- Not just depth, but breadth
- Exciting Work News: New Job!
- Redesign: Fitness for Every Body
- Valuable Business Partnerships
I never intended to become a business person. All I have ever wanted to do is create beautiful and usable designs. However, as an independent designer, it is up to me to find my own clients, direct and manage the whole project from concept to completion.
When Jacob and I moved from Massachusetts to California, we didn’t know anyone. In Boston, I had a full network of friends, family and past co-workers that were helpful in growing my business. When I arrived in California, I had to decide whether I should go back to a full time job or continue on my own. At first, I was hesitant to go it alone because I didn’t have any kind of network to rely upon to help me restart on the west coast. But, I also didn’t have a desire to be at full time job. I decided to visit some local networking groups and ended up joining a word-of-mouth referral group, BNI Coastside, in Pacifica, CA. I thought, “What do I have to lose by joining this group?” I wanted to try it out and see if it was a good fit. After one meeting, I was given a referral and it turned into a repeat client. Joining BNI Coastside has proven to be one of the best decisions I could have made for restarting my business. Thankfully, I also have found friends in the surfing and technology community that have connected me to amazing opportunities as well.
After joining BNI Coastside, I was put on the fast track and was voted to be the new President this past April. After the initial nervousness subsided, I created a Business Mastermind group. What is a Business Mastermind group? It is a monthly meeting where interested BNI members meet to discuss different business topics, struggles, expertise, and ideas on how to improve and grow your business. The weekly BNI meeting is very structured and has a strict agenda that we follow. The Mastermind group is an organic, open forum, attended only by those that want to participate. I talked to a couple of the members about this idea and one member, Linda, gave me great advice: “If you build it, they will come.” With that mentality, I offered this idea to the group and the idea was well received.
Still in its infancy, we have met twice and the meetings have been well attended. The first meeting was an open discussion on where we want to go as a group. We also each shared one struggle that we are facing as business owners. After each person presented their struggle, we discussed it and offered an action item.
The second meeting helped members set up Facebook pages for their business. We also discussed how social media is beneficial to a business. Our meeting in July will follow up with how people are doing with their Facebook page. I have also asked my good friend, Asma Stephan, a Social Media Manager at SnapApp to come and discuss ideas and tips on what to post and how promote a business Facebook page.
I initially started this group for somewhat selfish reasons — I wanted a place to bounce my ideas off of other intelligent business owners, but it has become so much more than that.
Starting this group felt like a natural progression. Meeting with the same people every week and referring work to one another was great, but we were not discussing business topics. I saw an opportunity and wanted to leverage the group so it could be even more beneficial for everyone.
Through both, BNI Coastside and this new Mastermind group, I have grown a lot as a business person. I have gained a lot of confidence with putting a presentation together, public speaking and really focusing on what type of design that speaks to my passion.