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!