If color has a hometown, it must be Oaxaca City, Mexico.
The streets, stores and people are brimming with colorful handmade items. Food here is a picturesque patchwork of dishes that satisfy before you even eat. The flowering trees lining the stony streets mock the stern reserve of the Spanish architecture. It is a beautiful, energizing place to reflect on the changes happening for the women here as well as some conversations I’ve had recently with American women. It has me thinking about the colors of our dreams.
The conversations I've had recently were with women in midlife around changes they would like to see in the next 6 months. Nearly all of them referred to some sort of change in their work.
It’s not always comfortable but it’s totally normal - it makes sense that after a couple decades of working we would step back and say, huh. What am I doing and why?
I’ve thought about that as I’m learning more about the changes that are occurring as Oaxacan society continues to respond to an increased demand for weavings and other crafts that started in the 1970s. Oaxacan women and men have participated in efforts to retain majority control in the development of their economy. Women are now better educated and leading in ways they did not before; managing businesses, showing up at meetings that were previously male only, making collective decisions that may have previously been handed down by one or two male leaders.
(That gives a very broad brushstroke to a complex subject that I can’t cover in depth here. I’ve noted a reference that I’ve been reading at the bottom of the blog post. )
We can see an analog in the U.S. with female entrepreneurs, especially women of color. An American Express Open study from 2016 reports that women-owned firms are increasing at five times the national average rate, and nearly 8 in 10 new women-owned firms are being launched by women of color.
Like the women in Oaxaca, many female entrepreneurs of color in the U.S. are organizing around a common cause - to share learning and resources, to have a say in how changes affect them and their families, and to keep each other accountable to their bigger goals.
Contrast this with another approach that many women fall back on. They have worked like crazy for years, many have gotten to a place of accomplishment, but are feeling like something is missing.
What got them there isn’t interesting to them anymore. One woman said “I tend to be extremely resilient, no matter what comes up, I focus, follow through, and then get back to where I want to be. Until now. I just can’t seem to find that motivation right now. Its really surprised me.”
The challenge I am observing ( and have lived myself) is one reason we get stuck is that we are bringing the same set of tools that worked before for us (or our mothers) to try to progress, or bump along, or even procrastinate to stay in our comfort zone.
Does this sound familiar - “I need to think about it, do some reading, research, plan a little more, see where I’m at in…” - in when?
I’m not saying that research and planning are unnecessary. I am saying that by this point in our lives we know a hell of a lot more than we give ourselves credit for, and for sure more than our culture gives us credit for. Why don’t we give ourselves credit for our hard-earned moxie?
We live in a society that is so obsessed with youth that American women, with all our education and first world trappings, are less validated for our wisdom than middle-aged indigenous women in Oaxaca!
The messaging of our popular culture is this: the older you get, the more irrelevant you become.
Try this: take a moment and disconnect how that feels emotionally - step back and look at that as a fact and not have a feeling about it. Now, who or what is served in our society by this messaging?
It serves commercial interests, primarily.
I’m calling it out because we cannot expect the message to change for us.
We can choose to see it for what it is and to take action in spite of it. We can choose to work compassionately with our fears around money, aging, our changing body. (More on that in future posts, I only bring it up here because nothing in midlife happens in a vacuum. If we are disconnected with and resentful of our amazing bodies, it affects everything else. )
What is happening, especially for this generation of women in midlife, is that we are being called to leap.
In general women in midlife way overdo the planning and thinking. Studies and our experience tell us that women are actually fairly confident in our zone of expertise. We are much less confident than men when we are out of known territory. One study showed that women were much less likely to apply for a job if they couldn't check off every requirement. Men applied even if not completely qualified. Men tend to do, women tend to wait
Yes, there are external obstacles to our progress, but we also hold ourselves back.
f you’ve been feeling unsettled or discontented for awhile now, you don’t need to think, research, plan or see how it feels 2 weeks from now.
You need to take some action, something sharp enough to get your attention, something that pokes a hole in your routine or comfort zone.
Macro view: As I’ve pointed out before, while this generation of midlife women was growing up, the world began trending at an exponential rate on almost every major indicator. For those of us in midlife, it may not seem like it matters personally, but changes in society and the planet are moving faster than ever and it IS the energetic backdrop of our lives.
Micro view: Many of the women I talk to are accustomed to figuring out their lives by themselves, really. Some have had extensive leadership development paid for by their employers, and that's fabulous, but we all know that we show up differently to things when we have sought it out and paid for it ourselves.
