So, you’ve got this opportunity…

So, you've got this opportunity...

Hi, friend.

I see you’ve got a fresh new entrepreneurial endeavor. Or perhaps you’re dusting off a neglected entrepreneurial dream. That’s awesome! I love entrepreneurs! I am all about the hustle, the struggle, the mayhem of freelance life, the uncertainty, the passion and the drive it takes to create a business for yourself. This career path is unstable yet enthralling. Unless you’ve just left the corporate world or a particularly lucrative industry, it oftentimes means dreams of digital nomadry coupled with the stark reality of working dayjobs, freelancing, and building your dream projects all at once. Sleep is hardly a thing. You’re usually forgetting something. You have multiple mobile and desk calendars, email accounts, websites you’re managing, social media accounts galore (because, hey, they’re work, too!), 12 unfinished Udemy classes, freelance projects with dangerously imminent due dates, the maximum number of tabs on your web browser looking up classesfinanceslinkedinsocialmediatoolsyoucatchmydrift. BUT THEY CAN’T STOP YOU BECAUSE YOU’VE GOT DREAMS OF BETTERING THE WORLD SO YOU FORGE ON ANYWAY. Pal, I get it. It’s hard, valuable work that probably hasn’t manifested tangible benefits yet. Dreams cost time, energy, and money. Borderline-stupid blind faith and bucket loads of grit are prerequisites for the job.

Exactly one year ago, I, like you, decided it was time to start mapping out a life pivot–something potentially more sustainable than actor life (and now we can all have a solid chuckle over the thought that startup life is the sustainable alternative). Friend, I love performing, but it is the hunger games and the odds aren’t ever in your favor–especially in 2016 for a 5’5” brunette freckled athletic white girl. And, frankly, I’m finding equal (and sometimes greater) passion in the excitement of this new field of creation and innovation. I inundated myself in tech/startup/entrepreneurial podcasts. I read the mandatory canon of you-can-do-it-kid self-starter motivational business books. I took a post-grad Entrepreneurship course. I got my long-sought-after Personal Training Certification. Realizing that I could marry my fitness/wellness/positive body image evangelism with my affinity for technology/design felt like booking the best theatrical gig ever. What doesn’t accompany certificates and courses and ideas is a built-in community, and part of my mission recently has been to find mine in this new field. Friend, I totally get that the DIY nature of this create-your-own-adventure self-built business can be lonely–particularly as the new kid in town.

Therefore, friend, I am so stoked when you tell me you want to talk about your new entrepreneurial venture! How flattering for you to share that you’ve been following my journey and you’ve been thinking of me lately! I truly cannot wait to get into the nitty gritty of where you are in the process, what you’ve altered already, if you have a co-founder, the cool meetups and hackathons you’ve been attending. When this expectation meets reality–like when my bosslady friend Juliana (who is creating the coolest healthy body image content and is also a superstar personal trainer at Equinox) and I got coffee to discuss health, fitness, entrepreneurship, body image, and a means of spreading well being–my girlboss optimism shoots into oblivion and I am full of joy. But when my expectation of dreamsharing and bootstrap empathy turns into you a) selling me a product b) saying I’m the perfect person to also sell the product c) saying even if I don’t want to sell it, I should totally use it…friend, I get you’re just trying to do business, but–can I be honest?–I get a little disappointed. I am not the girl for this.

Your product very well may be awesome. Truly.  There are a lot of stellar products out there and then there are some not-so-great-ones. But here’s what’s up: my friends who do what you’re starting to do effectively let the audience come to them. The first 4 months of the Better Body Challenge, I unleashed a social media you-know-what-storm before the launch of each month. My poor friends were assaulted by my entrepreneurial dreams. And yeah, I get it: Facebook is voluntary and no one is asking you to look at it. And it is important to establish yourself in your new industry publicly because community and networking are real and helpful things, but there’s an artform to public sharing. By all means, learn from my mistakes.

Here’s what goes down well (at least in millennial-land) on Facebook:

  1. Candid(ish), personal(ish) check-ins with what you’re up to
  2. Genuine questions to the Facebook hive-mind asking if anyone knows someone who has _____ skill or a class they could take in ______ city in a certain field
  3. Paid advertisement (because then your friends are more likely delighted to see you, their friend, in an ad that has been paid for as opposed to whatever other ads Facebook selected for them based on a rarely cleaned out browser feed. BONUS: your friends won’t feel assaulted by your personal facebook account spamming them for free with your fresh new business they probably don’t care about)
  4. Puppy pictures

Here’s what does not go down well on Facebook:

  1. Assaulting your friends with your business (don’t be me in the first 4 months of this, essentially). My friends who beautifully and successfully sell products online? They talk about the product occasionally, how much they love it, and do so in a personal, non-pushy way. They post pictures and engaging content that’s not blatantly pushing for a sell.
  2. Ignoring the ‘no.’ When pitched, and I politely share that I a) don’t have time for more projects and b) intentionally stay away from other people’s products largely to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, please don’t tell me to use your products anyway.
  3. Politics

Lastly, friend, the reason I created my own product/program was because a) it’s a way for me to train clients remotely b) because I believe in it wholeheartedly.  I built CKF from the ground up with the knowledge I’ve learned from my training, personal experience, and feedback from clients. It has already gone through countless iterations and updates in the 6 months it’s been up and running. CKF is my baby, my brainchild, my passion project, and I have full authority to enhance my programs as I learn more about the best training methods, to alter my nutritional guides as I study further about food, to continue to find the best tools to deliver the content and material to my Challengers. I’m a crummy salesman. I aspire to be a great entrepreneur. And one career is not innately better than the other, but one happens to be an accurate descriptor of what I aspire to, and the other isn’t.

That said, if you have a product you’ve built, a program you’ve spearheaded, or an idea that you think could work in tandem with CKF, I’d love to talk about the potential of collaborating.  There’s little I enjoy more than collaborating with likeminded, similarly motivated individuals who are eager to make stuff happen.

Friend, I genuinely wish you all the best on your journey. I hope you have a product you love that doesn’t feel like a business transaction when you share it with people. I hope it affords you the life you want, because you, too, are craving a life-pivot for a reason. Just know that while I value your journey, I’m probably not your ideal salesgirl. If you happen to find yourself creating your own stuff on the side or in lieu of this endeavor, I truly can’t wait to hear about your entrepreneurial journey and cheerlead you on your way.

Xoxo,

Katharine / Captain Kat