Have you ever been to a mastermind event? Or met up with other local business owners in person? That’s exactly how I spent a day last week, brainstorming and connecting with seven other women at a coworking space here in San Diego.
And because I (even as an introvert) love and benefit from events like this, I wanted to share some of my main takeaways, plus a little help for my introvert and anxious friends to help you get out and make some local business buddies too!
Links + Resources
Human Design: mybodygraph.com
If you need more biz buddies, hang out with us in The Essentials: http://xosarah.com/essentials
I spent Friday at a mastermind event at a coworking space in downtown San Diego. The first time hanging out with other business owners in person since 2019 (I think – it’s been so long I actually can’t remember!) It was a pretty good excuse to put on real clothes (though I picked pants that were as close to pajamas as possible) and spend the day with 7 other women running businesses online.
I thought I’d share some of the big things I took away from the event. Both to give you some things to think about, but also to encourage you (especially my introvert and anxious friends) to also get out and meet some business owners locally. I’ll give you some tips at the end if just the idea of that is making you sweat.
Everyone has something they’re struggling with
Sometimes going to an event with other business owners you’ve never met before can bring up some assumptions based on what they do or how long they’ve been in business. We assume people have their shit together more than us. It’s not a bad thing – that’s what brains do, try to figure things out and keep you safe. But what happens is that as the conversation flows we find that everyone has challenges they’re working through or decisions they’re stuck on or things they’re not good at.
If you do go to a mastermind event worrying that everyone else is ahead of you or doing more, remember that they showed up for help and feedback just like you.
Everyone starts with different skills and there are obstacles at every level so no one has it all together. Instagram doesn’t help with this. It’s hard to find the line between sharing open, honest stuff and being professional and trustworthy. So, if you do go to an event or meet up just know that they’ve also had moments of feeling clueless or overwhelmed or didn’t like the way they looked and they’re at the event because they’re looking for feedback and help just like you.
What gets you excited – why can’t you focus on that?
The other thing that came up often was talking about what gets you excited in business. What gets you excited about the people you work with, things you create, how you show up. What gets you excited about your mission or what your business could grow into.
It’s a lot easier to grow your business and stick with it long-term if you actually like what you’re doing. Often we stick with things because they’re working. The course or clients or coaching calls are bringing in enough money and so you keep selling that offer. That’s the point of business right? You offer the thing and when people buy, you’re successful.
Then you realize that you’re exhausted at the end of every day. Or you’re procrastinating for 3 hours every morning. Or the Sunday Scaries that went away after you left your corporate job are now back.
Remember, that isn’t why we got into business. Yes, removing that income ceiling is part of it, but I know you dreamed of work that lit you up. Work that allows you flexibility and freedom. Work that connected you with amazing clients or customers. If something doesn’t feel good, you’re the boss and you can change it.
That’s something I’ve been thinking about so much this year – paying attention to what’s not enjoyable in my life and making changes big and small to move myself inch by inch toward joy in every part of my life, including my business.
Also – whatever the crazy dream you have for your business. It’s possible and you should absolutely start making changes to move you in that direction starting today. I hear so many women saying things like “I’m going to do this thing for now, but really I want to be doing that.”
You are in charge. If you want to do THAT, stop wasting your time with THIS. Sit down today and make a list of everything that needs to happen to make that dream a reality. Most people don’t do that step, instead, they just dream about it and that makes it feel too big to be possible. Once they put it down on paper they see how possible it actually is. If you find yourself working on what you’re offering today, but keep thinking about the next level or a different business model, move in that direction a little, write out your plans, see how you can start making it possible today.
Learning about yourself helps A TON
There was lots of discussion about discovering more about yourself and how you work and communicate by learning about Enneagram, Human Design, taking the Strengths Finder, or the Meyers-Briggs test. I’ve done them all and each gives a slightly different insight. Human Design is like reading instructions on how to be your best self. Enneagram felt like a year’s worth of therapy packed into a couple of hours of reading and is great for understanding other people too. Strengths finder can help you find the best type of work – and I actually use this to double-check that I’m hiring people best suited for that position.
Understanding yourself and how you work is especially helpful if something in your business feels off – you might be out of alignment with what works best for you + your nature. I always hear people talking about their aligned business or taking aligned actions and I never really got what that meant until I had something to align my actions and business too. Part of it is about values – if you value compassion you do things a certain way. If you value innovation you do things a certain way.
It’s also important to align your business to how you best work as a human. My human design (which I will do a whole podcast episode about next month) says that the best environment for me, the environment where I thrive, is a cave. And when I learned this I laughed because it’s so true. Being in a small, cozy, quiet space feels really good to me and I do my best work at home in my quiet little apartment. I love days when I get to stay in and talk to no one but the dog. But for other people, they need to be in a coffee shop or coworking space because those little distractions or other people working around them keeps them focused.
If you haven’t taken any of those assessments or looked up your human design check out the Links + Resources above.
