I AM an Entrepreneur: Recap of BlogHer Entrepreneurs Conference
So, as you may have seen/heard/etc I had the opportunity to attend the BlogHer Entrepreneurs conference in Silicon Valley a couple of weeks ago. It really was an amazing weekend! I went into the conference a little bit nervous, and as it started, I became even more so. Let me ‘splain… no, there is too much… let me sum up…. I have a business. It’s called Blogger’s Help Desk. I have also started a business that failed(ish) called Daily Home Planner. Daily Home Planner was a software company that helped busy families get organized. Since we were always boot strapped (meaning we paid for everything for the business out of our own pockets), we didn’t have the strength to take our business to the next level (meaning we needed to make it mobile, and we didn’t have the time or man power to do so). We shut down the business a little over a year ago, and while we didn’t lose any money on the business, it also didn’t make us much. We probably broke even. Also, I’m always having ideas that would make great apps or businesses. Prior to the conference I thought, sure, I’m an Entrepreneur.
The conference started, and with all the Silicon Valley speak I immediately felt out of my comfort zone. I started thinking, “well, maybe I’m not really an entrepreneur” I love my nice steady paycheck twice a month. I love having health insurance. I love being able to “turn it off”, meaning that when my work day is done, I don’t really have to think about it. I don’t really have that FIRE that I HAVE to break out on my own and start something. I’m content. I started to lean more on my role as Skype’s Blogger Ambassador to the conference, and try and get all this great information I was getting out to the people who “really” needed it. Make sure you check out all the tweets with golden nuggets of wisdom on Twitter.
There were definitely some amazing women on panels. Of course one girl that really stood out for me on day one was Sana of YetiZen, who is doing amazing things helping game developers. Really, how could I resist worshiping a woman in gaming! Some of the panels, even though I thought at first would really have nothing to do with me, since I’ve always created businesses that are boot strapped like “Investor Perspectives” and “Analyst Assessments”, actually had some great information for me as well.
First there was some great resources I found out about. Companies like Astia and Levo League are helping women entrepreneurs find talent and funding. Google has been setting up co-working spaces for small start-ups in London and Tel Aviv. The panels really helped me see how true this quote is…
I totally agree that the stronger your community of support is, the more successful you will be!
The next day started out amazingly with a panel on “Mastering Your Mojo”. Most of the women on the panel would agree that when they weren’t doing things that at the core they were truly passionate about, they lost their “mojo”. When they tried to be something that they weren’t, they had no motivation to do anything about it. One panelist said “One compromise leads to another compromise and you find your self somewhere you didn’t mean to go.”
Once I was completely inspired by getting my Entrepreneurial “mojo” back, it was time to meet with my mentor. Each attendee was paired with a mentor specifically matched to them to discuss how to get things going, improve, etc. The session could be anything you wanted it to be. My mentor was the amazing Kerryn Gerety. I told her a little bit about myself, my business, and some other ideas that I had. She was super tough and honest with me, telling me that I really DID have a great idea (Blogger’s Helpdesk), and that there were few people that have my particular skill set. She also told me that I need to focus on one thing. Yes, I have lots of great ideas, but I can’t waste time thinking about what “could be” when I barely have time for what currently IS. She also told me that it’s ok to not set aside a huge block of time as I’m ramping up. If I can schedule myself an hour during the week, and maybe 2 on the weekend, where I have a set schedule, and I keep it, it can help me be able to focus on growing my business. Since she knows I like to go running she said, that I can’t just get up one day and run a marathon, I have to start at 1 mile, then 2, and then work my way up to being able to do it full time.
There were some great panels after the mentoring session too, and then finally a panel of “success stories” from BlogHer Entrepreneurs in year’s past. The thing that really resonated with me in the closing session was when Michelle Magoffin of Sprawl3 said that she came to the conference thinking that she wasn’t an entrepreneur, and then had to finally stop lying to herself and realize she was just afraid. She was telling herself a lie based on fear, and when she was able to stop lying to herself, and admit that she WAS an entrepreneur, amazing things started happening for her.
So that is where I was when I started the conference. Lying to myself that I was not an Entrepreneur, and leaving the conference with Michelle’s words ringing in my ears… Stop telling yourself lies!
oh, and since I was at Microsoft Campus, I totally had to take a picture…