In my own journey, I woke up one day at 52 years old, newly single, with lots of question marks around my “job”. I had always put my spouse’s career first; he made more money, and we unquestioningly prioritized money as the priority goal in designing our lives as a couple with young children.
After my divorce, I had some savings to work with. I looked at it and thought, I could shrink my life, get 2 jobs and several roommates (I was living in Northern California at the time), and spoon feed my retirement account in little bits for the next 15 years. I could spend my 50s - the last decade or so of relative youth and energy - working for someone else. I could put my faith in the questionable ethics of Wall Street and cross my fingers that the market wouldn’t crash again in the meantime.
For what? Let’s face it, at 52, if you don’t make much money, the amount you can put into savings is not going to move the needle much in terms of return. I’m not a financial planner and actually would love to find a brave one help me create a chart of diminishing lifestyle returns.
What is the flexion point in your 50s where saving doesn’t make much difference to your retirement budget unless you can sock away a good chunk from one salary or double income?
For me, the outcome of being “sensible and safe” would have (maybe) been a few more dollars every month from Social Security at 65, at which point I would shrink my life even more, and probably still work at least one job on the side for low pay so as not to endanger my monthly check. That seemed like a life drained of color.
Leaving my former husband was the hardest thing I have ever done. I didn’t tear a piece out of my family’s heart to settle for shrinking my life.
I decided to sell what I owned, get scrappy about side work and cutting expenses, take some risks, see the world, meet a bunch of new people to enrich my network and influence - so I can begin to contribute to them and others as well.
I’ve had anxiety attacks looking at my numbers sometimes, but I’m the Boss of Me, right? I have a plan and I’m working it. My progress is imperfect and fabulous. Money doesn’t get to rule my life anymore, it’s a part of the puzzle but it's not the only goal. And right now I’m working to make ends meet, just like most of you and the women I have talked to.
This is my experiment now. Unlike most “how I did it” stories on the internet, I can’t tell you that this approach has made me wealthy in monetary terms. (Yet!)
I can tell you that I’m living my dream. One of my motivations is I'm creating a scrapbook for my 80 year old self (Try it!)
I show up to life in full color. I’m traveling the world, living where I want to, and making significant trade-offs (such as drastic downsizing) to make it sustainable because I don’t have a trust fund or alimony to rely on.
I’m not saying that my dream is yours or that it should be. Its different for everyone.
What I am saying is I know you have a dream, and I know you are capable of so much more than you probably give yourself credit for. It is the risk is what makes your dream pop! It fills your dream with colors. If it wasn’t risky, it wouldn’t be a dream because you would be doing it.
How do we do this?
If I had stayed where I was, trying to figure it out on my own, as I had always done, I would have stayed stuck.
Its almost impossible to blaze a new trail in your heart, soul and life alone. The difference is I am connected to and accountable to other women now. I have a mentor and a coach. When those arrangements end, I’ll look for creative ways to replace that accountability.
The reason I’m so passionate about connecting us to one another is that it’s the only way to make our own rate of change and progress match the rate of change in the world around us.
And that is the way our contribution stays relevant and we increase our influence, something the world desperately needs right now.
I invested in some personal development programs and coaching in the last couple of years. What I see is that there are basically 2 camps.
The women who break through and really leverage what they have learned the first half of their careers are the ones who invest in themselves - yes, spend money on a program or coach - so that they are accountable to other women for some significant stretch goals. This is because knowing we have to show up pushes us to move a little faster and take a little more risk.
The point is, I used to sit on my couch, alone, and try to recreate my life in a silo. Guess what happened? I was chronically discontented with my progress. I had friends and clients, of course - but that is different from the accountability of other women when you have put some skin in the game. That is what gets us taking action and risk, learning faster, and increasing our impact.
And here is the proof: The women who are changing society and their lives in a big way are organized and accountable to one another. Just ask the strong women of Oaxaca and thousands of female women of color entrepreneurs in the U.S.
Ahh money. Moola. Dinero. Cash.
Money issues are like a vine that spreads into every area of your life. It can be a blooming vine that helps tie things together, or an overwhelming dark growth that chokes out the light - or something in between, a work in progress.
We can prune back the most aggressive tendrils. We can be the boss or our pesos, but we may have to fight for it, like a warrior queen. More about that in a minute.
