#WDS2012 & Why What You Do For “Fun” Impacts Your Business

#WDS2012

 

So earlier this year, I got the opportunity to snag a ticket for the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon this last weekend.  I thought I was going to hurl.  Seriously, the tickets were $500 and beyond that, I was uber intimidated by the fact that I was still a “work in progress,” with a brand new business & plenty of insecurities of what I’d have to bring to the summit.

There is plenty of advice out there on how you should invest in your business.  Courses to take, books to read, designers to hire- those tactical tips are totally useful, but I would state that for most frugalpreneurs “fun,” is low on the list.

Attending the World Domination Summit cost me nearly $1,000 with tickets, airfare, rooming and food.  That’s pretty damn expensive for a broke former grad student and independent business owner to go have fun with.

As broke business owners- we typically don’t have time or funds to simply throw to the wind, but I would argue that investing unconventionally in your business with the right “fun” stuff will help you be a more well rounded, fulfilled and networked business person.

[highlight]You will be tempted to lock yourself in your office and work all day, don’t.  [/highlight]

Even if you’re taking up a hobby or building relationships outside of your business that seem pointless, they aren’t.  Making connections, even the most random ones, like I did at WDS, will pay off in intangible dividends and I’d argue, to real business.

Was I freaked out to leave my work behind for a few days?  You betcha.  Going to WDS pointed out something that should have ben blindly obvious-  while my work is remarkable, my life though, is not.  Sad, right?  I’ve been quite a hermit the last few months- running three sites and a social media consulting business with a new master’s degree under my belt.

Sure, you can work all day or dedicate all your free time to reading, researching and studying, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.   WDS proved to me that you can still have fun and improve your business in the process- the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

1,000 attendees of #WDS2012

[highlight]You can make a thousand excuses as to why you shouldn’t spend money on yourself- but if you won’t spend a bit on improving the CEO of your business better (a.k.a. YOU) why would your customers invest in you?[/highlight]

WDS was as intimidating as it was expensive.  I’ve only been running Cake Mix for two shakes of a lamb’s tail in the scheme of things and I’m currently retooling my schedule to make it all work.  I’m not a bohemian, nor am I a nomadic travel hacker or an artist- but there is a lot to gain by simply hanging out with those people.  

[highlight]The key to a successful business is spending as much time away from the “office” as possible.[/highlight]

Blasphemy, you say!  But hear me out-  optimizing your time for health, networking and crazy-fun means that you’re working more productively.  It gives purpose to your work.   It’s easy to work simply to work- but what the hell are you working for?  That was one of the biggest takeaways of WDS-  most of the people on stage or leading sessions were invited to speak because they had remarkable working lives. They started charities, travelled the world and made money doing it, or they wrote really phenomenal books- but for every person that accomplished great wealth, prestige and notable businesses, each of them were equally as proud of their “off hour” lives.

As a broke entrepreneur myself, it’s a fact that you have to work to pay the bills.  No work, no money.  The first thing to go when you start focusing on paying the bills, is your purpose.  Why did you start this business?  To spend more time with family, to have flexible time to travel, to make work you were proud of?    Build your business around those priorities not the work itself.

WDS2012 bollywood dancing

[highlight] Embrace those that intimidate you when you try something new.  Lean into feeling out of place.  Believe that you belong. [/highlight]

Even in a “room full of 1,000 crazies” as I call it, the attendees and speakers at WDS intimidated the crap out of me.  I almost didn’t want to go because I didn’t feel I was developed enough as an entrepreneur and non-conformist as others were.   I seemed to have the idea that to be successful you have to live a story that’s already written, a tidy little “about me,” that’s already perfectly thought out and listed in bullet points.

 

The fact is, I’m a work in progress- and even the most successful folks at WDS argued they were too- just because they had one claim to fame, it didn’t mean they were “finished” or had a static sense of self.  If I learned anything from WDS it’s to just “go anyway.”  Buy your shoes a half size bigger (metaphorically) knowing you’ll grow into them.  Don’t go to something like WDS because you’ve already finished your story, go simply because it has just begun.  Yes, there will be some people who feel like they’re already awesome, and there will be others that are reinventing themselves.

Embrace what and who you are and lean into the fact that you might be uncomfortable, it simply means that you’ve made room in your life to grow and you’ve stretched your vision into the unknown.

 

[highlight]The adage “You have to spend money to make money” even applies to frugalpreneurs, except we spend it on different things.[/highlight]

Again, to kick a dead horse-  you can’t always measure your productivity in tidy hours or dollars earned.  Sometimes you have to derail the train, veer off into the unknown and simply be yourself, sans the “C.E.O.” title.  You will totally feel uncomfortable spending the money and time on yourself simply for fun and growth when it could be “better spent” drafting a redesign or negotiating ad campaigns-  but trust yourself.    Or, you know, write it off as a business expense.

[highlight]So, should you attend the World Domination Summit? [/highlight] YES.  That is, if you can get tickets.  I’d suggest you sign up for the mailing list so you’ll hear about it when tickets go on sale since this year they sold out in 20 minutes. I kid you not.

Even if you don’t attend WDS next year- invest in something that challenges you personally, helps you grow, makes connections or optimizes your health.  If I had one solid takeaway from WDS this year, it’s that the time you spend away from your work is just as vital as the time you spend working.

As a frugalpreneur you’re not just selling your services or work, you’re selling your story.  Make it a good one.  People are hungry to invest in someone they can believe in.  

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