Last month, eastern Iowa became a hub for women business owners. Creative entrepreneurs traveled from near and far to New Liberty, Iowa to camp (think outdoor adventures galore), connect, and grow as women and business owners at Camp Climb.
After hearing the buzz that Jenna Kutcher would keynote Camp Climb’s speaker series, I leapt at the chance to grab a day camper spot. As a day camper, I was able to attend the retreat’s Saturday speaker series without committing to a weekend of camping. Nature and I are not the best of friends, so this option was perfect for me!
Saturday morning I hit the road, armed with snacks and The Power of Habit queued up on Audible, and made it to Camp Liberty without getting stuck on muddy back roads.
You know how the first day of school was always exciting and full of potential for what was to come? Or maybe that was just me. That describes camp arrival perfectly. Dozens of cars pulled in and eager ladies from across the midwest and beyond started conversations as we made our way to the main lodge.
Fast forward a bit, and campers sat down to an afternoon of stories, truths, and heartfelt advice.
These conversations were real, raw, and full of encouragement. As my small business owner journey continues, I find it so helpful to hear others’ stories about building their businesses and overcoming obstacles. And these ladies brought it! I left camp that day feeling inspired, encouraged, and ready to take some big steps.
Small business owner advice from Camp Climb speakers
I filled page after page with notes while listening to Camp Climb’s speaker lineup, and I can’t keep them all to myself. Small business ownership is not always a fast or easy journey (in fact, it’s usually the opposite), and I hope these takeaways inspire you to keep dreaming and making progress in your business.
Takeaway No. 1: “You cannot give from your depletion.”
Coach and speaker Amber Krzys spoke these wise words, and it felt like they traveled straight to my heart.
At the end of August, I realized that I had spent the month overbooked and a bit overwhelmed. Can you relate?
Several small trips, too many coffee chats to count, and a growing client workload squeezed every inch of white space from my calendar. In the thick of it all, I resorted to a ‘what’s next’ mentality, meeting the next deadline and heading out to the next event or meeting. It worked, but I feel like life passed me by during those whirlwind weeks.
“You cannot give from your depletion” is empowering. It’s encourages time for slow and self care, something I’m trying to focus on this month, and gives permission to stop feeling guilt.
Calls can go to voicemail, emails can sit for a bit, and your social media followers will still be there if you need to take some time away. As small business owners, we are our business. Often, we are responsible for being the face, brains, and creativity behind our brands.
How can you recharge so you can better serve your people?
Clients, colleagues, followers — you can do a better, more authentic job of serving others when you are rested, energized, and content. Find activities that make you happy and take away stress. Whether it’s booking a massage or cozying up to a fun read, I encourage you to carve out some time in your calendar to serve yourself.
Recently, I asked my friends on Instagram to share what they do to take a break from screens and business tasks. Answers include: exercising, spending time with family, reading, running on trails, and tackling projects around the house.
Takeaway No. 2: Pursue a 20 percent project
Have you heard of Google’s 20 percent work policy? If not, here’s a quick summary. Google employees spend 20 percent of their time, or one work day per week, on passion projects related to the company. Designed by Google’s founders, this initiative has led to the creation of tools we use every day, including Gmail and Google Maps.
Dannie Fountain, a marketing strategist and Google employee, called on Camp Climb campers to put this principle to work in our small businesses.
Dreams remain ideas until action is taken. But it can feel nearly impossible to make progress and test these ideas while running a business and prioritizing families and personal commitments.
That’s why you select just one of these projects. As Dannie encouraged us campers, choose one effort and put 20 percent of your work time behind it. If you normally work 40 hours a week, that’s 8 hours of time dedicated to this passion project.
If you followed this schedule for three months, what could happen in your business? In your life? That could result in major progress on a project that turns into a new revenue stream, a high-touch customer experience, or a thriving side gig.
I haven’t implemented this plan in my business yet, but I plan to for Q4 of this year. It will be a helpful push to tackle a new project before 2018 wraps up.
Takeaway No. 3: “Focus on the impact of one.”
It’s Jenna Kutcher time.
If you follow Jenna on Instagram or listen The Goal Digger Podcast, you know that she constantly offers value. I didn’t think it was possible for her to be more transparent and authentic, but she brought it all to the table at Camp Climb.
With 600k+ Instagram followers and huge audiences for her podcast and online courses, Jenna reaches the masses with her online presence. Yet when she offered advice for small business owners, she encouraged focusing on one person.
One follower. One living, breathing human. Ready for you to show up and serve them with more goodness.
If you narrowed your audience down to one person, what comes to mind? Can you see a face? Does a clear description come to mind?
Think of this person as you plan content. What do they need to hear? What questions are they trying to solve? How can you offer value to their day?
Think of this person as you write blog and social media posts. What advice would help them move forward? How can you guide them through a process?
Think of this person as you write email newsletters. What call to action can you offer? What would they welcome into their inboxes?
Keep this ‘one’ in mind, and see how it can make your life easier and content easier to craft.
Which Camp Climb takeaway resonates most with you and your business journey? Comment below with one way you’re going to switch up your routine by following the advice.