So…it’s now March 22 so I have been working on my blog or a whole 3 weeks! I am committed to learning and have not only been learning WordPress…slowly but also I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the online space. I have worked in the online arena before developing the theonlinebusiness.com.au and I recommend taking a look at that site but things move so quickly…. in a week there’s a million new developments. How to catch up?! The key is… to take it one day at a time. I will also talk about new developments in my business but we’ll get to that.
So the online space… I eventually want this blog to be choc full of content…. to look professional and be a great resource guide and community for women in business. So…I have committed my time to the blog and online tutorials. I am working towards doing a course in website development but by the time I start it (June) I may (A) Have enough info under my belt to get lots out of it or (B) Not feel it necessary I’ll deal with that when it happens. In the meantime I’ll share my experiences. What a difficult task I have set myself. Anyone that has dipped their twinkle toes into online tutorials and education knows what I’m talking about. My friend Libby spent 9 months! Nine months teaching herself all she could about social media platforms and then went onto work in social media so it’s great to chat to her about her experiences. I am using WordPress tutorials to learn a beginners guide to html and I’m already stuck! So I’m delving into online support forums I feel like an obvious fish out of water…. but who cares you have to just start! The other reason I want to educate myself in the online space is that even though I have worked online before I don’t really know how to do much? I can tell you what your website should do, and know how a good website should look and operate but I can’t actually do any of it. SO…to add to my skill base and because it’s relevant to me and my bsuiness I’m going to learn as much as possible…helping myself and my business in the meantime. Imagine the savings being able to build your own website and the income you can generate building others.
The Business Development:
So I always seem to attract people who would like to start a business or who are at the very beginnings of their business. They come to me for advice and moral support. I’m not a business genius by any means but I have done a business course and I have gone through a very detailed business plan process. Couple this with my generous helping of common sense and practical thinking and I’m good at doing for others what they can’t do for themselves…. “see the forest for the trees” it’s easy for me to step back take a look at their ‘idea’ and after talking with them and going through progress to date I can come up with a business ‘timeline’ for them. I have a good head for marketing, I’m progressive and most importantly I want to help. I want to see others succeed.
So… I’ve realised I need to make a sort of timeline template that I can input each business pathway into. It’s great fun…you get to research these different ideas and markets and you learn lots in the process. So that one new development for my business that I’ve stumbled upon…. now to develop and create. Remember it’s not that easy doing this for your own business…. so each new find is an exciting step in your own development.
Today I also learned how to add the below video to my blog…. take a look, it’s informative and will lead you off on an interesting online adventure of discovery and information prospecting!
Remember “smarter not harder”
One of the things I really wanted to do when starting this blog was to share online tips and resources with you. The reason being is that A. most of us struggling start-up business women have nigh money for (luxuries) like beauty up-keep skincare, make-up. I recently went makeup shopping at a couple of chemists on my street even though I knew I could get it cheaper online but i was desperate and couldn’t wait. The point being…I’d waited sooooo long to replace said dead makeup due to finances that it was do or die time. Ok die might be extreme but you try leaving the house at night sans no mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, self esteem…. ANYWAY I digress. So anyway I want to share with you all my little finds and these finds will hopefully cover way more than beauty products. ANYTHING worth mentioning, any bargain I can find I will share….and I’d like you…when YOU start reading this blog to do the same. The other part to this post is resources…. I’m always pointing people in the right direction to do this or that, this is the right organisation they have the best…..you get the picture. So I will also share resources with you…and I’d like you to do the same. I read somewhere on wordpress about a new widget or feature they introducing where users can start interacting with one another on a blog and sharing this kind of thing, the idea was to start a community….when I’m ready that will be on this blog and we’ll get the SWB community happening. Anyway the tip today is http://au.cosmeticsclub.com/ this site is the Australian Edition of the (probably US brand) but what I did like about it is that when you join you get a $5 voucher to shop and the will do all the hard work for you buy lisiting all the brands and great sites you can shop on. With just a little research you can find the cheapest deal…. hey it all helps!
I’m going to ask my super talented friend Nicole to start posting some beauty tips and more online shopping guides for you cos she is the discount queen!!! She has a ebay store called ship hot prices and boy does that girl know how to spot a bargain and get value for her dollar! She also is well versed in all things beauty and has never sent me a stray yet!In fact I can safely say that she was doing the online shopping thing way before it was trey cool AND she always looks great!
