Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Business Networking in Pgh

I've found the following extremely useful for new business, referrals, inspiration, encouragement and camaraderie during this transition into self-employment.
Some are free to attend -- though your meal is on you -- while others have reasonable membership dues (plus your meals). Some are category exclusive (only one member per industry category) and others are open to all. Some have meetings over lunch and others are before or after working hours.

I recommend trying a few and seeing how you fit within the dynamic of the group, the time/cost ratio, etc. I don't intend on staying a member of all of these listed -- unless I don't intend to have time to work on any new business generated by these groups.

As the ol' clique goes: Time is money; since it's a super valuable and rare commodity, make the most of it by being picky/choosy about which ways you acquire new business leads and moral support.

Week 2: Adventures in Self-Employment

It's amazing to me how busy the self-employed life can be. I'm recognizing the need for balance, but have yet to strike one between work, life, friends, new business networking, Mary Kay, ACAC/YAM, volunteer work, and me -- probably because the list itself is too long, but that's my personality:)

Something that I am instituting next week as a way to create more balance is a simple (easy to remember) rule for booking appts:
For each day, only one appt. per catagory
(max of 2 catagories per day).
That should help to give me a little down time between running around (and burning gas) to get things done.

In a separate post -- that I have to resend due to internet difficulties yesterday... grrr -- I'll share some of the local networking resources that I've found to be exceptionally helpful and encouraging during this transitional time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Value of LinkedIn

It's interesting the things that I've discovered so far on this 'starting my own business' journey. One simple yet impactful one is the usefulness of LinkedIn.

As a creative professional that's no stranger to networking in the industry, I really never understood why I needed a LinkedIn account. Mind you, I had one, but never saw the value. The main reason being that most of my professional LinkedIn connections are also my Facebook friends. I spend waaaay more time on Facebook keeping up with folks than LinkedIn — particularly since both have similar news feed/status updating capabilities.

Discussing the purpose of this professional social network with friends, colleagues and clients, I've come to realize the value of LinkedIn is not to connect you with your friends/acquaintances (Facebook does a better job of keeping people in touch, in my opinion), but to connect you with potential clients who are connected to your friends/clients/acquaintances/etc.

It's a safe way and convenient way for potential clients to see your living resumé/portfolio — following where you've been professionally and what you're doing right now by reading your blog through a LinkedIn app. They can get a much better sense of your personality and capabilities than one could ever get from a one-page static resumé (which you can also post on your LinkedIn page for those die-hard HR individuals).

It's the little realizations and epiphanies that are making this transitional time of my life so enjoyable and interesting.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Panelist: Creative Careers Seminar

I (Stephie) will be a panelist this Friday at the Creative Careers Seminar at CMU. I'll be sharing my experience in the field while at Bally Design and also talking about the transition to the freelance world to promote On The Vine.

Click for more information and hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Support Upcoming Events

It's seriously been crazy working three jobs — finishing up at Bally, getting On The Vine off the ground; and maintaining my Mary Kay biz as well — but I'm optimistic about the future as the next chapter of my life begins.

I wanted to share a few upcoming events that I am also involved in extracurricularly:

Kenya Benefit Concert is tonight (10/29) at 7 pm
New Hazlett Theater (Allegheny Center, North Side)
Music by Greg and Rebecca Sparks
The special community concert will benefit the children at the Kenduiwo Orphanage in Kenya. The musical event is part of an effort to raise $25,000 for a new girls dorm for children who currently have insufficient shelter and housing. More info:
I'm coordinating volunteers at the event and have a few extra tickets... let me know if you can make it!

BHHC: 1st Annual Fundraiser Gala
Friday, December 4th 2009 7-10 PM
4863 Ellsworth Av., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
$25 suggested donation $10 minimum donation
benefits BHHC + chinese and silent auction

SOUL INSPIRING ENTERTAINMENT (8-10 PM) featuring Earth Rhythm, InterPlay, Amethyst Bellydance Group and DJ Eric Justin.
More details to come... save the date!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Facebook Fanpage Up and Running

It's been an interesting week getting On The Vine up and running. Identity and promotional materials/outlets are coming together.

Check out our page on Facebook and become a fan!