Learning From Fangirls (and boys)

We’ve been reading rather than writing, lately, and two books made such an impact we had to share the insights we’ve gained with a wider community — we’ll talk more about The Confidence Code in our next blog as our most recent discussion happened when one of us posed the question: Can you be a business owner, grandmother and a Fangirl who squees? Why is this relevant to SDMWVBEs (Small, Disadvantaged, Minority, Women or Veteran Business Enterprises)?

As Fangirls, we really wanted to attend this year’s WBENC National Conference next week in Austin, but sadly there are family reasons that keep us Pennsylvania-bound. That said, we would have definitely incorporated thoughts from Sam Maggs’ The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: a handbook for GIRL GEEKS” Chapter three … Geronimo! How To Survive Conventions … Emergency Booster Pack immediately springs to mind: comfortable shoes (“for when your poor feet have inevitably had enough”); ibuprofen and gel insoles (“for the same reasons as above”). Conferences and conventions are absolutely the greatest place for SDMWVBEs to network with each other and corporate sponsors. The Guide says “Do be all over social media: If something amazing happens at the con, share it on your accounts for the world to see. People who can’t be there (your fangirl buds, your Internet friends, me) have to live vicariously through someone, so it might as well be you!” We tweeted and Instagram’ed at the 2014 Philadelphia WBENC conference. Oh, and on the common courtesy front, “Don’t cut in line: People will get so mad. You are not prepared for that level of anger.”

Ms. Maggs interviewed a number of people for her book, and several gave some excellent advice for all of us, especially Beth Revis – NY Times best-selling author of the Shades of Earth trilogy – says: “Don’t ask for permission to be who you want to be.” How many times have we SDMWVBEs heard phrases like “You can’t do that”, “It will never work” or, my all time favorite, “You’re crazy if you think you can run a business”? Umm, like a million, but 30 years later here we are. That’s a good segue into an interesting new statistic. Twice as many successful entrepreneurs are over 50 as under 25; and twice as many, over 60 as under 20. So it would seem that many of today’s new SDMWVBEs are actually old enough to be grandparents. Of course, there are definitely those naysayers who believe it is “less rational to take … risks when you’re older.” So now it sounds sort of like “umm, you’re like crazy to start a new business at your age!” Encore, Ms. Revis? Or, as valued colleague Amy Criss is wont to say “you don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great.” And, now we’re hearing the Beatles sing “… will you still need me when I’m 64”? Yes, boys, girls and humans around the world, you can be a business owner, fan, grandparent, entrepreneur and still squee(l) in joy.