Live Long and Prosper—Lessons Learned in 2015, part 2

S. Miles 1.17.16Last week I shared the business lessons I learned from 2015. This week I’m sharing the unexpected rewards that resulted from being open to new ideas. Even though they’re scary when we’re in the midst of them, the overall results are positive for our business. How many of these have you experienced in 2015?

Public speaking: the more we present, the easier it becomes. After being coaxed by Marc Bowers, the ProductCamp organizer, I accepted the challenge to present at their ‘unconference’. As one of 40+ eager presenters, my co-presenter Joyce Mellow and I received enough votes for Taglines, Touchpoints and Logos to be one of fifteen presenters for the event. The result: over 25 new connections and two new clients.

Asking for the opportunity: most opportunities are available for the asking. With a little research and reaching out, I landed 5 speaking gigs and was invited to 3 others, 2 were last minute. The magic: say yes every time!

New social media: social media has a way of making us feel left behind, including the learning curve to implement and maintain. When Periscope came along, I jumped in quick. With help from my business coach and the Perigirls Facebook page, I picked it up fast. It’s new, it’s fairly easy, and it’s a good way for introverted entrepreneurs to communicate with their audience. This will be a big part of my 2016 business plan.

Niche-focused: narrowing a niche makes a BIG difference! Many freelancers start out as generalists, with those first few years exploring one’s strengths and weaknesses. I found this time to be helpful as my business developed its own voice. The result: Grandparents in Business emerged with a focus on business owners and entrepreneurs over 50. From there, things REALLY began to happen. Instead of attracting twenty-something single moms and computer geeks in Dubai, I was attracting solid leads and connections.

Podcasts and radio shows—in the 3 quarter of last year, I was invited to participate in 4 podcasts and 2 radio shows. These opportunities came from networking, speaking, blogging and building awareness of my ‘new’ brand. The shows were an unexpected bonus which expanded my reach and increased my connections. The plan: follow up with podcasters; implement these opportunities to promote the podcasters and their events.

Punching through the comfort zone: this was a biggie that warranted its own blog. I had attended an IdeaBounce competition for business owners over 50. The organizers were looking for extras and I volunteered. Being unprepared did not hinder my results, probably because I didn’t have time to panic. The result: I was one of 4 winners out of 14 presenters. I won breakfast with the judges, $100, and several great new connections.

All of these events came from doing or pursuing a new opportunity. What opportunities have you taken in the past year? Or do you struggle to find them? Share your stories below. If you need to flesh out opportunities for you and your business, send me a note! We’ll discover them together.

p.s. don’t forget to celebrate your successes!

Kristen Edens
A grandparent in business

(photo courtesy of Stuart Miles of

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