What if? “La La Land”-inspired Food For Thought For Small Business Owners

If you wander back in time through my posts on Twitter or Facebook, you’ll find evidence I fell in love with the movie “La La Land.”

I’m often skeptical when a film gets obscene amounts of accolades, but this one deserves every single ounce of the kudos heaped Screen shot of Dawn Mentzer's Facebook post about movie La La Landupon it.

It’s a story of chasing dreams, the sting of reality, love found, hopes dashed, and fresh starts.

It’s also a story of “what ifs.” It’s a story of looking back and wondering how life and career would be different if we had done just one thing differently.

We can all relate to that, can’t we? Personally and professionally we wonder what our lives would be like if we had made other choices.

What if I had said that more tactfully?

What if I hadn’t lost my temper?

What if I had gone to that networking event?

What if I had quoted a different rate for that project?

What if I had said “no”?

What if I had said “yes”?

What if I had taken my time?

What if I had been more careful?

What if I hadn’t jumped to conclusions?

What if I had told the truth?

What if I hadn’t been so stubborn?

What if I had spoken my mind?

What if I had tried to be more understanding?

What if I had tried harder?

What if I had been more caring?

What if I hadn’t given up?

Every decision we make, every action we take—no matter how seemingly insignificant—affects how the future will progress. Turning down a coffee meeting, posting a contradictory comment on someone’s social media post, deleting an email before reading it…you never know when something you decide to do—or not do—will make or break opportunities and shape how your relationships develop.

What if we all put a little more thought into the little decisions we make every day?

Your turn: What “what ifs” make you wonder how things might be different today if you had made some other choices yesterday?

Fortune Cookie Friday Small Biz Wisdom: Do You Dare?

What a fine specimen for this Fortune Cookie Friday’s nugget of takeout wisdom.Fortune Cookie Friday: Dare

 

 Fortune sides with him who dares.”

 

As solopreneurs and small business owners, we constantly meet opportunity. And with it, we face uncertainty and risk.

 

Going into business for yourself in and of itself stands as the perfect example of how opportunity, uncertainty, and risk are intertwined. To reap the rewards of opportunities, you sometimes need to put yourself out there and expose yourself to the possibility of not succeeding.

 

It’s scary. But, “Fortune sides with him who dares.”

 

To start and grow a business, you must dare to take some chances. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself at a severe disadvantage.

 

By “dare,” I mean you have to exit your comfort zone more than you care to.

 

Otherwise, you likely won’t:

 

  • Find as many potential clients.
  • Discover new ways to expand your offerings.
  • Learn crucial new business technology tools.
  • Significantly hone your skills and knowledge.

 

Don’t dare and you will get left behind and lost in the shuffle.

 

Do you dare…

 

  • Go to a networking function where you’ll know no one?
  • Talk with a competitor to see if you might form a collaborative partnership to serve more clients?
  • Invest dollars in a social media management tool?
  • Fly across the country to attend training?

 

True, there’s always the risk things won’t work out as well as you hope they will. But fortune favors those who dare with new perspectives—and new opportunities.

 

What have you dared to do lately to better your business? Dare to share it here!

 

By Dawn Mentzer (a.k.a. The Insatiable Solopreneur™)

Inspiration & Motivation – Look for Them in the Most Unlikely Places

Have you ever experienced unexpected moments when someone or something – without effort or intention – has made youSunlight filtering through clouds want to do better or do more?

I had one of those last night at my local chamber’s business women’s networking mixer. While you might think that the accomplished professionals in attendance and their successes were what inspired me, my boost in mojo instead came from a rather unlikely source.

A Networking Experience Like No Other

During a timed networking exercise where we had precisely one-minute to share about our businesses and ourselves with the other women seated at our table, a petite, quiet 62-year-old lady originating from Thailand, Penny, introduced herself to the group.  This was Penny’s first interaction at a chamber event. She brought home-made, handwritten business cards made from cut up index cards. On them, she shared her name, email address, mobile phone number, and her professional specialties: Thai language, Art, and Culture.

When it was Penny’s turn with the timer, she shared that her skills include teaching the Thai language and culture to anyone who is interested. She’s also available to help prepare food for parties – and is skilled at transforming fruits and veggies into art by cutting them into the likeness of flowers. Penny will babysit for busy professionals who need a night out, too.

A Great First Impression – and an Inspiration

While I didn’t quite grasp Penny’s entire background because my ears and her accent didn’t cooperate with each other 100%, I couldn’t miss her courage, determination, and sweet character. Penny may not have been as polished as the other women in the room last night, but she was prepared. Prepared to put herself out there and make an effort. She demonstrated fearlessness even though I imagine she was to some degree nervous and unsure about the reception she’d receive.

Penny wowed me. Not because of her professional prowess, accomplishments, or particular skill-set, but because she dared to  face uncertainty and step outside of her comfort zone. From that brief encounter with Penny, she has inspired me to put a little extra effort into my “get up and go.”

Acceptance – and Pride 

Not only did Penny impress me last night, so did the other women at the event.  The warmth they showed Penny was genuine and heartfelt. Not that I expected anything less from them, but  to reflect on their encouragement of Penny brings a smile to my face. There was no judging, no superiority – only acceptance and encouragement. I’ve always had pride in being a part of the business community in Lancaster County, but I’m even more proud after last night.

Keep Your Eyes and Ears Open – Inspiration is All Around You

To forge forward as a solopreneur or small business owner, I believe it’s important to find people, events, and experiences that rejuvenate your entrepreneurial energy. Good news is, you’ve likely got them all around you right now. Be aware. Be appreciative. And you’ll surely be inspired.

Where have you found inspiration and motivation in an unlikely place?

By Dawn Mentzer

Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net