Donna Maria Coles Johnson of Indie Business Network, Lela Barker from Lucky Break Consulting, Anne-Marie Faiola from Brambleberry and me (representing Selah Press) held our first 2×4 LIVE event with this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. The two day event was a great success. I believe the heart of the event was the willingness of the attendees to fully participate in this intimate setting.
The businesses that were represented in the room varied from a 4 day old business all the way to people with decades in business. We also had people who were in start-ups trying to determining how to capitalize on their idea up to million dollar companies and everything in between.
It was so exciting seeing such a diverse crowd bond like they were all old friends. Many in the room were in the bath and body industry, but we also had a recycled goods business, an environmental strategy consultant, to a tiny house expert, outdoor enthusiasts, as well as authors and editors.
We started out day one with introductions and then got right down to businesses with a panel discussion answering questions about business, social media, marketing and business questions. Donna Maria, Lela Barker, Anne-Marie and I occasionally had answers that were similar, but often had vastly different methods. I loved that all of us found success through different routes, personalities and organization. It helped the group realize that they didn’t have to fit in a certain mold to succeed.
After our panel discussion and a lunch break we regrouped for talks given by each of us. A few months ago we had sent a survey to determine which of 3 possible talks each of us could give would be most benefitial to the attendees. There was a clear winner for each of us to focus on after the survey.
Anne-Marie Faiola: Do the work. On the power of trudging, stumbling, and relentless pursuit of the small
In Anne-Marie’s talk she highlighted the power of the small and the beauty in the relentless trudging. She gave examples of businesses that looked impressive from the outside NOW but really had had years of failure before success. For example, Dyson vacuum cleaners and their 5127 prototypes, Ray Kroc starting McDonalds at the age of 52, Colonel Sanders founding KFC at the age of 56. She shared some of her own failures, along with some awesome pictures from the early years! Anne-Marie explained how every “no” leads you closer to a “yes.” Her talk was empowering, inspiring and totally authentic.
Anne-Marie gave everyone homework to do prior to the mastermind round table event planned for the following day. Her homework was to come up with five trudges and to pick one or two to do daily. A trudge is something you know you should be doing but don’t do. Her mastermind group worked on baby steps and planned trudging.
Donna Maria Coles Johnson: How to Use Virtual Events to Build Brand Awareness and Create New Sales Opportunities
In Donna Maria’ talk she empowered us all to use technology to build brand awareness and optimize sales opportunities. She says, “Technology gives you speed and access, so if you want to reach your customers fast and repeatedly, you must leverage technology to do that in an efficient and cost effective way.” She shared specific ways that we can use Facebook, Blab, Periscope, Twitter and podcasts to build our businesses.
Donna Maria gave everyone homework to sketch out their planned virtual event. As Charlene Simon reported, “Donna Maria’s homework commands have haunted me; the commands wouldn’t have been as effective without the darting eye contact and pointed finger straight at me.” Needless to say, everyone got their homework done! One of those events launches today already and another one is launching next week.
Kayla Fioravanti: Lessons from a Serial Entrepreneur – What Worked, What Didn’t, and Why to be Hopelessly Unemployable
I spoke about my 24 year entrepreneurial journey. I talked about the failures, successes and many of the lessons I learned along the way. The main things that I found worked in business included: reinventing ourselves regularly, marking hard choices and keeping our eyes on the goal, listening to our guts, and building with the end in mind. I talked about knowing if your fears in business are “false evidence appearing real” or not. The key to success is moving forward. Failure is not the opposite of success, it is a pit stop on the road to success.
My homework was to evaluate what in your business needed to change in order to be preparing for an exit strategy. The steps necessary to prepare an exit strategy help a business find focus, get compliant, create better tracking systems and more.
Lela Barker: The Secret to Relevancy with your Ideal Customers
Lela is a powerhouse of information. She helped business owners think about who their idea customers are, what they like, how to be relevant to them in an authentic way. Her talk was challenging, inspiring and gave all of us aspirations to reach the next level. When Lela was done talking I was ready to sign up for any class she teaches at LBU.
During the wrap up session after the entire event attendees had a moment to share whether they got what they came to the meeting for out of it, additional thoughts and talk about how their tanks were refilled. It was an emotional wrap up. What fuels me is helping others – I left the wrap up session with reserves of fuel.
As the only local speaker I had extra time to spend after the event was over with everyone. In one on one talks I got enough refueling to carry me the next 2×4 LIVE event tentatively scheduled for June 2017 on the West Coast. Stay tuned for future announcements.
One attendee told me that she got more out of this business event than any other she had ever attended, including Peter Shankman’s events she has attended. Another confirmed that she too had been to multiple events and that this one was by far the most empowering. That is what I love to see – not that we offered something better, but that we offered them exactly what they needed, when they needed it.