Till next time SWBers remember smarter not harder……
So today’s date is March 6th 2012 and what’s happened to our SWB idea and what are each of us doing as of….now? Well Emma the pocket rocket is still doing great guns with her business Wildseed and is on her (i’ve actually lost count) upteenth trip OS to restock her Wildseed range. Which she then sells at various markets across Melbourne. I’m hoping she get’s her online store up and running ASAP and puts more energy and finances into this….remember smarter not harder…. but she’s doing very well. Libby after spending some time unemployed and discovering what it is exactly she wants to do with herself, decided on Social Media…. pretty much trained and taught herself as much as humanly possible and now works as a Social media Manager for an online store….and is doing very well. I have one very valued client and have been contracting to a company I used to work for to supplement my income. I hate working for that company and I really need to find something else and have been meaning to start this blog since last month.
Here’s the thing…. personally I have had a bit of a trough with my business since getting off to a great start last year…. but I want to talk about it cos I’m certain I’m not alone.
I think in hindsight my passion or need to quit my job, get some control in my life and find out what it is I really want to do with my life was also probably heavily tainted with me needing a rest. The last 3-4 years of my life have been emotionally draining and physically demanding with working fulltime and being a single mother to a teenager who has had more than his fair share of difficulties. Thankfully for now things are looking up and said teenager is now a young man of 21 and getting his life together. Couple this with bad relationship breakdowns and debt you start to get a little weary…..
I think to be honest when you lose this kind of control in your life you need some time, some how to stop for a minute take a breather and re access. Unfortunately my trial by fire decision (see Serena Star leonard, How to retire in 12 months) to quit my job…. meant quitting with no savings…. or very little, plus a credit card…. not a great start! In truth had my level of passion and drive continued I probably would have been okay however finding more and more time on my hands kind of meant I gradually slumped into a kind of a funk where I was guiltily loving the time and resenting having to do anything about getting more money coming in…couple those things with my increasing uncertainty of what it is exactly I’m doing and want to do… I haven’t exactly continued my great head start! So for the first time in my life that I can remember I suddenly find myself bereft of any real direction and just surviving….getting by AND taking the kind of work I HATE and quit in the first place just to ‘survive’ arrgghhh square one!!!
So here I am. I did have a plan and that plan meant starting this blog late Jan early feb so I’m a little behind on that one but more importantly it meant continuing with the SWB meetings…. this hasn’t happened. We’ve tried but it’s been difficult with everyone’s schedules…. that’s something that really needs to change. I also have an opportunity should it come to fruition to start a secret women’s business online TV show with eyeworld tv I contracted to them as a producer with Playing The Game hosted by Wayne Carey and Mick McGuane not long after quitting my job. My pitch to them meant getting this blog up and running first so i could have a foundation and audience for the show. Still a great idea and opportunity but a fair way off yet.
For now I’m just glad that I’m getting my mojo back. I still have uncertainties and am not 100% certain that I’m on the right track but I am feeling better just doing something. I have a lot of resources and tips and ideas for this blog that I”d like to share. I think it’s very worthwhile to help others and lend assistance where ever you can. It will take time to build this blog to level that I see…in my head…the visionary but in just 2 days I’ve done quite a bit already.
The motto for this post is this….. even if you lose track and well meaning friends and acquaintances are bogging you down with advice and ideas sometimes you just need to ride it out. It’s not possible or even good for you in my opinion to be always on the go always chasing your finances and dreams whilst coping with day to day living esp when that living gets hard, as it does….. but if you are the sort of person that is willing and able and has in the past being proactive and creative you will eventually find your way out of your slump and will be those things again. So here goes hopefully my journey through this and getting back on track one ay at a time might also inspire and help you. Perhaps we’ll learn a little about ourselves on the way.
Remember….smarter not harder.
Till next time sweet people.
Secret Women’s Business: The beginning….
It’s Saturday morning the 30th of July 2011, I’ve just texted my friend Libby this message….”I’m watching TV, writing my word doc, responding to Facebook comments and texting you! She wrote back “welcome to my world”
In a nutshell this is possibly the best example of how we live our lives these days and also an insight into how and why we… being Libby, Emma and I started Secret Women’s business.
This document was supposed to be a blueprint of ideas that we jot down each week or day or whenever, that map our journey towards our blog for Secret Women’s Business or SWB. But I’d also like to map our story as it happens…after all what’s a blog without a great story!
So…SWB what is it? It’s three groovy chicks, all of who are superbly talented in various ways and all of who are sick and tired and totally OVER working for others and have taken the plunge to start their own business…doing what they love.
Who are we?
Emma…. The Facilitator.
I met Em in about 2004 on the original music scene in Melbourne, we are both musicians who play and write our own material but right from the start we both exhibited a head for business and organisation…rare in artists, both sides of the brain actually working….
Libby… The ideas girl.
I met Libby in 2006 when we were both doing the same Neiss course in Melbourne. Neiss is a government funded Small Business Training course… Emma did the course not long after we’d finished, I encouraged her to do it to. Libby had just come back from living abroad with her boyfriend. I had just gone through a relationship break up, Libby was about to and before you knew it a lasting friendship was born… primarily out of the partying we did to celebrate and cope with our newfound singledom… the rest would follow.
