daily devotionals, and increased my readership. But breaking into freelance writing wasn’t easy especially with my medical/nursing background. Until someone from my writer’s network said, “Don’t look too far out. Opportunities come in many forms and usually within your community.”
So I attended a meeting in November of 2018, curious about this networking event in our parish. When I introduced myself as a freelance writer looking for opportunities, John Arnott introduced himself as the CEO of Content First Marketing looking for a freelance writer preferably someone specializing in health contents.
Coincidence? Serendipity? Or plain Divine Providence?
I met many people in that group, who were not just looking for opportunities, but also offering free advice regarding their services, or encouragement to those who needed boost and confidence for a new venture, and those who are just passionate about what they do.
To be with like-minded people, praying, and sharing this gift of faith with one another is St. Monica Work’s charm that attracted me.
For me, it’s a safe place where you can be vulnerable about your business challenges and passionate about your life’s purpose or work.
I wondered how did this impactful ministry start?
Terry Lynne, who co-founded St. Monica Works Ministry with Mike Curtis, was more than happy to share the story of how it all began.
“It was about 4 years ago when both Mike and I were involved with the Dads Club. At our monthly meetings, we were so busy talking about how dads serve the school, we didn’t have a whole lot of time to network. St. Monica Works was born out of that as an opportunity for dads, and others, to network in a more conducive environment. We really thought it would be beneficial to engage with other business people and find out more about what they do and share what we do.”
Wow. Just to answer a simple need to connect with others and look how much more it is doing for the parish.
But for someone like me, who’d rather stay at home and surf the web to look for opportunities, going out and meeting new people is daunting. It’s a leap outside my comfort zone. I’m a writer for a reason. I’d rather stay in my own cubbyhole, read and research, then write.
But Terry would advise otherwise, “I would say it is so important to have a large network of contacts. Build your own network. Get involved. Be a sponge and try to absorb and learn all that you can. Business does not always seek you out so you have to be known and be a resource to those you wish to do business with. Investing an hour a month to attend a St. Monica Works meeting is a very small investment in your future career. But, don’t rely on this one group by itself to build your business. It is just one tool of many you will need to move forward.”
I wished I’d known about this networking group earlier. Yet better late than never. Now, I’m actually getting paid to read and blog. I have more confidence in my copywriting and medical communication skills. Sometimes, it’s a matter of finding the support system that makes you see your value and what you can offer to people.
“It’s a constant challenge—getting the word out to others,” Terry said. “St. Monica is a huge community and for some reason we have a hard time growing the group. With so many business people in the parish, I believe we should have a packed room each month with those who want to do more business within the parish, those looking to grow their business, and even those looking for a new job opportunity.”
“So what do you plan to do? Where do you see the ministry five years from now?” I asked.
“I hope the group will continue and will continue to grow. While Mike and I started the group, we do not want to be the ones who continue to run it and do all of the work. We have been trying to recruit others to serve on the board and phase ourselves off, to some extent, so we can get new, fresh ideas and people. We will still come as we are still looking to do business with others.”
Personally, I think it’s not just for business people but for all who wish to learn more about services that they may be missing out. I’ve met great individuals who have answered my questions about banking and investment, medical, life, or home/auto insurance, real estate, pest control, health and fitness, and even wood carving.
So if you live near St. Monica Church, drop by and experience for yourself what I’m talking about.
You can also connect with St. Monica Works on LinkedIn and read more about the ministry on their website.
The things you’d learn from the next St. Monica Work’s meeting may just be the answer to your question or somebody else’s need.
See you on February 21, at 8 am, in the Family Center. And if you miss that, there’s always another meeting every third Thursday of the month.