I don’t really like the term girlboss.. Is it a tad belittling? Regardless, I’ve listened to Sophia Amoruso’s ‘Girlboss’ podcast quite a bit. One of the questions she asks is for womens’ ‘girlboss’ moments, moments where they either felt really in control of their lives / careers or something great happened and they were proud of themselves.
I’d say today was probably the opposite of a girlboss moment. I basically tried to do everything ‘girlbossy’ that I think I should be doing and ended up feeling run down and exhausted, but weirdly also pleased with myself for doing it all just for me. It’s been the type of day where if I was working for anyone else I’d be majorly pissed off and have a big ole rant to my friends. But as I’m working for myself, I have to just sit back and be like wow that was intense.
Let’s start with last night where I offered to take on a freelance shift to cover a colleague (I freelance remotely for a men’s styling website helping with their customer service). Lots of “where is my order?” And, “do you think these shorts look cool for a festival?” Answers: “I don’t know” and “I don’t care” respectively (reworded into delightful prose of course).
So I came back from a days work at my other part-time job (at a fine jewellery business) and realised I had no charger for my laptop. Long story short I’d left it at my parents house the weekend before and had been borrowing my housemate’s all week. Once I got home I realised that she had gone on holiday with her own laptop and charger (how dare she?!) leaving me sans. So, as shops were closing I scurried around the High Street seeing if I could buy one anywhere. Turns out they cost £78!!!!!! WHAT?! So needless to say I didn’t buy one. I knocked on my neighbours door (I live in an apartment in London, so have not met my neighbours - shock horror). They turn out to be really nice and have a charger which I can borrow until morning. Mini fist pump!
I then do my shift 8-11pm and go to bed, thrilling stuff. This morning I have another shift 8-10am, but try and start half an hour earlier so I can leave early in time for a GLITZBOX meeting (I’m so important). Luckily my boyfriend (God bless) is starting work late today, so makes me some scrambled egg and tea. I can’t express how happy that makes me as I just wouldn’t have had time to eat otherwise (my own fault as I just HATE waking up, so always leave it to the very last possible minute).
I then skip the shower (sue me) and am still half an hour late to my meeting. How does that happen?! I meet with one of the lovely designers who features in GLITZBOX. On the way there I internally debate whether it’s actually worthwhile meeting up as I don’t really have a concrete update, and surely we can just email and it would be quicker? But after two delicious hot chocolates and an hour of chatting I’m reminded there is just NO replacement for in-person relationships. As great as the internet is, it’s sosososo valuable meeting and connecting with someone in person. Sharing tips and ideas feels like gold dust in the world of being a solo-preneur and I had such a great time. Especially as she was generous with advice and ideas seeing as she’s been in the jewellery biz a while longer than me. People in general, I find, are so helpful as long as you help in return and don’t go OTT on the questions (I have to give myself an internal pep talk every time I meet someone helpful and be like “Tamsin DON’T be too full on. They will only help you if you don’t seem DESPERATE for help, BE COOL.” Kind of like how you might want to act after a great first date...)
Next I scuttle off across London to a ‘Business Exhibition’ which is free, so = I have to go. I have been trying to sign up to as many relevant events as possible. At each event my rule is to speak to at least ONE person to make it worthwhile. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it can be SO intimidating going to these things alone and feeling young or inexperienced. I’ve spent the first half an hour of sooo many events just doing laps and trying to avoid eye contact before finally speaking to someone. It genuinely is always fine, but there’s like this weird barrier before making the first ‘approach’.
This event involved a lot of corporate looking stands and men in suits - boo. Words like ‘accountancy’, ‘corporate law’ and ‘recruitment strategy’ staring at me accusingly (I have yet to research these thrilling subjects). I searched around for some friendly faces and sat in on snippets of talks about how to get investment. How to sound passionate and confident whilst also being cool and collected. Yikes.
