Startup Gippsland

If you haven’t already heard, last year I took the leap and bought the Junior Writers Club. This is one way I can expand the writers groups I’ve been doing at the library for years, the one that I think How can I do this as a career? after just about every session.

In keeping with the goal of having writing as a career, I have been getting support from the team at Work My Own Way. They suggested I attend a Business Bootcamp with StartUp Gippsland. It was on last weekend. This was quite an experience and a leap of faith.

It’s been years since I’ve attended a business event, the last one would have been around ten years ago, before I closed my last business. Back then, I had young children, but I was healthier than I am now. Chronic illness makes life interesting… I was pretty scared when I signed up. Would I be able to cope with my physical issues as well as the anxiety of being in a room full of people post-covid. This was also the first time I had left my teenage sons at home by themselves! My kids are 17 & 19 & they both survived…

I have to say that the organisers were amazing. They didn’t treat me as if I was being silly when I told them about requirements for chronic illness and did what they could to put my mind at ease so that I could participate. I also chose to stay locally instead of travelling between home and the workshop each day, knowing this would save energy also.

The first day was full of a lot of amazing information and I met some brilliant business owners. I honestly felt my head was going to explode with all the information…

I was a bit silly, though, and tried to be like everyone else. I stood for networking and sat on the chairs at the tables. Even with my feet up most of the day, I learned the hard way that trying to be normal would cause pain, and by the end of the day I was exhausted and limping because my feet were so sore. I think I was a bit vague over dinner & drinks, and it was hard to focus… but a good night sleep helped a lot.

The second day, I was smarter. I prioritised my health and spent a lot more time sitting down on the comfy couch at the back of the room or on the floor instead of on one of the chairs at the table. I also sat down for networking instead of standing up. I had fun doing story time with some kids who had come with their parents as well as many more discussions with some amazing business owners as well as the mentors who were on site.

Over the course of the weekend, I took pages of notes that I need to go through now. I also have people to follow up. Something I learned in my last business was the follow up process of networking, something not many people know. Usually it’s a quick email to say hi and keep the conversation going, connecting with them on Linked In or other social media channels, or a quick phone call. Due to exhaustion, it’s happening slower than I would like, and there won’t be phone calls, but I’m getting there.

Some of the discussions with mentors also helped me see things in my business in a different way. Some aspects of my business that I thought I wouldn’t be able to scale up without working way too much may be doable. I’m already starting to play with a few things here! It really helps to see things through a fresh pair of eyes. It reminds me of working with a good editor… they see things in a story the author doesn’t see because they are too close to it.

Overall, while I’m completely exhausted, I’m so glad I went to the StartUp Gippsland Boot Camp. If you’re in Gippsland and starting a business, look out for their other events.

I didn’t take photos on the weekend, so here’s a photo of the chocolate that was in my goodie bag (that has now been consumed!)

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About Melissa

Melissa Gijsbers started writing when she was in High School during the 1990s, even winning some awards for a short story and a script. For many years, life got in the way of creative writing, however she did start blogging around 2006.

She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two sons and a pet blue tongue lizard.

Melissa Gijsbers, Author, Speaker & Booklover
Melissa Gijsbers - Author, Speaker & Booklover