How I started an online business. And accidentally created a thriving community

I run a business. It’s called girl & duck.

It feels weird to call it a business. I didn’t know you could love a business. But I do. I adore it. I’m obsessed with it. When I’m creating stuff for girl & duck, I’m in my genius zone. (Have you read that book? The one about zones and upper limit problems and getting your happy on so you can be more productive? It’s called, The Big Leap. Get it. )

But, as I said, sometimes it feels weird to call g & d a business.

Other times, not so. I feel proud and empowered to call myself a business woman and to refer to g & d as ‘MY BIZ’. Seriously cool.

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We have competitions and prizes and one of a kind, designer calico bags…

To me, this journey has been about stepping up. It’s been about visibility. It’s been about creating a community where before there was just a group of people bumbling around, hoping to meet One Day. Or worse still, pushing ‘like’ buttons as a way of reaching out.

Yerp, at g & d we’ve created a community of kidlit creators (authors, illustrators, publishers, editors, designers) that’s so friendly, so supportive, so kooky, it nearly makes me burst with pride.

We’re writing stories. We’re writing books, poetry and To Do lists. We’re making art, fighting with computers, building platforms, forming friendships, learning and growing, every single day.

It don’t get much better than that!

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A duckie meet-up in Brisbane in August this year. See the girl way, waaay down the back (top right). Down in the dumps, yeah? Obviously not a duckie.

But to take all the credit makes me sound like a hero. And I’m not. I’ve been bumbling with the best of them for years. And g & d did not come about because I declared, ‘I’m going to create a community! Just you watch me!’

girl & duck came about because I had a tiny idea (maybe I could teach creative writing in a way that’s fresh and exciting) and I followed my nose.

I started by teaching in real life (at the local library).

I wrote and self-published a book.

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It’s in paperback! Hoorah! Click here to read reviews and deets.

I started this blog.

I also started vlogging.

If you subscribe to g & d, you’ll know all about the vlog, aka Q & Q Friday (Questions and Quacks).

Every week subscribers receive a video, from me, all about creative writing, illustration, the publishing industry. Even stuff about mind set. Or decluttering your undies. Whatever’s hot…

The duckies send me questions and I answer ’em. Even if I don’t know the answer…

For the blog

We’ve made more than seventy videos so far and we’ve never missed a Friday. Except that one time when Q & Q Friday arrived on a Saturday. But we won’t dwell on that.

Some of the vids are now on Youtube but most are still on the private, Duckies Only, playlist.

Now, turns out the duckies are a pushy lot and early on they demanded a private Facebook group.

But I was scared. Scared of the commitment. Scared I’d have nothing to say. Scared I wouldn’t be able to juggle it. Scared of being a leader.

So. I had this affirmation. I’d been saying it daily for about a year: ‘It’s my time and I’m ready for the next step’.

This was obviously the next step.

I took it.

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Loads of people want to join The Duck Pond. And I want them to join!

The only ‘rule’ is that you must subscribe first. It’s the only way  I can keep the group safe and cohesive. If everyone subscribes, everyone is on my mailing list. That means we all receive the videos, the newsletters, the special promotions and the random updates together at the same time.

It gives us something to talk about in The Duck Pond, too. Ahem.

We even have our own mottos. Here’s one I prepared earlier:

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And a raft of ducks (thank you, Zoe) for special occasions (I’ve only got space for three right now):

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Hipster duck

Resort duck

Big important words coming up NOW.

Following this blog does not make you a subscriber.

You must go here to subscribe. (It’s free!)

Then, once you’re done, toddle over to the Facebook group and Dulcie will let you in. She’s a tad standoffish, but even Dulcie hates turning away potential duckies.

Speaking of which, here’s the team:

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Geek Duck: Techy whizz. Brain made of computer cables.

Dulcie Duckworth: My mysterious VA (virtual assistant). Rarely speaks to anyone. But she’s efficient.

Zoe Collins: Graphic design, events management, group agitator.

Queen Duck: Crowned and everything.

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This year, under Zoe’s guidance, we started a rebrand (and everyone in the Pond came along for the ride).

We began by rebranding my online course, Scribbles. Want to stretch your imagination and push your creative writing? Find out about Scribbles HERE. Man of man, you sooo should join! (If you haven’t already!)

We rebranded the Q & Q videos, too.

Next year, the g & d rebranding will extend across the whole site, and across to the new courses I’ve got planned. (I’m recording modules this week. Super exciting stuff!)

So that’s my biz. That’s girl & duck.

It’s a long way from a course at the local library.

But it’s been worth every step.

Thank you for being a part of it!

Jen xo

PS Don’t go it alone. Subscribe here and we’ll help you get quackin’!