One of my predictions for 2015 was the continued rise of the solo business person – the consultant, the freelancer, the solopreneur. With healthcare becoming more affordable for individuals and the increasing number of people interested in working for themselves, we’ll continue to see more and more people go out on their own.
A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook asked:
Does anyone allow individuals to become members of your chamber? If so, what is your policy on this? Do they need to operate a business? Are they independent contractors of a member – lawyers, Realtors etc.
Most of the chambers who responded had a membership tier that was perfect for retirees or individuals who were interested in attending events, but the membership didn’t come with voting rights or advertising privileges for a business. It’s perfect for someone with an interest in the business community, a job seeker perhaps, but not for someone who has a very small one-person business.
A few chambers offered a discounted rate for business owners of a business consisting of 1-5 people. Many of them paid dues that were similar to what they charge the nonprofits.
Will Solopreneurs Join the Chamber?
The chamber has always been where you go for local business. It was a time-honored tradition. Will it continue to be for micro-businesses and what will it take to appeal to them?
The solopreneur will need resources. When someone is doing it all on their own, the budget is tight. They need to network but they’ll need more than just that as a reason to join. Educational resources, discounts, and other opportunities they can’t uncover on their own will be convincing reasons for membership. Promotion and legislative support for small business will be of interest, especially if they conduct business over the Internet.
But they may need a reduced dues tier. If you want to count on them for eventual sponsorships you’ll have to find something that doesn’t involve promoting a physical location as many of them will work out of the nearest coffee house.
What are you doing to convince individuals to join your chamber and how are you handling membership?
We’re talking about this here. Please join us.
Guest post by Christina Green
Image credit: Norma Davey