The other thing we talked about a lot was raising your prices
I think everyone got this advice when it was their turn in the hot seat. Sometimes it just takes someone else to remind you of the transformation or clarity you can create and how much that is worth to your audience. I got this advice, which I had already been considering, so I was happy to have that confirmation. Someone else decided to double the cost of her course and another person had us whipping out our calculators to see how many clients she would need to make $500,000 when her initial goal was $250,000 and that was a little bit of a dream goal.
Definitely get you some friends who know your worth and abilities even better than you do. One of the things I tell my clients and essentials members is to tuck an idea like that in the back of their brain and just see how it feels for a while. If you charge $200, what would it feel like to charge $500? If you charge $2000 what would it feel like to charge $6000? What would it feel like to take on fewer, higher-paying clients?
Try it on for size and see how it feels. Allow your brain to process that in the background and see what comes up. Or, if you have access to a mastermind group, some biz buddies, or come hang out with us in The Essentials and see what kind of feedback you get. I bet you will get a resounding YES from anyone who knows what you do and how much growth is possible in an online business.
Heard people say “I’m so glad you shared that” multiple times
Showing up to an event like this isn’t just about getting help on your stuff but also learning from the other attendees. Sometimes we don’t know a problem exists or how to make a decision until someone else brings up their experience and it clarifies some challenge or goal. There were lots of really open and vulnerable moments where people shared things that set off lightbulbs in the group.
I know I’ve been feeling a certain way that I couldn’t quite put into words and then someone shared their experience and it solidified in 60 seconds what I’d been trying to figure out for months.
This also happens any time I’m writing about something that feels vulnerable or out of the box. I’m almost cringing as I’m scheduling that post or email and then the next day I wake up to so many people saying how it was something they really needed to hear. If it feels uncomfortable to share that’s almost more reason to because it’s a signal that you’re hitting on an experience that you’re not alone in and not a lot of people are already talking about it.
Being vulnerable is usually uncomfortable but there will always be someone who needs to hear that, who’s been feeling the same way, or who’s been there before. If you find yourself in a mastermind-type group don’t be afraid to share the tough stuff because from my experience in past mastermind groups and this most recent one – women are so ready to jump in and help each other and sometimes all you have to do is speak up.
Get out of your bubble
Being a solo business owner can be really difficult. Not always, but enough that you shouldn’t go it alone. Luckily when you’re a solopreneur you get to pick your coworkers from literally anyone in the entire world. Which is crazy and awesome.
Listening to others, bouncing ideas around, helps open your eyes to new possibilities. Most of the women at the event had never heard of me or my business and I had never heard of them until a couple of days before we met. Which meant we were more expansive with our ideas and suggestions because we were not constrained by what was on a sales page. When one person was looking for ideas on how to adjust her offer to scale, what she got back was an entirely new business model – new audience, new offer – and she looked lit up by it. We were actually talking about how her body language changed in response to that possibility.
When it was my turn I got such a helpful response because those entrepreneurs were exactly like my cold audience so I got to hear a new perspective on growing the membership and running ads.
Often we look to our family or friends for feedback or people who are not in online business. It’s a very different animal from owning a local shop or selling physical products. There’s really a lack of rules when it comes to online business because the industry is so new. If you open a restaurant there are certain ways of doing things, but if you’re creating digital products there’s a lot less risk so you can really make things up as you go and experiment more easily.
This means it’s extra helpful to sit down with other people also doing business online because their perspective of what a business is and what a business can do or grow to is much more expansive. Do you think any of your friends or family would convince you that your business could earn $500k/year? None of mine would – they would think that’s awesome but crazy. This is why masterminding with people also doing business online is extremely helpful.
If you haven’t been to a mastermind before, I highly recommend it. To all my introvert friends – you know I’m an introvert too (Like – I kinda enjoyed the pandemic lockdown and not needing a reason to stay home all the time.) I definitely wouldn’t tell you to do something I’m not willing to do. I just made sure that I was able to take the next day off to recharge – I literally slept until 3pm on Saturday. And now I’m ready to get back in the game.
To all my anxious friends – here’s what I do so I don’t avoid opportunities like this or panic and skip the event at the last minute. I’ve definitely been known to sign up for things because they feel exciting or worthwhile in the moment and then get anxious when the day to go finally arrives.
1. Pick something you have to pay for. This event was $100 to attend and I’m not really about throwing $100 away because I’m nervous.
2. Use a rideshare service. One of the things that sets off my anxiety is logistics and parking. Instead of figuring all of that out, I took a Lyft (which is a tax write-off) to make that part easy.
3. DM with one of the hosts or attendees before the event so you have a familiar face to connect with. For this event, there were 8 people and they sent everyone’s IG info ahead of time so we could do a little pre-event stalking.
Also – I don’t really get anxious for events like this anymore because I’ve gone to enough of them that I know everyone else is a little nervous, everyone else doesn’t know anyone, and if I just show up and go with the flow it all turns out great. If you force yourself to go to a few events it will get easier and easier.
Zoom calls (like the ones we host in The Essentials) are a great option, but meeting local entrepreneurs is absolutely worth it. You don’t need a certain number of people to mastermind, you can meet with one or two other people and still get great feedback and ideas.