Here is some context for the money landscape we face in midlife:
Middle class squeeze:
Healthcare costs - I know you know. Raise your hand if you are putting off important check ups, dental preventive care, and have unanswered questions about your changing body. If you aren’t 65 yet, you are paying a ridiculous amount of money for health insurance and out of pocket costs.
I lost my US based health insurance a couple of years ago when I decided to travel for 18 months. I switched my permanent residence and the great state of Texas declined to offer me insurance based on my new single person income at that time. That’s fine with me because I don’t want to pay an insurance premium in a state I don’t spend much time in anyway.
I had surgery last year in Mexico City, with excellent care and outcome, that cost probably 25% of what it would have in the US. Health care costs are one major reason more people - including single women - are considering living and retiring outside of the US. More on that in a bit.
Higher education: the cost of a college education had increased exponentially in the last 20 years, far outpacing inflation. For those of us wanting to go back to school, or trying to save for kids college fund, this is a challenge.
Cost of housing - this is good news and bad news, depending upon where you live, if you own a house, and how much equity you have. On the emotional side, that house might be taking a big chunk out of your emotional energy if it is filled to the rafters with years worth of stuff that you “can’t get rid of” but that does nothing for you. More about that in a bit, too.
Divorce: The divorce rate for women over 50 is over 50% and climbing. More women now are initiating the split, as compared to 20 years ago. In spite of the chance to start a new life, there is no question that except for the very wealthy, divorce is hard on the finances for both men and women.
For a variety of reasons, the “typical” retirement .is becoming more and more rare - a dual income pension that comfortably covers the high standard of living most Americans are used to. The ripple effect of the 2008 crash still shows up in many people’s finances.
Pensions are being cut and layoffs happen. I know of a woman who made major life tradeoffs to stay with a good job into her 50’s, counting on retirement in her early 60’s - when she would finally do what she wanted to do. The corporation she worked for was acquired and the new owners systematically started laying off people in their 50s and replacing the with younger people. She lost her job.
We are starting to see the reality of this play out as more couples and single men and women are retiring overseas. The place to start is to take a couple of vacations to areas you are interested in, get to know the expats and the locals in that area.
I could go on about this at length, in face, I’m thinking of creating a “blueprint plan” for women considering retiring overseas - step by step process of discovery and implementation - let me know what you think.
Ostrich or warrior queen - our own accountability to the numbers. I just had a fascinating call with Donna Colfer, AFC, CMC, a Money Coach and owner of Building Wealth from Within, and also a very generous, intuitive person. She uses a quiz that tells what typical behavioral “archetypes” we use to respond to money in our lives.
(Archetypes are symbolic figures that represent personality types recognized as common to all humans, this work was pioneered by psychologist Carl Jung, a student of Freud).
I have to say Donna diagnosed my relationship with money more clearly in 60 minutes than any therapist I ever saw in the past could in several weeks.
One of my archetypes is the Warrior. (I know that sounds so cool, right? Before you think I'm bragging, I'll tell you another is the Fool. ha!)
I say Warrior Queen because it helps me see the Warrior in female form and, not to get all woo woo on you, but the Queen showed up in my meditations as a new Guide about a year ago. In my experience, she's not a warm and fuzzy Guide, and if I don't keep up my end of the bargain she is outta here. So when Donna started talking about the Warrior I thought, huh. I'll ask the Queen about her.
Ostrich is not one of the archetypes, although I certainly hide my head in the sand sometimes!
What energy do we bring to our money relationship? Do we have a healthy relationship to a budget? Do we know where the money goes? Do we understand the basics of our retirement fund, if we have one? Do we have goals for saving?
I will be honest with you - 3 years ago the answer to all of those questions for me was, no. I was not just in Ostrich mode, I was totally underground about it, more like a mole.
I spent some time catching up on that situation after my divorce. It’s definitely a work in progress to this day because I don’t want money to always be the primary deciding factor in what I do next. I also factor in the value of new experiences, what I am going to learn, who I am going to meet, into the equation, too.
No surprise, this sometimes leads to risk and spending more money than feels comfortable in the moment.
Unless we are wealthy, we have to make tradeoffs. I don’t have the funds to maintain a house in the US, travel like I want to and start a business. My tradeoff has been to live very simply in less expensive countries with few possessions.
Did I have to get rid of sentimental things? Yes, of course. But things sitting on shelves and in boxes do not pay my Visa bill, help me with my business plan, or teach me anything new, to be honest.
