Last week, I was way down and barely in. This week, I am in. Not like rushing through the doors, hands up and screaming, "Let's get this party started."
But...I am in. Walking in confidently, head back, and a slight nod hello to others in the room. That is much improved from the image I had of myself last week as a bloodied boxer using the ring ropes to pull herself to a standing position.
What, you may ask, has this slight swagger in my step?
A yes, a like, and a chat with a friend. I do believe in celebrating successes, no matter how small they may seem to others. If it made me feel good about my work...my business, then I have chosen to celebrate it. It is a choice.
You can choose to laugh or to cry when starting a business. There's plenty of moments where these two options present themselves. Choose laugh. It keeps you moving forward. (I had another particularly entertaining week where I chose to laugh...a lot.)
Last week I wrote about offering to lead a group meeting of mompreneurs. I attend these meetings on a fairly regular basis when my husband's work schedule allows him to be home with the boys.
I wrote what I thought was a friendly and informative email offering my services to lead the next meeting. And I worked up the courage to press send. That was Monday.
I heard nothing.
Working up even more courage (and calling on some of my stalker-like qualities), I sent one more email. That was Friday.
I heard nothing.
Then, it happened. On just a normal day, when I was no longer checking my email every 23 minutes like I had been the week before, I opened my inbox and saw it! That was Tuesday.
I heard something.
The group coordinator asked if I could facilitate a meeting in July. I screamed "yes" at my phone, checked with my husband about his work schedule, and then informed her in an email (calmly) that I would love to.
The teacher in me is ridiculously excited! I love teaching and know that God has gifted me with this talent. He also challenges me to better myself. So, I am looking forward to planning for this meeting and to improving my craft.
Oh yeah...the business woman in me is excited as well. This is the first time I get to represent Inspire to Engage in an official, public fashion.
What a yes can mean!
So for 10 weeks now I have been working diligently on this site. (I did have several months earlier where I pursued a different blog idea and learned a lot, not enough though, about creating a website.)
My goal for most of these weeks has been to write 2 posts a week--one topic specific post (which I place in the "Blog" section of my website) and one end-of-the-week journal entry (which I place in "The Journal" section of my website).
That equals about 20 pieces of writing I have shared with the world so far, albeit my world is rather small right now.
Until this week, I had never received a Like on one of my posts. I have received Likes on Instagram, which feels amazing and especially when you are just starting out. But, no one had ever pressed the Like button on my website.
Just like the Yes this week, it just happened on a random day. I wasn't even expecting it. I had gone to the post because I was linking to it from a new piece I was writing. I just happened to scroll to the bottom, and what did my little brown eyes see! The number 1 next to the word Like.
To my writer's heart and my skeptic's eyes, that number 1 was lit up like the Fourth of July...the flashing neon lights of Las Vegas...Times Square at night. In other words, it was a big deal! That person probably read the whole post to make it down to the Like button. What?! Wow!
The next day is when it got real crazy. I stumbled upon another post of mine that had 2 Likes! Watch out, world! :)
A Chat With A Friend
At the end of this week, I had an opportunity to visit with a faithful friend. My boys played upstairs in her bunk room while we chatted.
A few side notes before I share the relevance of our visit. First, the bunk room itself deserves its own blog post. Amazing! Second, "played upstairs while we chatted" is a general statement for...yanked out as many toys as possible and viciously handled them. Then several screams down the stairs detailing some "important" information or discovery they made. After a brief period of ignoring their squawking, I would inform them that I couldn't understand what they were saying. That would require a trip down the stairs to relay the original message to my face. Oh yeah...while downstairs, they would work the 2 dogs into a frenzy of barking, tail wagging, and jumping. This cycle repeated itself every 3 minutes and 17 seconds. So, when I say "played while we chatted," this is what I mean.
Being a mompreneur is very glamorous! :)
And, luckily, my friend is a former teacher and a grandmother. She "chatted" like the professional she is!
