A couple weeks ago, I went to a conference put on by Women In Community (WIC). It was held on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and it was for “Purpose-Driven Women Entrepreneurs”. The title of the conference was Revenue Revolution with the focus of helping women make more money in their businesses. Sounds great, right? Who doesn’t want to make more money? I found it via a Facebook ad. It fell on a day I was free and my husband was available to pick up the kids, and it was a small investment for a chance to spend a day around inspiring women.
First of all, let’s talk about the term “Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs.” I want to be THAT. I love that term and now have a beacon to strive toward...something to live up to. I feel like I have the “purpose-driven” part down pretty well. But I’m struggling with the entrepreneur part of it. So in all honesty, I felt a little bit of the imposter syndrome that I learned about when I was teaching children from low-income families or working with the scholarship program that funds and supports high-potential individuals from at-risk communities. The idea is that these hard-working, intelligent, highly-qualified students go to college--often the first from their family to do so--and they struggle with the feeling that they don’t belong, that they are imposters and somebody's going to discover them and send them back to where they came from. I was able to empathize with that feeling at the conference. I’m still getting my business legs and as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, it is HARD! I often feel lost and awkward and uncertain, and I assume that other people building businesses are doing so much better at it and that because I lack business training, I can’t really call myself a business owner. The organizers spoke to this at the conference. So many of us are trained life coaches or artists or real estate agents or whatever, but few of us are trained in business; therefore, many of us don’t identify as business owners. However, as soon as we “hang out our shingle,” we ARE business owners and we have to own that and step into it.
Another purpose of this community and their events is to be instrumental in creating “Feminine Business Culture.” The founders weren’t happy with corporate America. They didn't like the competitive and judgmental culture. On the contrary, as more women become entrepreneurs, the founders of WIC want to make sure they feel supported and comfortable in what has traditionally been a man’s world.
What does that look like in a room of about 125 women entrepreneurs? Well, first of all, it was beautiful, physically and otherwise. The women were--without a doubt--beautiful, and all shapes, sizes and colors were represented. On top of that, they were passionate and inspired and excited, so there was a positive energy in the room. It was also not your traditional business conference. When I walked in, I had the option of being blessed by a Shaman Priestess (who would be on the panel of business owners later) and/or getting a spritz of essential oils and a hug from the founder of WIC. I opted for the blessing which was simply setting an intention and having water ceremonially poured over my hands.
We started the conference with a whole-room blessing and meditation and throughout the day we had movement and singing breaks, both led by women entrepreneurs who had been through the program. It was refreshing; it was interesting; it was unique; it was lovely. Did I like it? Absolutely. Did I love it? I don’t know yet. I didn’t feel like I was 100% with “my people.” I met lovely ladies and had some wonderful conversations, but I wasn’t fully comfortable and I’m still trying to suss out why.
Let me be clear...the whole day was a big long sales-pitch for their 90-day business training program, which has helped thousands of women grow their businesses. The conference didn’t feel salesy and I gleaned valuable information for a small price tag, so I’m unsure why I didn’t leave feeling 100% excited and inspired. Perhaps I have trouble accepting that people can be genuine while also trying to sell me something. That underlying belief has implications for my own business so I plan to give some time to thinking about it.
I walked away with a to do list. I learned about the “engine” of a business being four interconnected parts: A Revenue Model and Goals, Product Development, Marketing, and Sales. The good news is this: If these four things are working, your business will work. The bad news: NONE of it is optional. Marketing and Sales=NOT OPTIONAL!
They also said, and I really love this, that “Math is the husband to your intuition.” To allow for the fun and creativity and the following of your heart, you must do that math. You must set a goal and consider your pricing and make projections and fill in the spreadsheets.
I have work to do. If nothing else, this conference made me reassess what I’m doing and what I need to do. In the midst of the holiday season, I’m taking time to plan and create for a push in the new year. I want to grow in 2020. I believe in what I do, and I want to reach more people. Marketing and sales might not be my specialty, but I can learn and grow in that area. Spending a day with driven and creative women did inspire me to step up and step into my role as a business owner. Stay tuned. 2020 is going to be a great year.