Little things changed and built along the way will make a big difference… True for health and true for business. For this week’s blog, I checked in with Kelley Sanabria, President and CEO of Femworking, a local women blogger and small biz networking organization. Kelley and I met about 4 months ago and I have loved watching her transformation as she created an amazing business from scratch. She answers a few questions below. Let us know your comments and questions too!
Kelley: Femworking started with my friend Amy Strauss of Story Girl Press. I had just stopped working and was helping her promote the book Spring Break (such a good read, by the way) – and I was having a lot of success. We realized that for some reason it was easier for us to promote each others’ businesses (in my case my personal blog) than it was to promote ourselves. We decided to invite others to join us and in January we met with four other girls in a coffee shop in Alexandria and Femworking was born. I knew immediately after that first meeting we had something special and that this could be big. So far that continues to be reaffirmed – it’s just a matter of taking an amazing concept and actually making a business out of it, because if you’re not getting paid, it’s just a hobby.
Me: Have there been changes along the way with regard to what you have wanted to do business-wise?
Kelley: Yes! All the time – All of this still feels new and I’m still working out what direction the business will take. Right now we’re piloting trying other Femworking groups in other locations. I’m hoping we’ll have the same great results as our original Alexandria location – I really want to be able to serve woman all over the DMV (and eventually the world!) but figuring out the back end of such a plan is proving more complicated than I thought. Then Nicole Dash of Tiny Steps Mommy invited us to work with her to plan a small business and blogger conference. That wasn’t originally in the business plan but when the opportunity came I couldn’t say no, and I’m glad I didn’t. Conference planning is a lot of work but the local response has been overwhelmingly supportive and enthusiastic. We’re excited!
Me: What great advice have you been given and by whom? Did you follow it?
Kelley: I feel like I’m given great advice all the time. As a little kid I remember reading something about studying those that you would like to emulate, and I do it all the time, in my business and personal life. Right now in business I follow Laura Roeder, Marie Forleo, Seth Godin, Chris Brogan, Chris Guillebeau, and Natalie Sisson. They give great advice and always make me think. I can say that just from following their free content (okay, so I bought Natalie’s new book, too) I have grown as a business woman. Recently the best advice I got came from my business coach, Jasmyn. I had been working to figure out a way to pay the girls who are starting Femworking groups, and to pay Jasmyn to actually help me part time to train leaders. We did the math and with our current monthly membership fee of only $19/month, there’s no way I can pay anyone – I can hardly pay myself with that. So as much as I hated to hear it, Jasmyn kept repeating, “the numbers don’t lie.” And she’s right. We all have to remember that with our businesses – even though it’s painful sometimes. My dream was to be able to pay leaders so that maybe an extra $100/month could help another mom stay home with her baby or could allow someone to quit her full time job and transition to her dream business. But the bottom line isn’t there for that. So maybe I can offer my skills and teach leaders how to grow the following I have – how I keep women coming back to Femworking meetings. Or maybe Femworking stays local and we don’t expand. I don’t know, but I I have to keep analyzing the numbers, because Jasmyn’s right: the numbers don’t lie.
Kelley: Do it! Just do it. And stop spending. Curbing your spending habits will help you gain freedom a lot faster. You don’t need a lot to start a new business. Hustle. Tell everyone about your business. Provide a great experience and amazing customer service to keep your customers coming back. Surprise and delight your customers. Dream big. Plan your salary, paint a mental picture of everything you want and then plan backwards. If you want to earn $150,000 a year, that means you need to be earning $12,500/month and $3,125/week. These numbers might seem outrageous when you’re first starting out but they should help you focus on activities that will earn you money versus activities that won’t (I’m looking at you, Facebook!) Pay attention to the numbers. And oh yeah, come to Femworking, because we’ll throw you up on our shoulders and crowd surf you to the stage. We believe in you and we’re here to help you get started!
Wanna check out a Femworking meeting? The first one’s always free. See our different locations and RSVP over on Meetup.
Have you ever had to face the numbers in your business? Have the numbers ever forced you to make a decision you didn’t really want to make?