I need to get out more

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Pale I looked in the mirror the other day and noticed that I was appallingly, glaringly white.

Of course I have been white all my life, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.  But this variety is the pasty-no trace of sun-dark circles under the eyes-kind of white that is the direct result of not having stepped outside for more than 15 minutes during the day and sleeping far too little.  I live in Phoenix, AZ which can get to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer (about 49 Celsius) so I know that I am doing my skin a favor by not baking outside on a lawn chair.  But a little natural vitamin D from the sun is good for business and good for the soul.

If you are a work-from-home entrepreneur like me and a parent to boot, you may find that you get trapped behind your computer screen and caught up with household chores.  This can be dangerous for your business because human interaction is an important and necessary part of relationship building.  So although you may resist it since you are "too busy," I encourage you to choose a couple of times a month to get out and rub elbows with potential clients, business partners and peers to make sure you are not growing hair behind your ears as a hermit.  Some ideas:

  • Join a professional association that targets your business
  • Have lunch or coffee with someone that interests you at least every other month
  • Attend a forum or community meeting on a topic relevant to your business
  • Take a live class or workshop at least once a quarter
  • Volunteer with an organization that you feel passionate about and that helps you either learn valuable skills for your business or make contacts with interesting people
  • Give a presentation on your area of expertise to a local company or organization

As for me, I am jumping into the fray in the following ways:

  • I am meeting with our state legislators here in Phoenix on behalf of SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives.  I agreed to be their legislative liaison and make sure that they were aware of all the good things SCORE is doing and continue funding this excellent and free resource for entrepreneurs
  • I joined the local chapter of Ladies Who Launch, a clever brand name for an organization that supports women entrepreneurs.  Their website is pink and kind of Sex-in-the-City-ish which just sounds fun from my too-much-time-in-sweats perspective.  Of course my ulterior motive is to meet some people with good stories for my book.  But that is my ulterior motive for everything these days.
  • I booked a trip to New York to attend the launch of Greenstone Media, per the invitation of their Board of Directors who include Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem.  They are starting a new radio company focused on women and seem to have an interesting and fun perspective.  They invited me as a blogger to document the event, so you can bet I will go armed with my digital camera, best cheesy smile and notepad to scribble down interesting goings-on in the world of radio media.  I realize how important the media is to marketing and promotion of small businesses, so I am very excited about what I am going to learn through the people I meet.  (This will also be my first overnight trip away from my baby, so I may have a hint of anxiety, but such is an important step on the road to our mutual independence.  I never understood how difficult travel away from family was until I became a Mom – now I know what you parents were talking about!)
  • On the same trip to New York, I will meet with publishers to shop my book.  It will be a very invigorating experience and I look forward to it!  (btw, if you haven’t yet commented on the outline yet, please do!  Thanks to everyone else who has taken the time!)
  • I attended a local small business summit for women and minority entrepreneurs at the invitation of a local congressman.  It was a really good chance to meet people who were either entrepreneurs themselves or who work in organizations that support small businesses (such as the Small Business Administration).  I wore two hats at the event:  one as a consultant to small businesses, and the other as the wife of a Native American entrepreneur.  Although not an intended outcome of the meeting, I did make some good business development connections for his construction firm.  He was very happy about that.  🙂
  • I am going to give a talk at a local Rotary club on the topic of starting a business.  It has been a long time since I gave a presentation and I really miss it, as that made up about 50% of my business before I got off the road.

I would like to hear of your ideas for elbow-rubbing with real human beings … please share!

9 Responses to “I need to get out more”

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  2. In the summer, I make my lunch and go sit outside on the patio by the flower garden and eat my lunch. I get a little sun. Plus, the peace and quiet of nature is very calming. I feel so refreshed then when I go back to my afternoon work.

  3. Leave the house? What is this crazy talk? Actually, you nailed this one. You have to get out and meet people and comfortable as it is to live in the land of email.

    I’ve been going to a monthly coffee house meeting for children’s book illustrators and it has been very good for me. It’s a great way to pass the information around.


  4. Pam, I hear you about being about a resident of Hermitsville! Our anniversary was a couple weeks ago and I was “too busy” to go out to buy a card for my sweetie, though I did write him a note. And the x-ray request form will probably sit in my purse until this month’s ezine is out. It is so easy to remain chained to the computer and it does take some conscious effort to go out! I’m really looking forward to our cruise in a few weeks. No email, no internet, no podcasts! I’m envisioning reading a good book, on the deck, with a cool drink close at hand.

  5. Denise says:

    Pamela, you’re a wonderful writer and it seems Super Woman to boot! I certainly can’t live up to your efforts, but here’s what I have going outside the home office to assist my emerging VA practice.

    I joined our very active and friendly local chamber of commerce and participate in the Friday Business Interchange (giving a 30-second “commercial” every week). Also joined the Ambassadors Club there, so that I can network as I welcome new members. This also gets me involved in Ribbon Cuttings, Business After Hours events, as well as volunteering at our upcoming annual balloon festival in a few weeks.

    In just a few minutes I’ll also leave to attend a free marketing workshop at our local Small Business Development Center (another excellent resource along with SCORE).

    It seems like one opportunity to network and get out in the world leads to another. Speaking of that, thanks for the link to Ladies Who Launch. It’s the first I’ve heard of this group, but it sounds fun and I’ve already emailed our local leader for more info.

    Have a great trip to New York!

  6. Mary says:

    I completely understand, one day my husband looked at me and said, “You have to get out more, you’re starting to look like a prison guard.”

  7. robert says:

    Nice post. I too am desperate to get to some sun. Have been planning trip back home to Africa for later in year but this needs doing, that bit of the house needs fixing , the car needs servicing blah blah blah. Result: Nil Soleil!

    If you are going to rub shoulders (yes, this side of the pond, they aim higher!! heehee!), do not go ‘flying’. ie ensure elbows remain at sides and not parallel to floor lest you inadvertantly turn and knock a celeb standing behind you who you would have instantly sold your grandma into white slavery for in order to meet. Don’t mention glass of tomato juice, me and elbows at cocktail party. It was ugly!!

    If perchance you do get introduced to a A list celeb, do not courtsey, bow, click heels or salute, lose control of mouth, try to drink from glass , stare with saucer eyes, drool, bottie burp, tell them “I have been dieing to meet you…” or compliment them on their last tennis match, movie, hit single or participation at Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen.

    Stay cool and ignore all the above, just do your thing and be you. You will be fine and the right words etc will flow. You will be perfect. You will.

    Now shoo. Go meet celebs. You need the training because soon you will be one yourself. Go train to be a celeb. Shoo!

  8. Erica says:

    Good post, I’m off to the Book Festival (baby in tow!). I’m ashamed to say that the Edinburgh Festival is in full swing a mere 10 mins down the road and I haven’t seen anything yet…so I’m going to put that right today.

  9. David Armano says:

    I’m not self employed, so I don’t know if this is applicable, but I just wrapped up a week’s vacation in my hometown on the east coast and it was extremely relaxing (and easy on the pocketbook).

    Best of all, I was able to curb my “blog addiction”. Now I didn’t give up blogging all together, but the last three posts on Logic + Emotion were of beaches, travel and some quirky family stuff. Not the typical industry fare you find on my blog.

    The best thing about it all was that every day was unplanned. We went to the beach when the sun was out and took day trips when we felt like driving. Sometimes you juts have to take yourself out of the everyday grind. The location doesn’t need to be exotic. Time off, like life is what you make of it.