I spent last night at the British Library, as part of the panel at the Passion Into Pounds event hosted by Jessica Huie MBE and Vicki Psarias, aka Honest Mum. My fellow panellists were Jo Morrell, founded of The Pool, and media expert and best-selling author of The Million Dollar Blog, Natasha Courtenay-Smith. And me. Imposter syndrome? You bet.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my short years as an entrepeneur, it’s not to give imposter syndrome houseroom – it’s a lousy, thankless guest.
And of course it was an amazing evening – around 170 women at the British Library came away fired up and inspired by the possibilities of starting their own business.
One of the key themes of the night was the support we need as entrepreneurs. Jo advised the audience to think carefully about who they chose to spend their time with. Having a supportive partner and family helps, of course, and there’s a limit to what you can do about that if they’re not. But you CAN choose your friends. Natasha shared how she consciously conducted a ‘friend cull’ when she left traditional journalism to set up her own media business: she didn’t have time for the negativity that so many of her ‘old life’ friends brought with them to her new life. Instead she sought out people with passion and vision of their own, those who inspired and challenged her, those who left her feeling energised – rather than drained – when she’d spent time with them.
Another tip shared by the panel was to ‘go for every coffee’ when you’re starting out: entrepreneurship is fuelled by human connections, you never know where those connections will take you. It’s very easy to sit at home behind the computer screen and plan your Facebook ads, but getting out and meeting real people, building relationships, having exploratory conversations, is where it all happens.
This morning I had a ‘quick coffee’ (two hours, which felt like two minutes) with one of my incredible women entrepreneur friends Karen Skidmore, and as I drove back, buzzing with energy and ideas, I realized that without realizing it I’d just lived out both principles.
Here’s to more coffees, more positivity, more energising, challenging, creative conversations and connections (particularly those with fellow women entrepreneurs).
This is the fuel of 21st-century business.