This week I attended Business Boutique One-Day in Atlanta, GA. If you are not familiar, Business Boutique was created by Christy Wright and Dave Ramsey about 2 years ago. It now includes a podcast, a book, and events.
As for the Business Boutique events, I liken them to church for business women. You get spiritual uplifting, business straight talk, and fellowship with women like you. Seriously, church for business women!
I have explained in previous posts that I like the phrase "practicing courage." This notion goes back to my high school and college days when I played basketball. In practice, we did things that we intended to repeat in game situations. Even though practices were intense, no one actually won or lost. If I had a rough practice, I got to try again at the next one. A bad game, on the other hand, meant a mark in the L column.
Thus, I like to tell myself when I step out of my comfort zone in order to further my business that I am simply "practicing courage." It if doesn't go well, I get to try again soon. No biggie!
Christy Wright says that confidence is a muscle that must be used for it to get stronger. Her analogy is similar to mine. Keep at it, and things that once were a big deal are no longer so tough.
One of the best things about Business Boutique events is being surrounded by other women who are creating or already running businesses. There's great power in that fellowship! And, the organizers realize that so they encourage you to talk with one another.
Yikes! I LOVE talking, but I feel so dumb when I try to explain my business and my goals. Am I the only one who experiences this? I sure hope not. To my ears, I sound like one of my young sons explaining his restaurant where you can get a chicken biscuit while they fix your broke-down motorcycle and wash your dog at the counter where you're eating!
The difference between my sons and me--they are confident that their restaurant is exactly what everyone wants.
I knew these Business Boutique conversations were coming because I had attended an event last year. So, I psyched myself up for describing my business and even practiced in my vehicle my elevator pitch--a description of your business in the time it takes to ride an elevator a few floors. So, be informative, yet concise. Best practice is to start with the benefits, not the features of your product or service. How would the listener benefit from your business?
Side note, an obvious theme developed this week for me--practice. Practice courage, practice talking about my business, just practice something...everything. :) Seriously, practicing a thing that causes you anxiety is a way to combat your fear--to train your brain and body to properly respond when put into that situation or event.
I am happy to report that I gave my elevator pitch several times that day to women sitting close to me and listened intently while they gave me theirs. Each time, I got a little more confident.
Christy Wright has another saying about confidence and courage--fake it, until you feel like. How true! Keep practicing confidence, and you become more confident.
Social Media Scaredy Cat
It is ironic to talk about practicing courage in the first half of this journal and then call yourself a scaredy cat in the second half. Yet, the purpose of the this journal is honesty with you and with myself. So, for this week--courage and scaredy cat go in the same post. :)
My nemesis is social media. I am a weirdo that can describe all of my silly mess ups in this journal but cringe at the thought of putting a few words on Twitter or Instagram.
In fact, I had a fight with my sister about two months into my business endeavor over Twitter. I had created an account, taken over an hour to write a 140-word tweet, and just couldn't make myself actually tweet it. I called my sister crying. After a few minutes of gently trying to persuade me, she starts screaming into the phone, "Put your big girl pants on and do it!" She shouted that line at me for about 30 seconds, which feels like an eternity when you are on the receiving end. It was a little bit scary, but she was right to "encourage" me. I needed it. I still didn't tweet that night, and my first tweet was only a retweet. Truly, I am a scaredy cat when it comes to social media.
At the writing of this post, I still don't have a Facebook page and don't plan to get one soon. I don't have time right now to learn the platform or to even manage it. Therefore, I have chosen to hold off with Facebook. And, let me be candid, I am practicing courage in many business areas right now, and I don't have the energy or desire to practice with this platform. Call me lazy, dumb, whatever. I call it self-preservation.
About the time I got serious about creating a side business, my friend April suggested Instagram to me. She knew my fear of social media and told me that it just felt friendlier than Twitter to her.
I now have been a proud member of the Instagram community for about 2 months, and I do like it better than Twitter. Because I enjoy photography (even though I have no talent at it!) and because I can write as much as I want in the message, I am much happier with Instagram. I actually find some joy in sharing, which surprises me.
To continue with my theme of practicing courage this week, I decided to share on Instagram for the first time a post I had written for my business about the mindsets of sidepreneurs. Until then, all of my Instagram posts had been observations or about my sweet family.
Because many of my 23 followers are family members or friends from high school, it was like letting a secret out of the bag. I was finally telling them about my dream for a business of my own. I felt very exposed and vulnerable. What would they think of the post if they actually read it? Would they think I was stupid for trying this? Would they laugh at me?
I am lucky because I have several followers from the same wonderful family (the Colemans). It is because of their likes and comments that I have gained confidence enough to keep "practicing confidence" on Instagram. :) So after sharing my first business-related post, I held my breath and waited. Hopefully someone would like my post, at least one of the Colemans maybe.
Sure enough, I received a "like," and then, even better, I got a text from Ginny, one of my best friends and a member of the Coleman clan. She wrote sweet things about enjoying my post and that she hoped I succeeded in this endeavor. My heart soared.
It is amazing what a few "likes" and some kind words can do for a fragile ego.
So this week...I urge you to practice courage. Determine a few scary tasks that need to be done. Write them down so you can check them off when you accomplish them. Ask God to give you strength to practice courage. Do the scary things. Celebrate your success.
Furthermore, be someone else's confidence boost. A few kind, yet honest words go a long way for someone who really needs to hear them.
Weekly Timesheet Summary
*Because I was on the road to Atlanta, then back and forth to my parents' home to get my boys, and the Business Boutique event on Wednesday, my detailed timesheet only made it to my notebook...not to the website. So, I only have the overall time below.
Total Time = 18 hours & 35 minutes
Explanation and Take Away:
1.) I counted my time at Business Boutique as work time (Research time specifically).
2.) I also counted about 2 hours of my drive home from Atlanta as work time because I consulted over the phone with my brother-in-law Ben about marketing strategies and then my friend April (Dreamers' Meeting). Of course my mind was reeling with ideas almost all of my drive time. :)
3.) No surprise, I want to spend more time next week contacting women's groups about speaking for them.