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Jenny and her Entrepreneurial Journey-Week 10

Jenny Davenport

Dear Readers, It happened:

We each presented our third and final Retrospective, updating and wrapping up all of our Entrepreneur Bootcamp hard work and learning and applying it to our businesses.

We refined our Executive Summaries. We dotted “i”s and crossed “t”s on our financials.

And we went forth and declared all of this to a captive audience of mentors and vested community members, hoping that we would seem at least open to input, if not outright ready to launch.

How did it go?

Well, I went first, then stayed for one more of the total seven that would happen, because family duties called, as they always will.

So, commenting on the presentation after me: Oh my gosh, she killed it! In other words, she did an amazingly professional job, laying out her marketing and sales strategies, her financing and financial needs, the diversity of her products and the particular needs and proclivities of her 4% client base.

All with a toddler on her hip!

She shone with a business brilliance and a sense of purpose, and although her visuals were not necessarily there, they didn’t have to be. We in the audience saw it all. This Entrepreneur/Bootcamp Participant is about to go far, and she gets it.

And again, she’ll go far -- with that toddler growing right along with her business. People like to think of children as accessories sometimes. But guess what: Even at about two, that baby girl was soaking up how Mom interacted with other professionals in the room. She learned how to say “Hi” and “Bye” politely and with distance to strangers, something she will do as an adult furthering her own business someday. She learned a little bit of self-soothing as Mom had to concentrate over these days and weeks of camp. And Mom learned to soothe and to lean on others as she nurtured her business, an enterprise that would, someday soon hopefully, put food on the table for her toddler and her other ones.

And this Participant did it all with finesse. And yes, again: Professionalism!

Me, on the other hand: I was told I did well. But I was consumed with the knowledge that part of my product, which I had brought that day as a Thank You to volunteers, was not up to snuff, even though the main part (my pie filling) was. I was under a distracted cloud of trying

to stay serene in the midst of a maelstrom of family emergencies and tight logistics for the day, and I felt I bombed!

It threw me into an unprofessional negative outlook for a good 24-48 hours before the sun finally peeked through and showed me that, hey! This “fall” in confidence and, seemingly, from Grace was all just part of the process of starting a business.

How in the world do you improve if you don’t make mistakes? And what better place to make them but within the confines of a safe place like a business incubator like the Entrepreneur Bootcamp?

Fail here if you’re going to fail anywhere! Get the bugs out. The mentors and community members will definitely be honest with you, because they have proven they care. They are volunteers and have vested their own time, their awareness and experience, all of these things WAY more valuable than anything money can buy, and they sure are not going to waste it coddling any of you. Any of us. Point taken?

So, I rebounded by the weekend. I taught myself to accept compliments and Grace even while excoriating myself, and I became even more determined to use every little thing I learned through this to make my business better.

And I prepped for my Launch Panel, the official gateway to “What’s Next”. I soaked up my lessons, reviewed my numbers (and oh, they needed reviewing!), and revisited my purpose, again.

I prepped by taking a breath and realizing: It’s all part of the Process:

Keep going.

--- Jenny Davenport ---

AARP is proud to collaborate with Rocky Mountain MicroFinance to offer scholarships for those 50 plus to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.

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