I was still trying to rebuild my market Upstate, when my publisher shut down her press after the death of her partner. All the books were sent to me to be stored, and I had to learn about distribution and PR. I felt overwhelmed and at a loss, until a friend in Baldwinsville took me to a meeting of the WBOC--Women Business Opportunities Connection in downtown Syracuse. I was immediately surrounded by a group of caring, supportive, entrepreneurial women, who welcomed me as a peer. I'd always thought of myself as a poet and teacher, never a businesswoman, but now, in my new situation, I had to get smart.
Now I meet once a month with women from all walks of life, with businesses in every avenue of life, from finance and homecare to real estate, social media, and photography. They offer seminars, share their experiences and struggles, and offer help in every way.
I attended morning breakfasts to network and attended workshops on all aspects of running one's own business.When I was at a point when I feared I might just donate all my books away and let my children's venture die, they challenged me to learn about networking, social media, PR, and good business practices. I listened, learned, and pushed forward. I was especially honored when they featured me in their regular spot in the Syracuse Women Magazine.
It was at the WBOC that I was hooked up with a wonderful website designer. My old website was outdated and amateurish. After a refresh, all the bells and whistles work, my online store is fully functional, and I got my first school visit through my website on a feature added about my school visits.
The WBOC always reminds me that I am not "just" a poet, or teacher, or mother, but a viable businesswoman. This has been a great gift.
When I first started my business, I didn't know very many people in the community. My previous position kept me in the office, mostly working with others in the workplace. Through WBOC I met people who have helped me in a number of ways. I've found a number of people whose services I use as well as some new clients. I've met "connectors", people who are great at introducing me to prospects and other networking organizations. The monthly educational programming is always informative. Maybe what I enjoy the most is the informal networking after the programs. I've met many very nice, supportive people and made new friends. WBOC feels like my core group of co-workers now.