A couple months back I'd heard about The Collective of Us, a group of creative entrepreneurs. I was instantly sold. It was perfect timing for me. I just moved to Birmingham and returned from an inspiring time teaching at Alt Summit. I was ready to explore how to expand my business as well as establishing myself in Birmingham.
The Collective of Us was perfect for me. The group was founded by Cyndie Spiegel, yoga instructor, professor, business coach, all-around awesome person. She leads and directs the group coaching sessions.
Being part of the group you get to join the private facebook group and participate in four biweekly chats with three other ladies and Cyndie to discuss and evaluate each of our businesses. I loved the direction I received from Cyndie and enjoyed hearing the different victories and struggles of the other creative entrepreneurs. It was a very safe and encouraging atmosphere. There was also kick-off and wrap-up one-on-one skype sessions with Cyndie that were incredibly helpful.
I'd totally suggest this to any creative entrepreneur! It was totally a great investment. I'm so glad I applied to be a part of the group. It really changed me and the way I looked at my business.
Tomorrow is the last day to apply, so I wanted to share my 5 game-changing takeaways from my experience wihh the Collective to encourage all y'all to join!
1. I can say "no".
Not the most revolutionary thought, but it was something I really needed. I was on a high from teach at Alt Summit and wanted to expand that. I love sharing my knowledge with others. And at one point someone suggested to do an online webinar. Webinars are totally not my thing but I felt hesitant and guilty for saying no. In one of Cyndie's empowering ways, she told me, "You can say, 'No'." Oh wow. I can? I'm the kind of person who feels guilty about saying no to anyone. My reflex to any questions is yes, whether or not I really want to. I learned, "Hey, no big deal if you don't want to do it."
I guess this was the first time anyone said it to me in a safe environment like that. I felt such a relief.
2. I can do whatever I want.
This is my business, and I can do whatever I want with this. There isn't anyone to keep tabs on me or punish me if I don't do something. I can lead my business in whatever direction I want because it's mine. I felt so confident after being assured that. A part of me was always scared my business was random. I wasn't sure if pursuing all my different passions was good for my business or not. And being reminded that I can do what I want with my business equipped me to move forward with different endeavors for my business. (Like selling prints! ;D )
3. I can't be so hard on myself.
Who isn't hard on themselves? Probably everyone at one point unfairly compares themselves to a measuring stick. I worried about what people would thing my business was too random even though, Cyndie pointed out, that over all these years no one has ever mentioned that. I developed so many unwarranted criticisms about myself. For the first time I was aware of all the pressure I put on myself, and it was freeing to release all those negative thoughts.
4. People want me to succeed.
The Collective isn't just an ordinary group. These ladies are kicking butts and taking names. It's full of encouragement, practical advice and genuinely constructive criticism. They reminded me that there are people in my corner. They are in my corner. We are cheering each other on, truly want each person in the group to succeed and achieve their goals. We believe in each other wholeheartedly.
I think someone cried in every one of my talks. (Being an entrepreneur is no easy task, mind you. You're often doing everything on your own.) But the overwhelming encouragement I saw from group to cheer and build that person up was so chicken-soup-for-the-soul. It's totally okay to have breakdowns. We all have them. But the thing about this group is that they're there to help you up or support you when you can't stand on your own. I love them!
5. I'm awesome.
I don't know how many times Cyndie praised us, but she did. And they weren't empty compliments. They were affirmations of our worth and strength and abilities. Sometimes you really do need someone to remind you you're awesome. Boy, I felt so empowered after every video chat. I still do.
The Collective isn't going to run my business. I still have to do the work to have a successful business, but I know that I can do it because of this group. I got a lot of practical suggestions I might not have thought up on my own.
I'm so grateful for them.
Ali, San Francisco, CA. September 14, 2015 | Canon 5d markii 50mm 1.2L