Arlington Entrepreneurs

Tag archives for business development

Working for Free as a Newbie: Is it Ever Worth it?

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A lot of new businesses end up providing their products or services free of charge, as a way of gaining name recognition and potential paying business down the road. But, is this opportunity or exploitation? As Naya of the National Freelancers Union points out, “you can’t pay your bills with exposure and experience.”

Is there a way to take the upper hand in such a situation, and negotiate from a position of strength rather than weakness? Take a look at Naya’s article, which has some interesting and useful suggestions for getting more than “exposure” out of a free gig.

 

Working for Free as a Newbie: Is it Ever Worth it?
by Naya the Creative of the National Freelancers Union

You’ve been designing/painting/consulting/writing code/underwater basket weaving for years. Maybe you’re self-taught or maybe you’ve taken some classes. Either way, you have skills. And, if you do say so yourself, you’ve gotten pretty damn good at what you’re doing. But, since you’ve never charged actual money, and you have no idea how to get clients for a new business, you’re feeling a little insecure.

You don’t have a portfolio, or case studies, or past clients to show for your skillset. And even though all of your friends keep telling you, like, every day, to go out on your own and start a business, none of them have any experience in how to get clients. And yeah, while you’re glad that they’re so supportive of you, you don’t actually know what to do now. #Pressure

Because, even though you’re really talented, you don’t know how to get clients for a new business when you’ve never had clients.

Read the rest of this article.

Looking for a Place to Work? Try Your Public Library.

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public-library. Photo by Sebas Ribas on Unsplash

Let the library help you build your business

The public library is a great place to work and to grow your business. Here in Arlington, the Robbins branch of the Arlington public system has its own business collection, one that includes books, periodicals and databases that you can access from the library or from home. And, it has a feature common to public libraries everywhere – a reference desk with staff whose job is to help you find what you need!

Arlington Entrepreneurs spoke with Linda Dyndiuk, the head of Adult Services at the library. The wealth of resources for entrepreneurs there surprised own own interviewer! Not only can you check out a state-of-the-art computer, you can also find parts of the library that are reserved for conversations. Need to study or research? Enjoy the quiet at the library. Need to speak with a client or conduct a one-on-one training? Find a place a place to talk at the Robbins.

Although the library has yet to open its own coffee shop, you can bring your own food and drink. Of course, if you need help accessing or understanding any of the library’s resources, a reference library will be on-hand to guide you through the process.

Listen to this month’s podcast for more information about building your business with the help of your public library – anywhere!

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Do You Carry “I Should Do It MYSELF!” Shame?

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Reposted from Marina Darlow of Vision-Framework email, May 2017.

Here’s some great advice about our tendency to try to do everything ourselves. Marina has this to say:

Let’s talk for a sec about a particular kind of shame. The “I should be able to do it myself!” feeling. It can keep you stuck for ages – you should be able to do it yourself, but you don’t. And you won’t outsource or delegate, because you should be able to do it yourself. Welcome to a vicious circle.

I should be able to make scrambled eggs without burning the skillet.
I should be able to update my website without crashing it half the time.
I should be able to know how much I made last month.

Well, no.
No, you shouldn’t.
We aren’t in the Dark Ages anymore.

You don’t have to chop wood to heat your house. You won’t stay an old maid if you can’t cook. You don’t even have to be good at math, whatever they said in grade school.
Same is true for a business owner who cannot do her social media, or keep his books, or organize her schedule. You don’t have to be able to do all-the-things, all by yourself.

 For some reason (natural harmony? universal justice?) people with brilliant strengths, those with some unusual genius, tend to lack “basic skills”. And very often they are ashamed to admit it. Ashamed that their handwriting in school was so illegible, they were never given an A. Ashamed they can’t add seven and six and conclude to 13. Ashamed they avoid phone calls to service providers (the person in the last example one of the most successful people I’m friends with).

It’s a destructive and paralyzing kind of shame (wait, is there another kind? I’m trying to think up a action-spurring kind of shame. Help me out here, I’m coming up empty).

