The first time I went to a business networking group, I could barely articulate what my business was. I had no business actually, just a hobby, and I hadn’t exactly made the decision to “take the plunge” as we say around these parts. One of my good friends had invited me as a way to meet some other people in business and so there I was.
I stood up, voice all shaky, as I tried to articulate to a roomful of strangers what exactly I was doing there. Scary! I think I probably rambled something about Christmas cards (what?) and then maybe blog design. Like I said…I was very lost. I sat down, counted my lucky stars I didn’t pass out from my first attempt at explaining my non-business and began to really envision what it would look like for me to do this.
The meeting ended and a couple people came up to me to chat. One man in particular was interested in having me tweak their plumbing and heating business logo and help them edit website content. He asked me what my hourly rate was…and you guys…oh my. He had me there. I don’t even know what came out of my mouth but it was low enough for him to look at me sideways and question whether or not I was actually just making the whole graphic design thing up. CLEARLY I had not thought about this prior. He also asked for my business card (which didn’t exist) and a link to my portfolio (which, also, didn’t exist). So you know what I did that weekend? Built a website and created some logos for businesses that didn’t exist. I also made up some real rickety business cards.
I want to be super transparent with you because I think it’s important for people to see the messy beginning. Nothing I started in the beginning was shiny or put together or well thought out. It was a pile of learning experiences that I wouldn’t take back if I could.
So what I’m telling you to do is make up some business cards. And conjure up something for people to look at when they are interested in hiring you. Maybe a blog, maybe a website, maybe an Etsy shop…something. Don’t come empty handed to that business meeting and if anything…if ANYTHING…just believe wholeheartedly what comes out of your mouth that day and OWN IT. It’s okay to make mistakes. Make them boldly. And next time, don't come empty-handed.