By Anjali Tuljapurkar Cameron (Founder & CEO, TripLark)
Yes, you read it right. Inspiration overload. It happens to many new entrepreneurs. Knowing we’ll get nowhere by sitting alone at home, we attend every networking event and conference in the vicinity. Add blogs, books and business columns – and your brain is deluged with an endless slew of you-can-do-it stories. Returning home at night, you feel more inspired than ever but often still confused or questioning how you’ll ever get there.
I know this feeling intimately as the founder of TripLark, a new travel planning site. Having finally made more sense of what will provide me with the most learning and connections, here are a few quick tips for fellow entrepreneurs as they navigate the startup networking and event scene.
When I first moved to San Diego, I did not do thorough research when it came to events and ended up at several networking meetups where the words tech scene, travel website and lean startup were woefully out of place. Such events left me feeling disappointed and longing to find like minded entrepreneurs.
To avoid similar time-suck, see if you can find a friend or connection to give you a quick primer on the must attend events in the area. Also conduct ample online research on meetup groups and networking boards to see if you can find groups that do more than just have the descriptor, entrepreneur, in their title. Through a woman I met at an alumni event, I connected with several entrepreneurs working on similar stage startups and found my niche. Now I primarily attend one to two events per month, which I know will be sources of relevant information.
Set a two goal minimum
As a volunteer at this year’s Women 2.0 PITCH Conference, I was inspired not just by the panelists but also by all the impressive name tags I saw pass by. But with such a large crowd, I wasn’t sure who to chat with first or what to ask people when I met them beyond sharing my elevator pitch and hearing theirs.
My time that day would have been more effective if I had set two clear goals: funding advice, asking about most successful marketing strategies or finding a partner. Do this, and in addition to the inspiration, you’ll leave with knowledge to build on.
Read and implement
After a thorough read, I finally get the hype about Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup. Not only is his book inspirational, but it actually provides an actionable framework to develop and grow one’s startup. Focus your reading time on books and online articles like this, which provide practical, executable tips rather than just inspiring stories.
The New York Times small business blogs are helpful as are industry specific news sites.
Please share your favorite actionable startup blogs in the comments below.
On my shoe-string budget, I was none too eager to pay for office space when I had spare room at home, but hooking up with a co-working space in San Diego has been priceless. Do your research and find a space that will provide a comfortable work environment along with an active user base.
In my case, Hera Hub, a women’s oriented co-working space, was the right fit for me. For less than $100 per month, I have a professional work space I can visit for a couple hours each week to focus, rent conference room space and most importantly, find meaningful connections and inspiration. Hera Hub’s owner has an encyclopedic knowledge of her members and is always bringing people together for mutual benefit.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below.
Photo credit: Jorge Franganillo on Flickr.
About the guest blogger: Anjali Tuljapurkar Cameron is Founder of TripLark to save travelers time and energy by featuring unique, organized travel plans from travelers and businesses. Travelers can use TripLark to see and share what’s possible – where to stay, play and eat – for their budget and interests. Anjali lives in San Diego and previously worked in consumer marketing for Yahoo!. Follow her on Twitter at @TripLark.