The moment I discovered there was a way to make my own website, there was no questioning my love for design. I don't have a design based degree, I'm self-taught and I can attribute some of my improvements as a designer and overall professional to a design community.
Being in a community where people understand the day-to-day struggles of being a designer can :
Up Your Confidence When You Need It
I believe going it did wonders for my mental health going to the design community I was part of and talking to senior creatives about the struggles I went through. In the conversations I had, I learned the things I went through were normal, and experiencing them didn't make me any less of a designer. One of them said, "We all go through that phase imposter syndrome, but what we must remember is that the fact we are dedicating ourselves to this craft is what makes us designers."
Get You Out of Your Comfort Zone
Two things I had never done as a web designer were: design real logos and develop a WordPress theme for sale. As I worked on some personal projects, a designer friend of mine encouraged me to do both. I was bad at logo design (and still have some learning to do), but a graphic designer in one of the communities I'm in sat me down in the way and had been showing me the ropes, now I have designed my personal logo. Even though I design WordPress sites and themes for clients, I never thought of making one sell on a market, right now I am doing just that.
Help You Develop New Skills
I talked about how a graphic designer set me down and has been teaching me logo design. I mean this woman has literally coached me through the logo design process. Now I am developing skills that will help me add logo design to my skill set which is definitely an invaluable one to have(Much love RonnaLee). You'll be surprised by what you might learn just by participating in a design community.
Multiple Job Opportunities
One of the greatest benefits of joining a design community is that there are multiple job opportunities. In some discord servers, the server staff set up these channels where people can request design services. If you have the necessary skills for a particular request, then all you have to do is send a direct message to the client, work out the details of the request, do the job, and get paid. Now while most of these jobs aren't the super high paying gigs you want, they are good for getting more projects to display on your portfolio
How Can I Join A Design Community?
Some of the largest and most active design communities can be found on YouTube, designers who are on YouTube often have a community of their subscribers that are active on slack or discord. Searching for these types of channels will yield good results. If you go on Behance, several of the larger broadcasters have communities on discord as well. Also, you can search on discord's directory or search for forums that are dedicated to designers.
Online communities are great during this time we are going through, but when things get back to normal, why not get involved with local design communities. These local communities are more viable for finding a mentor who can focus on you and your developmental needs.
Remember, design communities can have a powerful impact on your life. Just put yourself out there and be willing to learn, you will thank yourself later for the leap of faith you have taken.