That isn’t everyone’s dream - to downsize in order to have more flexibility and a seed fund for a new start. I don't bring it up to say you should do it.
It may become your reality, though, if you reach retirement age after a divorce or a financial downturn in the market, with half the pension you were counting on, a houseful of stuff, maybe some debt, and a lot of questions. Then you are facing a wall of emotional challenges at the exact moment your confidence is shaken and your emotions are in tatters.
Money and Relationships
Money may or may not be the root of all evil, but it certainly can be the root of lots of tension in a relationship. If these conversations are hard to have with your partner, perhaps your next ''investment" can be with an objective money counselor or coach.
Looking money in the eye with your partner may unearth some challenging relationship issues. How we respond is different for everyone but here is one thing I know - those issues do not go away. They get worse as the reality for both you sinks in that you will not live forever, there are things you each have dreamed of doing, and have not done yet.
When my youngest child was in high school, my husband at that time and I started talking about what our life would look like after she graduated. It became painfully clear that we were not at all on the same page.
I had plans I had put on hold for my kids, I know he did, too.
My dream for us mostly involved radical downsizing, some intentional travel (as opposed to leisure travel) to refresh our minds and relationship with new perspectives, and craft a vision for what our next phase would be, perhaps starting an interesting new business together.
Which is basically exactly what I have done as a single woman.
As I started sharing some of those ideas I realized I should have been talking with him about this much earlier and more often.
I didn’t because they were hard conversations to have, raising a lot of fear and questions I didn’t know the answers to yet. And one reason was because I was not in touch with our money and I was not showing up to my own ideas and capacity to generate more revenue.
I didn’t know then what I know now - the answers to almost any goal come in having a plan, networking with others who know something you don’t, and taking some baby steps. The answers don’t come in tense conversations on a couch about what may or may not be an outcome in 10 years.
When I downsized I took hundreds of pictures of sentimental “things” - souvenirs, children’s artwork, wedding gifts we never used, decorative objects, love letters and cards - and then I let it all go. Now those photos are stored safely in my Google photos account, where I can actually find them, see them, enjoy what they represent without having to pay to store them someplace while they deteriorate.
Money and downsizing with less trauma are closely related - if you can sell those treasures and turn them into a seed fund for a dream you are excited about, it may be much easier to let go of them.
My hope for you is you make a money date with yourself - a weekend where you get all the information out in one place, get clear on your accounts, set up a simple budget, and start your list of questions. Then you can put a weekly money meeting on your calendar - a time to keep caught up and get your questions answered.
I did this early last year and then, well, quit coming to my own money meetings. My talk with Donna made me admit I have been putting off a refresher date with myself and my money.
Time to let the Warrior Queen help me dive into the numbers.
This is what I’m doing this weekend. I’ll be thinking of you. Anyone with tips around this tricky topic, I would love to hear them so please comment below.
PS I'm offering Dream Speed Date sessions through January 19, free one on one calls to help you get clear on a 6 month goal and 3 immediate steps you can take to get started. More info here
Got time for one more?
# 7 in the series was " I'm Behind Again".
# 9 in the series is "How Do I Get Out of My Own Way?"
Selected Sources, I have tons of research so if you are curious just email me:
In-state tuition and fees at public National Universities increased 237 percent since 1997. There are too many reasons to go into here, but I very much hope the day is coming when more parents consider helping their kids start a business around their passion for $40,000 instead of helping them take on that much and more every YEAR in student loan debt. They can always go back to college if they want to later. The institutions certainly aren’t going anywhere, as they have a sweet deal that is heavily subsidized by tax dollars in the form of federal student loans, which have also increased at the same upward curve in the last 20 years.
"If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward." Happy Birthday Dr. King.
Thank you for your sacrifice, for taking the actions that so many others could not, and continuing to inspire millions to achieve what they did not believe they could accomplish.
This picture is from a park here in Mexico City, Dr. King faces Abraham Lincoln across the way. Two of my favorite #Americans. We were walking on election day last year, and ended up in this park even though we had not planned it and it was the first time I had seen these statues. Coincidence? Yes. Chance? I doubt it.
Seeing these 2 men, honored in this way here in Mexico, helped my frame of mind very much.
I wish all Americans could see ourselves the way the world wants to see us. The world wants us to be who we have said we are, open, generous, diverse free people living up the standard that Dr. King and President Lincoln insisted that we strive for.