Me well I guess after reading the above…I’m the glue?! The ‘connection’ would be more accurate but I’m prone to flights of fancy… I know it’s brief but after reading the above you’ve got somewhat of an idea of who we…all three…are.
So having being friends for years we had all worked in various fields, we had worked together, for others and had quite a few different roles between us. The most important part however is that during these years of ‘research’ we were forming each of us our own identity, goals, skills, ideas, passion and dreams. But here’s the thing, we all came to the same conclusion…we don’t want to work for anyone else we want to carve our future by being masters of our own destiny’s whatever they may be.
I had recently rather spontaneously quit my high paying corporate sales role and started…lurched out on my own, Libby was trying to set her self up in the incredibly competitive world of Social media and Emma had Wildseed her clothing business and had recently set up her supplier lines overseas and was busy working the grueling world of street markets while slowly establishing herself online.
So all in all we were doing our own thing and trying to support and encourage each other however we could. One day, chatting to Emma on the phone she recommended we get together for a lunch, where we could talk business and brainstorm each other’s issues be supportive and generally hang out and have a good time. The idea was that at the end of the lunch we’d take some photos for Emma showing off her clothing line… Libby and I being the models… the studio my flat.
Improvise with what you’ve got!
The lunch turned into drinks at my flat that evening and the brainstorming session…thanks to Emma (the facilitator) turned into the first ever Secret Women’s Business (the name was Libby’s idea) meeting.
So here’s the forum…
A gathering for like-minded women to support and nurture each other through the steps towards or during the set up of their own business. Freedom.
How does it work?
Emma with notebook in hand set our meeting up like this…
Each of us was to take 5 min to explain what our business is. The idea behind this is that it is very important for you to be able to succinctly describe your business in 5 minutes. If you don’t know what your business is how will others? The facilitator is last and takes notes on the others stories. We estimated that it actually averaged out to 3 minutes, which is even better if you can do it.
Then the facilitator told our five minute story back to each of us. The idea behind this was to help to solidify and clarify what we each do. One of the other girls took notes on the facilitator’s story.
Once we had each gone through the above processes we then moved onto the next step.
Here we each took another 5 minutes to outline how we got to this stage, why and what motivates each of us and what our goals are. We did this by outlining our short term, mid term and long-term goals. This is where we discovered we were all pretty similar. As women we found that we are motivated by…achievement and fulfillment not money. Time for family, pursuits and ourselves were paramount. Being able to work from anywhere factored heavily as did security and happiness and giving. Women are naturally altruistic in business by nature.
We found that in this last step we needed 5 minutes each at least but it is good to put a time limit on things…we are only just beginning after all, there’s more to do!
Now we had question and answer time, this is very important because once you have listened to stories and ideas so close to your own you will want to make suggestions and get involved. However… we all have different personalities and are at different stages so rather than giving suggestions and over whelming each other possibly we found it was better to ask questions. For instance… I asked Emma if she’s ever consider taking sewing lessons or would she like to eventually design her own range or part of? This in turn created a pro-active discussion rather a re-active response. I still recommend this. And don’t woffle on, this is important…try to not to sound like an expert on everything and your ideas will in general, be more easily accepted.
At this stage we were getting to the end of the meeting, we had brainstormed ideas and worked through issues, and generally inspired each other. Now we came to the natural conclusion and we decided to give each other goals to achieve before the next meeting, which we decided, would be monthly. The importance of the goals is to not make them too big or unrealistic and the person whose goal it is must think it’s doable and is something within their natural working style…fluidity is important. Important to note is that the goals came out of the meeting, from listening to each other and what was needed…for instance mine was to get a back up hard drive of some description…due to all of my work being on my laptop. Emma’s was to apply to a market she had been meaning to but hadn’t and so on.
Each week at the end of the meeting ask each other this question…how did you pay your rent? This is your barometer; this is how WE choose to measure our progress not our success.
Once you have been through your meeting there will be various things that come up for you that you might like to add to your forum. It’s important that everyone agrees. We decided to invite one new participant each meeting and to have one meeting a month. We also decided that they must be like minded…no power pussies here.
We also discovered our motto “Smarter Not Harder” what’s yours?
Welcome to our Blog…Secret Women’s Business! We hope you enjoy reading about our journey as much as we enjoy sharing it… I’m going to hand the next stage over to one of the other girls so that you might get an insight into how we all think and differ… so that you might take something from, learn or just laugh at each of us as we stumble through this crazy journey of self discovery, success knowledge and happiness! Good luck and remember our maxim….
”Smarter Not Harder”
From… Libby, Em and Lill….