Friday Fun: Supportive Surroundings

“Artists are very dynamic members of society” 
~ Katie Keller, Graceful Works

Last week was a lovely blend of restoration, inspiration, and encouragement.

be brilliant sign on michigan ave

After absorbing edible and visual local artistry in Geneva, Thursday evening was spent discussing the need for Creativity in the Chicago area. I attended the quarterly Create. Innovate. Repeat. Happy Hour sponsored by The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship. This happy hour provides a forum for local creative entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses, ranging from actors to musicians to fine artists.

The brief Q&A sessions turn into brainstorming on how to monetize or expand on business ideas. Between presentations there is the opportunity to mingle and network with everyone in attendance.

I admire the bravery of the presenters. Some had just started out in their businesses and were already up front promoting them. I still need to work up a ‘spiel’ for mine a year into planning my venture! But I do plan on presenting at one of these quarterly events in 2012.

“Creativity can change the world”
~Lisa Canning, founder of The Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship 

Friday morning I attended another Women’s Innovation Network Innovation Circle. I reconnected with ladies I met at the last event, and had very encouraging conversations with new supporters. After being discouraged about my networking efforts in recent weeks, being listened to, receiving tips and engaging with energetic and inspirational people boosted my confidence and has me looking forward to future events.

Angel by Chagall on a plate

Marc Chagall‘s Angel served on a platter

“I love being an entrepreneur.
You can be yourself and not be fired”

~Valerie Beck, cofounder of WIN

We discussed five ways to attract customers authentically, including:

  1. Decide who your ideal customers are and tell them
  2. Use Social Media to go where your customers are
  3. Be persistent because fortune is in the followup
  4. Get yourself into the media and then publicize your publicity
  5. Think big and then double it

Hosted by Furla Chicago on Michigan Avenue, we had the opportunity to shop for purses, shoes and jewelry after our brainstorming. The lovely purse I really liked wasn’t in my budget, but it was fun to browse and be in such supportive company. I’m saving up for membership so I can be part of WIN-member perks soon.

Afterwards I strolled Michigan Avenue, where I found various encouraging signs in windows as pictured above.  I attended the Chicago Chocolate Tour’s 6th Anniversary Holiday Party on Tuesday, where I mingled with more kindred spirits. My Thanksgiving plans changed to having dinner with friends in their lovely home instead of holing up with DVDs and pie.

Support is all around you when you know to look for it. Challenge yourself this week to interpret the signs around you as a booster to your life.

“Somebody out there needs you.
The day they find you is their lucky day.”
~Valerie Beck, cofounder of WIN 

ADDENDUM: As of March 10, 2013, I no longer support the WIN Board and its actions. However, I do support small business, women-owned businesses, and the gracious hosts of past WIN events.

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