In the end I found a great stand from Virgin Media Business' ‘Voom Truck’ which offered 15 minute catch ups with industry experts and I spoke to a PR expert and a crowdfunding expert which was great. I was skeptical as I always feel like people want something (money usually) from me, before parting with any useful advice. But these guys were genuinely really nice. The PR lady especially was way less intimidating than I had expected and was so excited about my business that I felt confident and uplifted after our talk. I even approached some of the suited and booted stands afterwards and picked up a few flyers (#sobrave).
By then it’s 4:30pm and I hadn’t eaten a thing since my scrambled eggs at 9am (does a hot choc count?). So I look at the fast food options around the exhibition and my brain literally cannot make a choice. After a painfully long decisionmaking process I pick a katsu curry - turns out they are all out so I panic order some gyozas. There are only three, THREE tiny gyozas and I don’t have the energy to complain or order something else so I have that and a coke. Note to self: work on assertiveness. I then check the time and realise I’m an hour from home and an hour from my next networking event so don’t have time to go home first. Half think about not going to the next event, but I could miss an opportunity and get FOMO so that’s not an option. Instead I check my phone and see I have a missed call. It’s from a lady organising an event where I’ve applied to exhibit GLITZBOX. I REALLY want to do it and she has asked that I call her back. So to avoid making her wait and potentially lose the spot I call her. That may seem obvious, but I hate phone calls and I’m in a noisy cafe so feel flustered and unprepared before the call even starts.
I can tell right away it’s competitive and she is trying to figure out if I’m legit, or will even still be in business in a few months time.
Her: “Have you done an event with GLITZBOX before?”
me: “no” (clearly wrong answer)
“who is your target market?”
You get the gist. I know the answers and know I’d make it an amazing stand but I’m just shit ‘on the spot’. We end the call agreeing I’ll send her a mockup of what I have planned for the space (which doesn’t yet exist, but I’ve told her it’s great). Something to add to the to-do list tonight!
Then I’m nearly late for my next event so I rush to the tube (it’s raining - tiny violins are playing in my head at this stage). I get to the networking event which is also with Virgin Media Business and there is wine (yay!) Although on two eggs and three gyozas I take it easy. I chat to a few ladies in similar positions to me (it’s an all female event so more welcoming and less intimidating than the business one earlier). We hear from an inspiring entrepreneur, a few years into her business, who is doing really well and then we do some more chatting and business card swapping. Apart from being inspired by her determination and story, one interesting thing I found out was that although she hires people for her own business she STILL works a second job as a consultant to help bring money into the business! It just shows that the hard work and juggling never ends. But she seems to still love what she is doing so that’s good (gulp!).
Finally I jump on the train to go all the way to Surrey to grab that blasted charger (again I REFUSE to buy a new one) and also to pack a GLITZBOX I’ve had requested for press to trial (yay!) My ‘fulfilment centre’ is currently my parent’s house as it feels more secure and spacious than my cramped Camden apartment.
So on the list tomorrow is: pack the box and reply to the lady about the event with a slick mockup. Pinterest here I come… and I also have a 10am-6pm shift freelancing. At least my mummy will be around to cook for me so I will not starve :)))
So currently I am typing this on the train home (but will edit in the morning as I’m sure it’s all faff). That’s a ‘day in the life’ of me at the moment! Admittedly that was a VERY busy day. Sometimes I wake up and drag myself onto the couch and watch “13 Reasons Why” whilst editing photos on photoshop. On those days the next time I look up the day has gone and it’s time for dinner. Even then I don’t remember to eat much.. I’m starting to think someone should invent an entrepreneur foodtruck, where you pay a monthly fee and they come bang down your door delivering a precooked meal and sit there watching until you finish it. I could do with a service like that! But then I’d probably not be able to afford it without getting a 4th job…
I’m not really sure why I’m writing this post. But I just feel that for someone thinking about starting a business it may be an interesting insight, whilst for someone else already a solopreneur they may feel exactly the same as me. I don’t want to put anyone off either - I genuinely love what I’m doing and have always worked hard so it feels even more worthwhile when it’s for myself. If it resonated in any way do get in touch, even just to say hi! I’m always excited to fear from other “real life” people! And if I don’t reply right away, I’m probably busy eating ;)