My friend truly is a professional coach. Before retiring from education, her last position was as an instructional coach in the school where we both worked. Even today, she continues to learn more and more about coaching adults.
She has a way of seeing big picture while still analyzing each individual piece of the picture for problem areas. A unique gift of hers to see big picture down to the details.
During our visit, she challenged my thinking on several aspects of the business I am trying to grow. For example, she encouraged me to rely more on my teaching background. Her comments confirmed what God had put on my heart several months ago. She also urged me to continue refining my thoughts on my target audience. Who will be reading your writing? Who will care to listen as you speak?
So, what does this conversation mean to you, someone who doesn't know my wonderful friend?
1.) Be open to tough conversations about your business with people who love you. Beg them if you must but insist on honesty. (And, then, don't berate them if their suggestions or comments are hard to hear.) Recognize the courage it takes to give someone an honest opinion. It is much easier to simply say, "Oh that sounds good" or "I like your idea." But those remarks don't help you or your business to grow.
2.) Take time to reflect on the conversation. You don't have to make any changes to your business (if you don't want to). But the simple act of making a decision to change or not...to heed your friend's advice or not will strengthen your understanding of the business and of yourself as its owner. Your consideration or reflection places emphasis on the why and what of your business, two cornerstones that shouldn't be ignored.
3.) Know the difference between someone speaking out of love and an acquaintance speaking out of jealousy or stupidity. My friend always speaks with love and with intelligence. But she also tells it straight. (Thank you, Cecilia.)
We all have had at least one experience with someone who casually throws out a cutting remark like, "Why don't you..." or "You should do it like me." Those off-hand remarks and casual relationships are not what I am referring to here! You have my permission to dismiss those types of comments.
But don't reject observations about your business from loving, truth-speaking friends and family members. Instead, take time to reflect on those conversations.
To conclude, continue to surround yourself with people, things, and events that keep you moving forward and growing...in your business, your family life, your spiritual walk, your health, etc.
Timesheet - Weekly Summary
Research - 30 minutes (not including running time with audiobooks)
Content/Product - 7 hours & 15 minutes
With Clients - 0 hours...but maybe soon :)
Marketing - 5 hours & 25 minutes
Total Time: 13 hours & 10 minutes
Takeaway: I am still spending a lot of time writing. I am trying to increase my writing speed and continue to produce 2 posts a week. I definitely will need to be faster if I plan to continue with 2 posts a week and hopefully have other responsibilities (like clients or speaking engagements) in the future!
Detailed Timesheet for the Week
Monday - writing 5 Ways to Find Gifts (Content/Product) for 50 minutes total = 50 minutes
Tuesday - did not work (in Birmingham with boys)
Wednesday - posted twice on Instagram, one highlighting a new post (Marketing) 45 minutes; began editing and revising a blog post for Dan Miller's site, to turn in as a possible guest post (Marketing) 2 hours total = 2 hours and 45 minutes
Thursday - posted on Instagram (Marketing) 20 minutes; read You are a Writer (Research) for 20 minutes; sent 15 Hours post to Dan Miller's team (Marketing) for 1 hour; continued writing, revising, editing, and published Gifts post (Content/Product) for 2 hours and 15 minutes; created Pin for Gift post and pinned (Marketing) for 15 minutes total = 4 hours & 10 minutes
Friday - posted on Instagram (Marketing) for 20 minutes; read ABCs of Speaking (Research) for 10 minutes; began writing anniversary post (Content/Product) for 30 minutes; began writing end-of-week post (Content/Product) for 30 minutes total = 1 hour & 30 minutes
Saturday - continued writing on end-of-week post (Content/Product) for 1 hour and 5 minutes total = 1 hour & 5 minutes
Sunday - continued writing on end-of-week post (Content/Product) for 2 hours and 5 minutes; created Pin and pinned end-of-week post (Marketing) for 45 minutes total = 2 hours & 50 minutes
Total = 13 hours & 10 minutes
**I have been listening to Little Things, a new book by Andy Andrews, as I run.