Article written by Betsy Cadel
Yes, I’m an entrepreneur, but not that kind of entrepreneur, I thought when Elina Furman invited me to join a local female entrepreneurs group. And because I find being around self-starters and creative folks incredibly inspiring, I jumped at the chance.
On the night of the small gathering at Elina’s house we went around the table introducing ourselves. I listened as they described the companies they had founded, the products they had launched, and their professional backgrounds, which were so impressive that if I had met them in some other environment I might have been pretty intimidated.
But, after commiserating about our kids, dishing about celebrity gossip and opening up a bottle (or two) of wine, I felt like we were all just moms who started down a more secure career path and ended up taking the risk of choosing another.
“So ladies,” Elina started, “What are you struggling with right now? Is there anything holding you back?”
I was surprised when the discussion quickly turned to personal insecurities and fears each of us had. Then everyone shared business issues that could ultimately mean the life or death of their company (and their household income). Only in the movie Field of Dreams was it a foregone conclusion that “If you build it they will come.”
One thing that kept coming up over and over were costly mistakes they had made or assumptions about their business strategy that turned out to be wrong. And refreshingly, they were so open and honest about it.
Then it hit me. I’ve been to countless conferences and events where panels of experts talk about how to achieve success, but they never ever talk about their failures.
I thought about how other business owners could learn how to get it right from what these women had tried and gotten wrong.
When I approached Rob with the idea of hosting the “Mentoring through Missteps” event, without hesitation he said, “sounds great!” What makes Rob one my favorite entrepreneurs is that he is willing to try anything.
I was thrilled with the people who agreed to be panelists as they represent all different types of businesses from online to subscription to bricks and mortar.
Elina Furman is the founder of Pley (commonly referred to as Netflix for Legos). She recently received 7-million dollars in funding to grow her business, which is part of the “sharing economy.”
Sarah Welch founded Buttoned Up, which originally started as a product line that was sold in mega-retailers like Walmart and Target. As the economy changed she found she either had to reinvent her company or fold. Ultimately she discovered a revenue stream that was most unexpected.
Jenifer Ross is the owner of W@tercooler in Tarrytown, which is a co-workspace that has evolved into a hub for the community, workshops, entertainment, and retailers. She is looking at opening a second location in Yonkers soon.
Figuring out who should be the moderator the biggest no-brainer of them all: The DAE’s very own Rob Kissner. He knows first hand the challenges of starting his own company, biting his nails when he opened the doors and no one walked through, and about creatively recalibrating his business model, making The DAE the thriving business it is today.
So, you think you’re not that kind of entrepreneur? Guess what, if you own your own business or have always dreamed of doing it, you are. Over food and drinks you’ll meet other like-minded people (AKA potential contacts) and will leave more confident and business savvy than you were two-hours earlier.
And best of all it may help you avoid costly mistakes while recognizing that, as Malcolm Forbes said, “Failure is success if we learn from it.”
Betsy Cadel is the founder of Thinking Cap Productions, which turns WTF to OMG one how-to video at a time.
“Mentoring Through Missteps”
Event to be held May 28th at 6:30pmat The Digital Arts Experience: 170 Hamilton Ave. in White Plains, NY
Tickets $10 at: http://mentoringthroughmissteps.eventbrite.com
Wine served, Refreshments available.