I was so honored to be a guest on Elizabeth Chappell's podcast called Craft to Career. Listen to the episode here.
Maybe this makes me a monster, but I really liked this episode! Am I allowed to say that allowed without sounding braggy? There was a time where it made me really uncomfortable to hear a recording of my own voice, but I guess I'm over that now that I'm 40. 😜 I really liked the questions Elizabeth asked and how the conversation flowed.
As she mentioned in the episode, we met each other at QuiltCon in Austin, Texas, in February of 2020—right before the world shut down. At that point, I knew that we had memberships in common, so I immediately struck up a conversation. I had just started mine not quite 6 months prior and I was obsessed with trying to improve and grow the Longarm League (still am!). She had started the Quilters Candy digital membership by then, too, and so we quickly found ourselves comparing and contrasting our offerings, at one point trying to find a quiet place to talk in a hallway away from the show! We were dialed IN! I took so much away from that chat - it was so valuable just to talk to another person who intimately understood the behind-the-scenes ups and downs of running a membership-based business.
At that moment, we went from strangers to friends. We continue to check in with each other at least monthly.
Listening to the interview last week has me reminiscing about my journey. It took me to a place in my head and my heart that I remember so well...
LIVING IN SCARCITY
It was and still is really difficult for me to spend money. I know this comes from a mindset of scarcity as I was growing up. I got it mixed up in my head that it was good—pert near HOLY—not to spend money, especially not on myself. Now, forgive the fact I just threw a 'pert near' in this paragraph and listen to the greater message:
In particular, I've been reflecting on how in-person events were really instrumental along the way.
I wish I would have better understood and embraced the beauty of exchanging money to invest in myself and my business early on because I wouldn't have put off going to a 'big' quilt show for so many years. I've met so many people that whether they know it or not, helped spur me on to the next steps along my path. I don't live in regret, but dang—I know that I would have had a head start to growth, expanding my network, and expanding what I thought was possible if I would have put myself out there earlier.
GO TO WHERE QUILTERS ARE
Now, I consider the money I spent for flights and hotels to be investments in growing my network and my future opportunities. I used to tell myself I wasn't making enough money to justify the cost. I used to tell myself that it would be too difficult to find childcare for an overnight trip. I used to tell myself I didn't need to go. Heck, I used to tell myself that it would be selfish to go.
I was able to share hotel rooms with friends a few times and I also saved money by booking an Airbnb a few blocks away from the convention center once and by driving when my destination was within a reasonable distance. So when I talk about being willing to invest, I'm not saying that is synonymous with reckless spending. Get creative and get yourself to where other quilters are, already!
The world is opening back up and I really believe that quilters want to get out there again, and not take being in person together for granted ever again.
WHAT IF YOU DON'T HAVE BIG-CONVENTION-ENERGY?
I'm not someone who sets up meetings ahead of time and has a whole (all-caps) AGENDA. I am a person who likes to have a vague outline of a plan while remaining open to introductions and conversations that may happen.
This might surprise you, but I'm not an extrovert. I do like talking to people... most of the time. 😆 Having meaningful conversations on a small scale brings me life, but oftentimes going to big shows drains my batteries and leaves me with crippling headaches. It's a fine line to navigate! I have learned that I need to pace myself, take lots of breaks, drink water, and generally listen to what my body is telling me. So many of us quilters would consider ourselves introverts and so I very much get the impulse to want to skip situations like this. But I'm here to say that it is possible to do it in a way that feels good to you.
If you listened to the episode, I'd love for you to leave me a comment! Is there any part of my story that sounds familiar to you? Are you struggling with any mindset blocks that are holding you back?
Trust that your path is your path. Don't get caught up in the fear of making missteps because it all counts in the end. You'll learn all you need in the process.
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