re·in·vent verb \ˌrē-ən-ˈvent\
: to make major changes or improvements to (something)
This past weekend, I attended Melinda Emerson’s Reinvention Weekend small business conference with my good friend Angela. Although my various businesses have been consistently profitable for the last decade, I need to make some changes in order to meet my financial goals for this decade of life. To date, 90+% of my paid work has come from referrals. That has been a great blessing, but it is time to expand my potential client base…especially for my small business website design business RK Responsive Design. I’m a big fan of constantly growing in every area of life, so I was excited to see what the weekend would bring about. I was not disappointed. I will share about Friday night today. Tomorrow, I will write about the information packed keynotes, panel discussions and mentoring boot camp that I attended on Saturday.
After checking into the Hilton Philadelphia Airport, Angela and I attended the networking reception on Friday night. This was definitely something that I had to prepare myself for mentally, because I strongly dislike networking events. People who know me have a hard time believing me when I mention that I have a strong introverted side of my personality. That is because I’m fine with leading groups of any size, public speaking and such. It’s true though. I’m not an extrovert or an introvert…I’m an ambivert.
am·bi·vert noun \ˈam-bi-ˌvərt\
: a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert
Since talking to people to see if they need what I’m offering is a necessary part of a service (my website design) business, I went to the reception.
I realized two things:
1. I needed to reframe the “networking” language to suit my personal preferences. When Angela and I split up the first time, I mistakenly said, “I’ll see you later. I’m going to go fellowship.” (Angela and I go to the same church so the term “fellowship” simply means to go talk to people in our congregation. I’m very active in my church and Reggie and the kids usually have to pull me away from talking to folks!) For some reason that word slip settled my nerves for the night. Networking really is just talking to people. If you can help one another out, then that is great. If not, that’s fine too. I like to talk to people. I like to hear their stories. As a bonus, the fact that everyone in the room shared an interest in small business made connecting so easy.
2. Everything is better with a friend. Although we purposefully split up to make sure that we spoke to other people, it was good to know that Angela was in the room.
In any event, I really enjoyed Friday night. I met some really wonderful people and I was able to have several great conversations. I actually wish that some of them would move to NYC. They were my favorite types of people – smart and funny! Overall, I learned that it’s easier to forget fear and do what is necessary with simple language shifts. If there is anything that you are wary about doing in regards to reinventing yourself (in a positive way), see if you can change the language surrounding it. You never know…you might end up enjoying that very thing. I did!