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….