I don't know what the fall-out of the current administration is going to be, but the one thing that ugliness and fear cannot kill is the essence of the American spirit. However, its not "ours". We are way too egocentric, we did not invent what we embody, its a common deep desire of all people.
I don't care who you are, what color you are, your gender, your age, your challenges - if you are a sane American citizen, there are at least 1 billion people on the planet that would trade places with you in a heartbeat, even on your worst day. Maybe 2 billion. Let that sink in. And then go get busy manifesting your brilliance.
We show people everywhere what is possible. Its an incredible honor and responsibility. The "American Experiment" is being played out still, and no one knows what the final outcome will be. It doesn't matter, the ideal has been unleashed. Once tasted, people do not forget it. Its our gift to the world, and it will outlive "us".
I hope you have had a great week. I’ve been settling in again after the holidays. I wanted to share a quick story with you. Well, and a secret, too.
I’m wondering if you do this too:
I have some dream goals I write in the margins of my sensible plans, because I’m not sure how they will manifest...
Which really means - I’m not sure I should even ask for it -
Which really means - my fear dragons are hissing and telling me I don’t deserve it.
One of my dream goals is “global entrepreneur”. I wrote it, sort of off to the side, during a goal-casting session 3 years ago on a mountaintop in Montana, house sitting with 2 sweet yellow labs, fresh from ending a 26 year marriage, no permanent address for the first time in my life, trying to come up with a plan for what was next.
I had no idea at that time that I would now be living in Mexico City - with a bona fide apt lease, a 4 year residency card and a guapo Mexican.
I had no idea that I would be accepted into a fabulous program for women entrepreneurs and meet a woman from South Africa.
And of course I had no idea back then that I would see with her last month when I was in London, where she is based. She has projects and contacts all over the world. We talked about possible collaborations in Mexico. She’s agreed to mentor me with one of my projects in the US for 6 months.
After she left I just sat there, thinking, “Did that just happen? Did I just have a business meeting in London?”
How about you?
When was the last time you had one of those “Am I here, now?” moments, when your reality perfectly lines up with your purpose?
I returned to Mexico City, pretty much the opposite of London - colorful, chaotic, messy capital of the New World.
I was met at the airport by my sweet man, who, since the first time we had coffee a few years ago, still looks at me like he can’t believe I’m real and refuses to let me carry my bags.
He drove me home to a spotless apartment with soup on the stove. I ended a very long day and trip with extreme gratitude for a comfy bed and his warm presence, too.
None of this has transpired according to a rigid “plan”. I don't know why, but the key IS in the planning, even though the plan changes often. Eisenhower said, "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
That is because we don’t have a crystal ball or control over the world, but we do have control over our actions.
Oprah is a fabulous inspiration - she is a master at striking a balance between long term vision and being fully present in what is happening right now.
So, now I do have a long term vision that informs my short term plans. I have been planning with intention since that day on the mountain top in Montana, and staying flexible when things go off track for a bit.
There are 2 ways to stick to your plan to reach your goals:
I’m offering free Mirror Your Brilliance sessions through January 19. I've had some questions about what that means.
What will we do in your session?
Everything starts with your “why”. That is why I’ve included my favorite chart of values. If its been awhile since you did a values check in, take a look and pick your top 3.
I am embarrassed to have found myself in the middle of one of the most challenging hikes I have ever attempted, dressed like a noob.
I’m scrambling up the bald face of a steep red mountain, hoping I don’t fall as there is nothing below me except a pair of unsuspecting hipster hikers. Well, maybe they are not so unsuspecting; I know they would love to pass me.
Below them are only sharp rocks and a steep incline where falling objects (or persons) pick up speed before tumbling to a stop.
The light pack on my back is fine, but I’ve got a yuppie eco-friendly bag, toting a six pack and two small boxes of wine, that awkwardly dangles off of one shoulder when I stoop to climb up a steep spot.
I’m in jeans, the sure sign of a trail newbie, and my running shoes are more suited to a track workout than this steep crazy mountain goat climb.
Isn’t that such a girl thing to be thinking about my outfit as I’m looking for toeholds on bald rock at 4900 feet?
Even so, the adrenaline of doing something ill-advised and freakin’ awesome has kicked in. I’m feeling pretty good, in spite of having no clue a few minutes earlier we would be doing this.
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!