I had an interesting conversation with Mary Crampton from Magnify Consulting this week. I was telling her how much her Sales workshop helped me and had actually contributed to me doubling my income for that month, which I was excited to continue.
Mary said she was “blown away” by my finding value in the workshop as she thought I was “ just so sorted”.
I laughed at this when I thought of my disorganised workspace is, my preference for working in my pajamas and the secret vice of watching movie trailers when I have too much to do. It made me think about how we perceive ourselves and others. Our tendency is to think someone else is doing amazingly and we are the only ones struggling or with challenges but that is very rarely true.
When Tami Louisson came to speak at Chrysalis we spoke about other groups where everyone looks so professional, polished and super on to it - and how intimidating this can be. This amazing, intelligent, professional person who has achieved so much said “Everyone is intimidated”.
It was a newsflash moment. No one is as sorted as you think they are and YOU are doing way better than you know. So much of what we do in business is incremental learning, we get a little bit better each day and then one day someone asks you how you did it or for some help, and it’s then you see how far you have come.
We all have something to learn and something to offer. Never feel it’s only you that has to work so hard, we are all there right alongside you with our own problems and insecurities, whatever stage of business we are at.
Growing a business is a challenging journey, acknowledge it, enjoy it and never stop learning.
“Traction” said Janne Sawada, when we were establishing the Chrysalis for Women business network group back in 2013, “that’s what you need makes a business grow - traction.”
My vision for Chrysalis for Women, which I established in 2011 while living back in the UK, was large – a worldwide service that offered women ways to take steps forward in their personal and professional lives. I’d started by offering workshops, a seminar series, books, e-books, conference speeches, and a lifestyle expo, all while developing the idea for a larger online service.
Coming back to NZ in 2013 and meeting Janne, the founder of Koru Hub, it seemed a natural step to set up a network group for women in small business, based on the principle of business as one aspect of a holistic life.
A lot of work has gone into developing the service, and I’ve been fortunate to have the help of several talented women – Janne, Ginelle, Anja, Liz, Barbara, Kay, Alex, Willemijn and Mary – to get Chrysalis to a level where development could take place.
Along came Iona at this point, saw the potential for the group, and came in with guns blazing to help me take advantage of the traction that had been created.
We are now into the next stage of the Chrysalis journey – with an annual programme, a workbook to support the programme, expanding the number of meetings we have, and planning a business expo for later in the year.
As we continue the journey and gain more traction, the nearer it will get to the larger vision that underpins the service.
Thank you to all of you who have been part of this very interesting journey.
I invite you to ask yourself a couple of questions:
Do you know your larger vision?
How do you plan to increase your traction?
At Chrysalis one of our primary motivators is business development - we want to empower women to develop and grow their businesses. The question I have for you is one we have had to face ourselves recently - are you actually ready for growth? Can you make quick decisions and adapt to your market?
When Kim and I got together to plan the next stage of Chrysalis towards the end of last year, we knew we had enough market research to support our idea and strong indicators it was going to be well received. Kim as founder had been running it for 3 years and I had been involved for a year. Between us we had a good sense of where people were at and what was needed next.
Kim and I both had other businesses we were keen to grow, and saw Chrysalis as “an interesting side project” that we needed to be able to pay for the work put in, while continuing to support the needs of the group. We saw a relatively easy year ahead with the programme already mapped out and getting together occasionally over a cup of peppermint tea to review how things were going. At the end of our “pilot” year we would make some decisions on what next.
Well that tranquil vision soon got blown out of the water! The first run of the Your Business Journey Workbook sold out within 4 days, our first meeting in January was full and by February we were turning people away. Crikey! We hadn’t even done any marketing yet! It was a great problem to have but we were majorly under prepared. We were expecting to make these next stage decisions at the end of 2017, not the beginning!
This sudden growth for us was exciting, unexpected and nerve wracking. For me it was especially unsettling to be caught on the back foot. Clearly there is a need for the women's networking community we provide and people are loving what is going on with Chrysalis. The feedback has been that providing a purpose and direction has been shift that has been most appealing and relevant to women wanting to grow their small businesses.
