Inspiration or Heat Stroke?
One day, I was googling some of my business ideas in a bungalow in Todos Santos, Mexico, trying to figure how to organize my questions and approach.
I had just wrapped up about 18 months of solo travel in the US, Mexico and Latin America.
My mojo was back (see videos on this page for more about that!) after a painful divorce. I was super inspired and dying to dive in and create something really amazing.
But that day, things were not going well. It was incredibly hot.
The wifi in our bungalow was lame. There was no air conditioning and the nearest coffee shop with A/C and decent wifi was an hour away.
I was almost in tears (well, OK I was in tears) and I finally said to myself, "Enough. Let's take a break".
I did take a break, and I'll get back to what happened next in just a sec.
Right now I want to step back just a bit and connect the dots for how all this started. The DreamBiz Test Drive was born out of my own experience and frustration in finding a way to explore, organize and act on my dream business ideas.
Like many women, I spent my 30’s and 40’s juggling priorities of family and a dual career household. My career was always second priority to my spouse’s career and my family’s needs, and I was (mostly) fine with that at the time. I accepted the career risks of the tradeoff I was making and don't regret it even today, even though now my position is less financially secure.
You see, when my youngest daughter graduated from high school, I had separated from a 26 year marriage.
When the marriage ended, I chose not to pursue alimony.
So, practically speaking, I knew the money I had been making from my previous flex-time freelance video production work was not going to be sufficient for me to achieve my goals.
Plus, I had always had my own DreamBiz ideas lurking within me, I just wasn’t sure which one to choose.
I spent many years networking in the entrepreneurial ecosystems of Austin TX and Northern California. I read tons of books and talked to hundreds of people over the years about how successful startups and innovative big companies test THEIR ideas.
I advocated for women starting small businesses in other countries. I hosted a salon in Austin to talk about how business and social benefit intersect.
I thought about graduate school. Did I need an MBA to start a real business?
Basically, I read, and I talked, and I THOUGHT a lot about how to start but I did not do much about starting.
Why? Because I was afraid. Because I did not know where to start.
So, with my sweet girl on her way to college, I left the nest really empty.
I sold or donated everything that wouldn’t fit into my trusty Honda CRV and hit the road.
I worked online and traveled solo for 18 months throughout the US, Mexico and Latin America. My daughter and I trekked through icy mud fields in the Middle of Nowhere, Iceland, to find hidden thermal springs. We stripped down in the frigid air, hopped in and communed with our inner Valkyries!
I shredded my comfort zone, up-leveled my skillset and reclaimed some of my own chutzpah.
Oh, and my Spanish got a lot better too. (Like the time in Quito, Ecuador when I demanded that a rude cab driver stop and let me out. It was 10:30 p.m, and he had picked up male friend after I got in at the bus stop. My internal radar, the one I always listen to now, said, EXIT NOW. This cabrón let me out in the middle of a dark neighborhood; suddenly it was more than just a whim to practice my Spanish with the owner of the only store still open, to help me find my AirBnB! )
During my travels, I got clear on the impact I want to make, and Why.
But the How was still missing.
And now we return to that stifling afternoon in Todos Santos.
I went to the pool and was standing in deep water, looking out over the edge at the gleaming green tropical plants and preening lizards on a stone wall. THEY were happy with the heat.
But maybe it was the heat that caused me to start talking to myself, because suddenly a voice in my head cut through my confusion.
I paused for a minute.
I heard a lazy insect buzzing nearby, children playing across the street, dogs barking, because basically there is always a dog barking in Mexico.
Have you ever had a moment of clarity when your surroundings zoom into sharp focus and your brain offers up a new perspective?
In that moment I realized I was asking the wrong question. I realized that the first question around starting a business is not “How do I start this business”.
No. The first question is:
“Should I start this business, and why?”
That is the step that was missing from all the business advice I found.
Its like when you buy a car. You research different models and test drive cars before you buy, right?
And suddenly, all of my diverse work experience in video project management, producing visual projects and past learning around business testing, visual design and entrepreneurship finally made sense in context.
I knew that the most innovative startups and companies test their business ideas before they fully fund production. I thought, why can’t anyone use these ideas?
Well now they can.
What is the DreamBiz TestDrive for Savvy Women?
It is a 4 Step holistic and practical online course where you explore your motivation and your idea, and then organize and act on what you discover. You can do it in as little as 2 weeks; we recommend 4.
It is engaging and fabulous because, as a former video marketing professional, that's how I roll.
It includes 25 professional short video lessons, bonus videos, over 75 hand crafted presentation slides, downloadable exercises, charts and worksheets.
The themes we explore are:
The course is approachable and adapted for women who have just started a baby business, or even never started a business before.
The course experience is not something that I just made up on a whim. I've been working on it for almost a year. As I'm not a trained teacher, I've invested over $15,000 with the leading expert in online course design and launch coaching.
I reached out to mentors and experts, many of them that I met after I was accepted to the Circular Board, an innovative accelerator for women entrepreneurs that has been featured in Forbe, Huff Post, and Inc. magazine.
I combined ideas from the world of software and corporate product development. I also researched how women approach challenges differently from men, and included steps to optimize the process for us.
I followed my own advice and tested the DreamBiz Test Drive with a small group of business dreamers, and some incredible guest coaches, too! I have great testimonials from that to share with you later.
And after all that, I figured out a solid roadmap for test driving a dreamBiz idea.
And guess what.
It works. I am able to zero in on my good ideas and just as importantly, this process helped me cut several ideas and saved me thousands of dollars and hours plugging away at flawed concepts. Other women have clarified their ideas after years of indecision, based on their experience in the class.
I am over the moon excited to be launching the full course again in the next couple of weeks. If you would like to learn more, please go here. And I look forward to seeing you on the highways and byways of your Dreams someday!