I first ‘met’ Sunita, writer of Lucky Things blog via Instagram last year. Details of exactly when are a little hazy in my mind, a bit like a boozy first date. Shortly after meeting (I use this term in the ‘online’ sense) Sunita invited me along to an event she was hosting in London. It was apparently going to be a small, informal and friendly, with a fabulous Weleda arm massage thrown in for good measure. I didn’t know anyone else who was going, and having been to big blog and smaller meet ups before, I was a worried about feeling a bit lost. The big events I’ve been too, I’ve found to be rather impersonal, as those who already know each other use it as a chance to catch up (quite rightly) but the problem being that they tend to stick in their set groups (what’s a group of bloggers called? A Click perhaps, with all that phone and keyboard tapping?) And a few other more low-key, supposedly super friendly and pressure free meet ups that I’ve been to, I’ve found to be exactly what they were claiming not to be. So would going to Sunitas’ event leave me feeling on the outside?
The long and the short of it is no, it didn’t. Sunita keeps her events small and intimate (twenty maximum I think) which gives everyone the chance to chat with each other. In a small group, even if you’re chatting to people you know, others can join in too, they don’t feel left out or find themselves standing on the outside. She also, rather cleverly I think because I’m hopeless at this, remembers everyone’s name. It’s a really good, simple thing to make people feel at ease and like they belong. She also gives you the time of day and lovely big hug, again making you feel welcome.
Since that first meet, Sunita has ditched the day job, concentrating on working as a confidence coach and on running more events, which are hugely popular now. It’s been a while, but I decided to go to another one hosted last weekend. The topic was ‘careers and confidence’, with guest speakers Antonia from Tinker Tailor Online in whom I’ve made a firm friend, and Lisa from The Wentworth Collective. I didn’t necessarily feel the topic had any relevance to me, I’ve been dabbling with some paid Copy Writing work and I get a few opportunities via my blog now and again but nothing I’d consider a ‘career’ as such. But actually, what I found was that at the end of the session, I had quite a few things to take away with me. Sunita, Lisa and Antonia all said some really useful, positive things, relevant to anything you might be doing ‘career’ wise, be that working, having your own business or parenting full time. Here are the snippets I learnt:
Know your worth. You can apply this to anything that you’re doing. Be it working full time and aiming for a pay rise, or perhaps Blogging and thinking about what to charge as your rates. Or it could be working full time as a mum and acknowledging all the work you do. Know and appreciate what you do and what your ‘worth is’. This is the main tip I took away with me, as I’ve been massively undercharging for some copy writing work that I’ve been doing. Hearing this reminded me that I know I am ‘worth’ more.
What’s the worst that could happen? If you’re about to send an email to a PR company asking for something, or you’re speaking at an event, or you’re setting up your own business, what’s the worst that could happen? OK the PR company might not reply, you might forget some words or blush at the event, and you’re taking a big leap of faith going it alone, but is that really so bad? Consider the worst and providing it’s not dying (which Antonia said!) then do the thing you think you can’t do.
Don’t say ‘just’ when describing what you do. For example, and I’m 100% guilty of this, when people ask me what I do for a job I always say, ‘I’m just a mum’. You should be proud of what you do, whatever that may be so put it out there. Also when asking people for something, don’t say, ‘I was just wondering if’. Put what you want out there, don’t be shy or embarrassed about asking for things. Cut to the chase!
Feel the fear and do it anyway. This is obviously a book title, but was quite relevant. It’s good to feel nervous about perhaps launching your own business or sending that email to a big brand, nerves are OK but don’t let them stop you doing things. Embrace them and move forward with them.
There were loads more tips and ideas from the panel. This latest meet really was another lovely afternoon spent with friendly, easy-going women. You don’t have to be a blogger or instagrammer to attend (quite a few weren’t) It’s just a great space in which to bounce ideas off of others or to have a chat and learn a few things. A huge thumbs up from me and I’ll be going to one of the next meets for sure.
Photo credits, Sunita