Well, as you can imagine, I call B.S. Let me illuminate my viewpoint with a few examples of true, recognized geniuses that are known for lacking some “really basic” skills:

  • J.K. Rowling admits she’s bad at math

  • Bruce Willis was stuttering(!) for the first twenty years of his life

  • Napoleon Hill couldn’t work in an office

  • Sir Richard Branson is famously dyslexic. Do you really think he did the proof-reading for Student magazine he started at 16?

 What’s NOT destructive and paralyzing?

Zero on a skill that you are really good at. Maybe you’re an incredible saleswoman (Hi Jennifer!). Maybe you create inspiring content at a breakneck pace, leaving the rest of us jealous and amazed. Maybe your coaching skills are so rare, they are life-changing.

Once you shine a light on your genius, it’s much easier to admit you are a sorry proof-reader. And then – let go.

Automate, delegate, or outsource.
Focus on the stuff that makes you feel powerful. The stuff that makes you happy. The very thing that made you start your own venture.

That’s it for today.
Go do amazing things!
Marina (Darlow)

Thanks, Marina! Now, all of you get out there and do amazing things. Actually, you’re already doing amazing things – bravo!

Welcome to Calm Island

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view-from-whittemore-street

Come out and play!

It’s a gorgeous day and I’m fried. Running a social network does that to you. I hope you’ve all received the latest email. Please look it over. We’re officially launching two groups with a double-header meet and greet at WorkBar Arlington. It all happens on April 1 (no joke). Women Entrepreneurs of Arlington will be serving tea and business-building ideas beginning at 10:30 am and going until noon. The Healthy Entrepreneur will get its kickoff in the late afternoon with a call for health and wellness practitioners both in and out of the network.

Women Entrepreneurs of Arlington was launched by AE member Debra Woog of Connect2. Debra has worked long and hard to improve the careers of women professionals. This initial meeting will give us a chance to meet each other, talk about our businesses and brainstorm some new ideas. I’m very excited to be part of this group and look forward to sharing ideas and challenges.

The Healthy Entrepreneur was a joint effort between myself and Leah Gilbert. Leah is an occupational therapist and a licensed mindful meditation teacher and practitioner. She has graciously taken the lead and is going to be heading up the afternoon meeting. That’s good. I’m a happy health and wellness client and patient, but have no background other than that!

Make it yours

Make it yours

I love what I do, but I’ve made sacrifices to get here. Working on your own is stressful, isolating and unpredictable. It’s easy to get lost in front of a computer and you never know what your income will be from month to month. We forget to exercise and don’t have the time to prepare healthy meals. Burning the candle at both ends becomes a way of life. I neglected my health for years and last summer that fact came back to bite me. The experience scared some sense into me. I’m exercising, eating healthy(ier) meals, meditating and getting regular massages. I listen to my doctor, get regular checkups and put up with whatever medication regimen is necessary. I happen to like my life and want to stick around as long as possible!

Chill, girl

Chill, girl

My own experiences were the initiating factors for starting The Healthy Entrepreneur. Arlington has a wealth of health and wellness practitioners and I’d like to use my communication skills and local connections to help that community thrive. The first meeting will include a meet and greet and will give everyone a chance to introduce themselves. Health and Wellness people and people who want to get and stay healthier – this is your group. Do with it what you will!

Thanks for hanging on and reading through to the end. I think I’ll pack up the computer, do a little browsing here at the library and then head out on foot to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Maybe I’ll even stop for a cup of coffee – decaf of course!

 

The Lowdown on Co-Working

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We’re serious about co-working and it’s coming to Arlington sooner than anyone thought. Arlington Entrepreneurs is working with WorkBar to make sure we get the opportunities we need to grow and thrive. AE member and journalist extraordinaire Bob Sprague has given us an in-depth account of our first town co-working meeting and went on to explain the concept in more detail.

Many thanks, Bob!

 

Mill buildings

Former Mill at Mirak, site of many small businesses, including co-working in rear, at left.

Co-Working to Hit Heights…
by Bob Sprague, YourArlington

Working in 2015 can be lonely.

The employment game has been changing for decades: Many of you no longer toil 40 years for a corporation and retire with a company pension.

By at least 2005, if not since the late 1990s, the fragmentation of the workplace led to various forms of declarations of employment independence. One is called coworking, and it’s coming to Arlington.

Read the rest of this article.