I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Capital L for Loser

Today I went to a one day conference all about being a "Mumpreneur." Sidenote: I hate how the (internet based) world has gone all wordy mash-up. Like everything is "something-tastic" or "something-preneur" or "something-ist." Very annoying.

Anyway. So for ages and ages I dithered about whether or not I would go to this conference, because although the speakers and topics seemed interesting, it was kinda expensive. Plus, you know, I'm just not all that good at hanging out with strangers. I'm really not. I'm awkward, and uncomfortable, and really pretty crappy at small talk (mostly because I find it as interesting as watching paint dry.) I spend most time in the company of strangers wanting to crawl into a big, Michelle-shaped hole and stay there stuffing my face with canap├ęs until it's all over. I'm trying to get better at this whole " work ON your business, not IN your business" thing, so I decided to chalk the cost up to a totally legit tax write off and go along. This was going to be me, putting on my big girl business owner panties, and getting on with it.

This may seem easy to some of you reading this, but let's examine the things which needed to happen in order for me to go to this conference:

1) I had to lose a day's wages at my 2nd job which normally happens on a Wednesday (so it was cost of conference fees + lost wages= big bucks for us right now)
2) I had to wake up earlier than usual (I don't do mornings.)
3) I probably would need to dress nice (I don't do "dress nice")
4) I probably would need to put on some lipstick (I certainly don't do lipstick)
5) I would need to actually spend and entire day in a small room with aforementioned strangers. (=extreme discomfort)

All of these individually make me very uncomfortable, but put them together and there I am rocking in the corner wailing, "Make it stop! Make it stop!". For those of you who know me in real life, you're probably reading this and thinking, "What the...? Michelle? Awkward and shy? Yeah, right." Let me assure you I spent the entire day either on my phone (and therefore looking way too busy to actually interact with anyone) or resisting the urge to go and hide in the toilets for the social bits of the day. Yes, I was a complete and utter failure at this whole small business phenomenon of networking. I downright SUCKED at it. So much so that at the end one of the presenters said, "How many of you have collected a bunch of business cards from today's event?" and EVERY single person in the room raised their hand except for me.

Yes. I managed to go to an event with a room full of people who fit my customer demographic to a T, and I did not give out (nor collect) ONE single business card. I'm pretty sure I left a pretty crappy impression on most of these people as well, but there you go. Actually one woman said to me, "Wow, you've been having a very busy phone day, haven't you?" to which I mumbled some excuse about deliveries and customers and family and you know, I'm just a busy person, okay?

Nice one, Michelle. Way to go on that whole "work ON" the business thing.

The good news here (the silver lining, if you will) is that the speakers had some very useful info for me. Not all of them were relevant to me but those that were had some good info and I picked up some good tips for future thought and action. (Namely that I should be twittering to achieve fame and fortune, but who has time for that?! The twittering, not the fame and fortune bit).

...and the second best part of the day was when I ran to the elevators the very SECOND the damn thing was over, and found another woman in there who had also been at the conference. She looked at me, and I said, "Glad I'm not the only one who felt the need to hot foot it out of there!" and she nodded, kinda slumped against the wall, and said, "Oh yes. I've just about had enough of fake smiling for one day." Huzzah!

Now there are two of us, maybe we should start a "I went to a conference and I was a total networking loser" club!

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