“My friends are my estate.”
One of the truly rewarding things about writing is the wonderful people you meet who share their ideas and gifts with you. In writing my book Birthing the Elephant (www.birthingtheelephant.com), I had the chance to meet many amazingly creative and resourceful entrepreneurs. And recently, I was lucky enough to host a panel with three terrific business owners and friends, who were kind enough to take their time to join me.
One of them was my dear pal, Ronnie Fliss, who launched Fat Murray’s Doggy Treats (www.fatmurrays.com), in 2003 after losing her job in finance — and is still going strong. Another was the very resourceful Jennifer Chaky, who owns Go Lightly, a cozy eco store/ vegan café in my Montclair hometown (www.golightlystore.com). And the third was the artistically creative Sana Mantell, who launched Lilac Design Studio (www.lilacgraphics.com), also in Montclair.
Our title was “Second Careers for Women: Launching a Business You Love,” — and it was definitely a hot topic! We had about 40 women in the audience, along with one guy, Ronnie’s husband, Allan, who definitely added extra spark!
What a great time we had! We covered the waterfront, talking about start-ups from every angle: smart moves to make, pitfalls to avoid, financing, marketing, building a support system for success, mentors, and surviving emotional ups and downs. It was a lively, entertaining two hours — packed with helpful ideas and advice. Lots of chatting and book buying afterwards.
It reminded me how satisfying it is as a writer to meet your audience — the people you are trying to reach and move or help through your work. It’s so much fun to share what you’ve learned and to chat with people and hear about their ideas and hopes. So much of our work is solitary: it happens between us and the page. And yet, connecting with people through a shared vision can be incredibly inspiring. Thanks Ronnie, Jennifer, and Sana for sharing your wisdom!