We are constantly inspired and re-energized by our members. Heba Saleh, Founder of EatLuv, has been with Femworking from the very beginning and has grown her business right along with us. It is amazing knowing that some of our members have shared in our transformative journey. Heba leads the Femworking Fairfax group and truly embraces the collaborative spirit of Femworking. Here is her guest post – “Femdorsements and 4 Other Reasons I Joined Femworking.”
I have never been one to toot my own horn. In fact, I think it’s quite uncomfortable to do. In business, sometimes you have to toot your own horn very loudly, and see how many people look up and smile, how many extend a handshake, and how many turn away in disinterest … Ever since I decided I want to work for myself last year, I found that I need to speak up about myself and my business because, let’s face it, when you’re starting up a business by yourself, you have no one else to vouch for you besides, well, yourself. And your family (thank God for family). But soon you (will) learn that you need other people to vouch for you, so that your business can survive and thrive. True story.
Last year, even while enrolled in the Founder Institute program, I felt quite lonely as an entrepreneur. Though I was learning a lot about all aspects of starting up a business (curious peeps can check out my review of FI on Quora), and I was meeting lots of people through the program and at myriad networking events, I really still felt like I was spending a lot of time networking and collecting business cards without much long-term reward. As a startup entrepreneur, I have a lot on my plate – all the time. From supply chain management to customer relations, financial projections, order fulfillment, farm visits (more on that in a bit), recipe testing, marketing, and blogging – I can keep going you know – I am doing it all. And it’s exhausting (it was exhausting just to write out that sentence!). The last thing I want to do after all this is toot my own horn.
Enter Femworking. On a frigid February day a year ago, I woke up around dawn to attend a networking meeting. An Earl Grey down and a thirty-five minute car ride later, I was starting to wake up a little. Oh, and it was a Saturday by the way. (Yeah, entrepreneurs are a little crazy.) From the minute I stepped into the coffee shop in Alexandria, VA for the first Femworking meeting until today, I have yet to come across a better networking group. Let me tell you why: it’s all about the Femdorsements. Hear me out on this one. You know how LinkedIn now gives you the ability to “endorse” your connections on their platform for different skills that they have acquired through their jobs or schooling? Well, in a more effective way, Femworking provides the platform for you to endorse your fellow Femworkers, and vice versa … in person and online. Yeah, take that, LinkedIn!
I started attending Femworking regularly in the winter of 2013 and going into the spring. I was just at the early genesis of my startup journey and needed all the encouragement I could get. Femworking meetings gave me that and more – ideas of avenues to take, introductions to individuals I could partner with, social media and marketing tips I could implement right away, and even some of my first customers. I planned the first pilot for EatLuv, my farm-to-table recipe kit startup, with a ton of encouragement from my Femworking gals, and a few of them even participated in the pilot and gave me honest feedback that has been integral to shaping the EatLuv service from day one. Yeah, I wasn’t kidding about those Femdorsements!
What’s more is that being part of the network gives you the chance to really get to know the other Femworking members in your circle. You meet business coaches, marketing gurus, designers, photographers, health experts, stay-at-home moms, food bloggers, lawyers, fashionistas – entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners from all walks of life. Getting to know these wonderful people is incredibly helpful in many ways, but for the sake of space I’ll list just 5 below:
- You meet awesome, down-to-earth, motivated people who love what they are doing, and they inspire you to do the same.
- Femdorsements! You don’t have to spend so much time marketing yourself when you have many Femworkers spreading the word about your startup. The love that goes around comes around too – so if you share a Femworking member’s business with your Facebook friends, surely the day will come when they’ll do the same for you.
- When you’re stuck on annoying business issues, you don’t have to resort to scouring Internet forums right away because chances are, a fellow Femworker has dealt with this or a similar issue and can point you in the right direction.
- When you need a photographer or a business coach or a travel expert, there’s a big chance someone in the network heads that kind of business and can give you a good deal. Even better, you can find a way to cross-promote.
- Twenty heads are better than one: got an idea for your business but not sure if it’ll take off or just get weird glances? No better audience to ask then your fellow Femworkers who will give an honest opinion coming from both a customer’s perspective as well as a business owner’s perspective.
There, 5 solid reasons I’ve been a part of Femworking and can’t wait to grow my business within the network. I could have kept going, but these are a good start to get you to consider joining Femworking. Want to see what it’s all about before joining? Attend your first meeting for free. In February 2014, I started leading the Femworking meeting in Fairfax, VA. Feel free to RSVP to our next meetup. I’d love to meet you, and I’m positive you will find value in your experience, as has been the case for me.