We needed to reassess and adapt quickly to be able to meet everyone's needs and continue the momentum all while juggling our own individual businesses and a dragon boating regatta or 3…
Rather than simply reacting we took the time to see how this sudden interest fit with our overall vision for Chrysalis and what we could manage. We did a survey, asked key questions and have now initiated a 2nd meeting starting in June with the view to also expanding to Kapiti and The Hutt.
We are hugely excited about the challenge ahead and thrilled the Business Journey has been so well received. There were bumps in the road but we are now back on track and racing ahead.
The moral of the story? Be prepared, be able to make decisions based on growth potential, build when you can and go for it.
It’s been an amazing month with the launch of the Business Journey and workbook being so positively embraced, along with the interest it has generated from the wider community.
A big part of Chrysalis is the community that has evolved and the sense of belonging we all enjoy. I believe we are all benefiting from the energy that has grown around shared business and personal development.
Our experience over the last few months has been clear validation that there are many women like us, needing and wanting to be involved in the kind of community we have built together and that the wider community would like to know more about us.
We recognise it is time to have a place to call our own.
Many of you know already that my business, Grow My Business, is based out of the Sub Urban co-working space in Johnsonville. This has been hugely beneficial to my business, bringing new clients, opportunities and ideas. It has also helped me personally by keeping me motivated and energised.
Sub Urban’s values are strongly aligned with ours as a place to work, share ideas, meet and connect. More than a work space, it’s a positive environment for business development. It just makes sense to base Chrysalis here too.
So what does this mean for Chrysalis? From February it gives us a “home”:
There will be more marketing, networking and advertising opportunities as well as collaboration possibilities through extensive community networks. There are benefits to us with more contacts, more prospects and more shared learning. All of our businesses benefit from meeting more people.
Note that our monthly meetings will NOT be held here and will still be in North City.
Chrysalis being based out of Sub Urban co-working offers us a home base with opportunities and possibilities. Like anything it is what we make of it and we are very excited to see what develops for us in this next exciting chapter in the Chrysalis Journey.
My business was thrown together in hurry and totally the opposite of recommended business practices, I made it up as I went along. I had no business plan and no customers.
I had heard about a new social enterprise starting up and went and had a fate sealing cup of coffee with the energetic and wonderful Kathleen Wright. She was setting up a co-working space in Johnsonville and I wanted to be part of it, however I didn’t have a business…
I had had a few Ideas circumnavigating my brain but frankly that happens all the time, it’s kind of my default setting so I hadn’t paid too much attention. Now I needed to consolidate these thoughts into a brilliant business idea.
I have a background in sales, operations, business strategy and generally getting the best out of people and the businesses I work with. I have great energy and get huge buzz out of making a difference. Having successfully mentored several small business I thought this might be a good place to start.
Grow My Business was born and I moved into Sub Urban Co-working.
I knew what I was good at, was pretty sure there was a market, I just needed to prove it. While knowing and being a great advocate for market validation and I had done none, zero, nada. What I decided to do was validate WHILE doing.
It was a risk but a calculated one - I spent the bare minimum, I had the time to invest and gave myself a time limit. Most importantly I could change quickly if I needed to.
Why? I had spoken with a lot of people and heard what they were going to do or were planning to do but weren’t actually doing any of it. I’m just not that person. I needed to do to see if it was for me.
18 months down the track it’s been a fabulous ride! My business has evolved and grown. I provide flexible business mentoring for small - medium business. I have added another branch of my business designing affordable flexible websites for new businesses and I have co-created a business development programme and co-authored a book.
It’s been challenging and wonderful but it wasn’t always easy and the money took a while to come. At one point I realised I spending a lot of my time doing things I didn’t really want to be doing - so I stopped. It’s really important to remember why I work for myself. I want a flexible lifestyle, to go for a walk in the middle of the day or take a month off going overseas dragonboating - because I can! Mostly I just want to love what I’m doing and leap out of bed ready to grab the day. When this doesn’t happen I take the time to look at why and what I can change.
So my advice? Just start, evaluate regularly and do what makes you happy.
I am very excited about 2017 and where it will take me, see you on the journey!