When invited to an entrepreneurs workshop by Joe Blogs in collaboration with Hiscox at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester, my first thought was ‘oo that sounds very fancy’. Of course gladly accepted the invitation and popped along on Sunday. Not gonna lie, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but we were in for a day of workshops from The Startup Academy on ‘turning your blog into a business’ and from Helen Nugent on ‘marketing yourself within the media industry’ so it sounded interesting. And it was. 🙂 I shan’t go into loads of details blabbing on about everything I learnt because I can’t deliver it in near the same way as Anick and Helen did, but I’ll share a few points that stood out and a some of my thoughts from the day.
Firstly, it’s always a good start when you can’t find the front door. Just fancied a quick lap around the building, y’know? Wasn’t being a moron and missing it or anything…
Once I’d actually found my way in, we had an hour or so of chatting & mingling & coffee & pastries aka the best way to get to know each other. A few of us recognised each other from twitter handles rather than actual names. 😛 As I expected I was the youngest there by a little way, but didn’t feel out of place or treated any differently, which is always nice! I met Michelle of the Curious Wedding blog and instantly got talking (I had to tell her how much I loved her shoes!) and she agreed that age really doesn’t make a difference with this kind of thing anyway. ‘I’ve met 17 year olds full of life experiences and 50 year olds who are dull as dishwater’, in her words. Not that I feel I’m the most worldly of teenagers out there, but it’s my aim in life to steer clear of becoming ‘dull as dishwater’!
After introductions we were taken through to the boardroom. Felt all sorts of grown up and fancy! Everybody introduced themselves around the boardroom table (totally felt like we were on The Apprentice) and said a little bit about their blog, and where/how they wanted to progress. Interestingly, nobody said they wanted to be a ‘full time blogger’ in the obvious sense, but most wanted to open/extend boutiques, have their blogs evolve into webzines, and all sorts of other stuff. Anick spoke about the concept of entrepreneurship, how not to get sucked into the whole Mark Zuckerberg kinda idea, and how to get started, basically. ‘Having a vision’ and posting motivational Instagram quotes isn’t enough, unfortunately! You gotta strike whilst the iron’s hot, we’re told. I think the idea being not to get too caught up in your imagination, but I’m gonna interpret it as writing the blog posts as soon as you have the ideas, in this case. Or at least making notes bloody quickly! Anybody else find ideas flash through your head but are literally gone within seconds? Drives me mad!
Anyway, few more points.
Sack the to-do lists and just get stuff done instead. That list ain’t gonna complete itself. Prioritise by value and complexity. I need to take note of this one.
Practice where the mistakes don’t matter. Butttt apparently there’s an 80/20 ‘rule’. Well, it isn’t really a rule, but I’m not sure what else to call it. If you do something good, others will tell 2 people about it. Do something bad, and they’ll tell 8. Unfortunately very true. We’re talking just general life advice here really, not blogging specific! So maybe be careful with those mistakes.
Face to face conversations will always be important, despite many relationships being forged online. Of course good manners are equally important to both. And let’s not forget to smile too! Triple underlined that one; such was the emphasis on smiling and being generally ‘nice’. It was mentioned that looking at your phone once too often during meetings can be slightly offputting. I’m pretty sure we all thought the same thing about having our phones out on the table at this point! We’d been asked to tweet with the hashtag though so I think we’re excused. 😛
Similarly, network, go places, and meet people. And if you can pick up a few parties along the way, all the better. Sound advice.
I can’t see Joli House going all business-style just yet. I’ve plenty more meaningless ramblings in me before that day arrives (if ever). Lots of interesting stuff learnt though. As Anick said, running a business is about ‘progressive personal development’ and self growth, not just business. Could go all philosophical here and say that applies to everything in life. You develop as a person whether something works out or not I guess. Learn what not to do next time, if nothing else!
Thanks to Joe Blogs for inviting me, and to Helen and the Startup Academy team for the workshops. Was a fun day! Lovely to meet Michelle, Caroline, Frances, Holly, Antonia, Holly, Daisy, Emma, Kay, Gabriel, Nadine, Bryony, Suzy, and Sophie (think that’s everyone!). Since then I’ve had 3 exams that have kept me from blogging, but I’ve a 2 week break now and I feel like I’ve actually got my life back. So should be around these parts a little more. 😀
lily kate x