I’m a big believer in constantly learning so I can keep living this independent and creative life I value so deeply but there are times when it is a bumpy road that really knocks my faith in myself around. A recent workshop I went to certainly did that, forcing me to reassess my plans and pick myself up again.
And then a Tumble
It all started rather well really, as soon as I arrived I was able to have a great conversation with the talented expert presenter and I have to confess, I enjoyed the validation I received from her for my ceramic jewellery and my online work for the business. And the workshop itself was great too. It just all tumbled downwards when I was able to continue my conversation with this amazingly savvy and high achieving business woman and I realised she was saying my planned approach was bung and I had to think it through all again.
I left feeling like I was tumbling down a dark vortex as I stomped up a hill back into the city. I was berating myself as a fool for not seeing for myself exactly what she said. I felt horrible, my insecurities finding their own voices again and knocking me around. I loath these sorts of feelings, I never like holding onto them, nor they me.
Time to Reassess Plans
Thankfully by the time I was having my lunch I was finding the good points of what she’d said, I was letting go of the sting of failure in my plans and was starting to reassess, reform, reshape the ideas into something worth testing.
But that’s the thing, with all plans for your business you must reassess, get feedback and test ideas out. I was worried about how I ended up looking to this lady who I’ve always admired. When really what matters is what I do with her valuable and frank feedback. It is exactly why I went to the workshop in the first place.
The Power of a Great Workshop
Having run small business workshops for a while myself I so easily see the powerful value for business owners to get along to quality events where they can learn, ask questions, meet like-minded entrepreneurs and creative creatures and skill up.
As a small business owner I know what it is to budget with time and money for these events. It can be easy to go to one or two every week but you need to have time to absorb the lessons, insights and ideas from them or otherwise they are a waste of effort.
Given how much Facebook is devaluing the business pages it’s really important to me now to grow my newsletter membership and Valerie’s plain speaking advice on how to ask my customers was just what I needed to hear. Straight away at market I started asking customers if they’d like to receive the newsletter and I was so delighted with so many positive responses.
Valerie also recommended Pretty Links for making my Instagram posts links easier for followers so I set that up straight away and that’s increased traffic immediately too.
While these are really simple and seemingly small things they add up over time to really big results.
A Workshop Full of Gems
The workshop itself was full of little gems that I’ve been meditating on too, like “Own it”. Own what you do and your actions. Take steps before you think you’re ready and make it happen. I’d already been doing a lot of that lately and I have been quite amazed at the results, with three new stockists – two of them dream stockists – for an entirely new range of my work.
Inspired by these successes and hearing Valerie’s words still echoing I’m working with focus and determination this week on the next three stages I need with the new stationery range, getting the cards online, developing the tools I need to reach out to stockists and painting new designs. It’s a big, satisfying week.
It’s all too easy to be isolated with your own thoughts when you’re beavering away in the studio or office. I use workshops as a way to reassess what I’m doing and get some fresh air flowing through my headspace.
I still need to implement thoughts and insights from Valerie’s workshop but I already have great value from it. I’ve already learnt new skills and ideas because I made sure I got along to it.
5 Tips for Picking a Good Value Workshop
Here’s five practical tips for making the most of your investment in time and money with workshops:
Workshop tip 1.
Know what you’re working on and where you want to go so you can match the workshop topic to your goals. It’s no use going to a social media marketing workshop if you have no intension of being on social media.
Workshop tip 2.
Look for the smaller workshops with a local provider who believes in building a community and sharing skills. This is where Anna Kellerman of Mama Creatives succeeds. She gets it that for us small business owners we need it all to come together – networking, learning, talented experts and a supportive peer group. A smaller group gives you a better opportunity to talk with the presenter and actually meet some interesting attendees.
Workshop tip 3.
Make sure you create time around the workshop to soak up the ideas so you get value from it all. I purposefully made thinking time after the workshop so I could get real benefits from it. Valerie did share a worksheet with space for notes as well as space for writing your own ideas down and recommended for people to go through it on the weekend. As I’m at market on the weekends I needed to have the time after the presentation.
Workshop tip 4.
Don’t go chasing after all the bright shiny ideas that pop up miraculously from the workshop. It’s really tempting to but they’ll distract you. Instead, write them down, even give them a little bit of attention, but get back on topic and be focused on your immediate goals.
Workshop tip 5.
Follow up after the workshop, say thank you to the presenter and organiser, work through the practical ideas you want to immediately implement and find that fortune that comes with the follow up.
Share with Us
What’s worked with you with workshops? Have you been to any lately that have been really valuable to you?
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