Here we are at the end of May. It is time to talk about what is happening here at GRLife!
To start with, as I write this, but probably not as you are reading it, I am up at my cabin. Oh, you didn’t know I had a cabin? That’s the point. I do, and it is my secret little getaway. Part of the problem with my current life is I don’t get up here nearly often enough. That is just one of the many reasons I am looking at making some big life changes – so I can spend more time here. This is the perfect place for writing. It is quiet and peaceful. I love it here.
But it is located in rural middle-Michigan. which is kind of strange place for a gal from “the decent-sized” city. To start with, there are no sidewalks up here, and the cabin is secluded, but near a fairly busy road. When I am walking Duncan, almost everyone pulls WAY over into the other lane – giving me crazy amounts of space. Almost all of them wave and most smile. I wonder if it is because I am a woman, in a baseball cap, walking a dog – like, I kind of fit in. (On the other hand, they must know I am not from around here since no one walks their dogs, they just let them run free.) At the same time, as I was walking by the public park by the lake, three young guys walked by carrying a giant inflatable boat. I hear one of them mumble something about a “bitch and a bitch”, then I hear one of them say, “Naw, that’s bitch walking a small dog.” Really, guys?? Though truth be told, that is technically a little more correct since my dog is male. You know what I did? I put on my biggest and brightest smile looked them right in the eyes and said, “Hi guys! How are you doing? How was the water?” They were able to answer but at least one of them looked chagrined. I continued with my incredibly friendly small chat for a bit. Ah, nothing makes people squirm more than when they realized they were complete jerks to a real, live human.
Anyway – back to the business! As I mentioned, I took some classes at the Grand Rapids Public Library on Small Business Research. I wrapped up the last one last week. The three classes were: Market Research, Demographics, and Competition. I learned a ton! Even outside of the classes and all the good information I got, I am glad I went. It reconnected me with the library and all of the amazing resources they have. Just the databases that they offer – for free – are worth it. Plus, I downloaded some audio books to listen to in the car. I love it!
I also met with my mentor, Bob, from SCORE. Bob and I met at the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce – and wow, is that a cool place! It is set up with all sorts of little meeting areas, both private and open, and has a bar with Schuil Coffee and beer from Atwater. The place was being used too, there were tons of people working.
Anyway, Bob was pretty impressed as to where I was in my planning stage and that I had a working timeline for what needs to happen. He and I agreed on some “homework” for me to do. Basically, in addition to the secondary research I can do through the library, he suggested I do some primary research by talking to other professionals in my field. Ack. Talk about scary things! But I see what he is saying and from other readings that I have done, (like, Daniel Gilbert’s Stumbling on Happiness) I know that talking to people who have actually done what I want to do is one of the best ways to figure out if I will enjoy it myself. Also, it’s a great way to find out how much to charge, client turnover rates, and other information I will need to finalize up my financial projections. But whew! It feels scary. Fortunately, I have some ideas on how to get started, and then I’ll figure it out from there.
The other thing I did was take a workshop through GROW on Planning for a Healthy Business. The workshop was all about the 4 different stages of planning, moving from a “back of the napkin” plan to a full-on strategic plan for your business. One of the first things we did was go around the room and talk about where we were in the business planning process. When we got to me I answered where I was and what I still had to do, and the instructor said, “So why are you here?” Apparently, most of the people who take this class haven’t done a lot of project management. Truthfully, from reading the course description, it didn’t sound like a beginners class. But I answered honestly. I told that I am trying to figure out what it is that I don’t know. In every class I take, every meeting I have had, I pick up something new, some nugget of knowledge I can use. I know that starting a business is a huge risk, so I am trying to identify as many risks ahead of time as I can. I know I won’t get them all, but every time I can get a little closer, that will make things easier for me down the road. (And, sure enough, I got a list of things to think about and work on from that class.)
Speaking of down the road, my lawyer also sent me paperwork so I can start working on my will, end of life, and financial management plan, should something bad happen. Not exactly the most cheerful thing, but hey, everybody dies and having a will in place just makes sense. It’s not like not having one keeps the Grim Reaper away, after all. Again, it is all about managing risks and making plans.
I also finished up a few more chapters in my PN Sport and Nutrition Coaching Certification. My timeline has me being done with that at the end of summer, which means, I’m going to take my textbook and go sit by the lake a study for a bit. Hope you all had a great week! Thanks for taking the time to read this and keep up with all that I have going on.