Reflections on getting to day 8 of Aotearoa New Zealand's First Pop-Up Business School from a Millennial Participant
It's Wednesday 11th October 2017 at 1pm. We've just had a lunch break (where a coffee was needed and gratefully inhaled) and we're now back into the classroom to learn about Search Engine Optimisation ('SEO'). While my brain is feeling slightly fried like the egg that my flatmate had for breakfast earlier in the day, my primary emotion is that of GRATITUDE.
Gratitude for the Pop-Up Business School existing (it's been running in the UK now for almost 7 years)
The Pop-Up Business School is an intensive, accelerator environment that takes people from having a business idea or already having a business to executing on that environment or taking their business to the 'next level'. It's true. All of the above are true: it's intensive and the accelerator environment is designed to be accessible yet challenging and encouraging. All of my fellow Pop-Up Business School attendees have gone from either having an idea or a pre-existing business to testing it, pitching it and taking steps to realising it - all in the space of two weeks (!).
Gratitude to Tony Henderson-Newport (who consistently has us laughing over his jokes about his height) who has brought this model from the UK to New Zealand...
One of Tony's main catch phrases is "a little bit and often". I'm uncertain whether he intentionally says it in relation to his height, but it has become a new motto of mine in regards to me progressing my business: "a little bit and often". Consistent actions, execution, trying fast, failing and pivoting - these are all things that are encouraged and taught. Tony's ability to connect with people, tell stories and bring local business owners in to share their stories is also a real highlight. We've heard from the One Percent Collective, Porirua City Council, Moana Road, Business Mentors, Chamber of Commerce, Book Keepers Association, experts at building websites and SO many more. Showing that these people started out just like us - with an idea and not much money - has been one of the most powerful parts of this experience.
Gratitude to everyone attending the course at Porirua who took a chance and leaped at the opportunity to learn something practical and new
This has been a real personal highlight - meeting more local people and hearing their stories and business ideas. Going through this journey together with a diverse group of people from all backgrounds has been a privilege. The business ideas that were shared have the potential to make real change not only in the community, but also in the world. So, watch this space! I know that I am :)
And, especially grateful to the local organisations (Porirua City Council, TPK and WREDA) who believed in Tony's vision to bring the Pop-Up Business School to New Zealand and sponsored the programme
Did I mention that these organisations, who believe in their local people, sponsored the programme so that it could be 100% FREE to the first 50 people who registered to go on the programme? This seems ridiculous to me. Why ridiculous? Because the programme is one of the most practical and valuable courses I've been on (and I've been really fortunate to go on a LOT of youth leadership development courses). I've learned more in 2 weeks than I would have been able to learn by myself online within a year or more or by spending thousands of dollars at university.
Personal Highlights: Demystifying 'Starting Business' Perceptions and A "Lifetime of Knowledge"
The Pop-Up Business School has demystified a LOT of perceptions and concerns that I had about starting a new business. Concerns that I had about how much money it would take to start something up (the course has given me a LOT of practical ideas of how to practically do this without a lot of money), how much time it would take, whether I'd need a whole team of staff, whether I'd need a comprehensive business plan behind me and SO much more.
I've learned how to go from having an idea to testing it, executing on it and marketing it. The amount that I've learned about the power of Google, how to sell things, what on Earth SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is and so, SO much more blows my mind. It also has made me way more aware of when I'm being sold to online and what effective marketing looks like. The amount of knowledge and wisdom that's been shared, thanks to Tony's idea of bringing the Pop-Up Business School to New Zealand, has been, as another participant shared "like a lifetime of knowledge".
After the course finishes (on Friday), there will be accountability groups and regular meetups. We also have a very active Facebook group where we share resources and support each other. We also now, thanks to Tony, Anna and the team, have a whole wider network of supportive groups in the wider Wellington region.
Whatever happens next, I'm excited! Thank you to the UK founders of the Pop-Up Business School, Tony Henderson-Newport who brought this model to NZ and to the sponsors who have made this incredible learning opportunity available to local people. To those who are thinking about taking part in a Pop-Up Business School (the next ones are being run in 2018 in Whanganui and Upper Hutt) I really encourage you to reach out to the awesome organising team, or contact a past participant. I'm one heartfelt advocate of this programme and the opportunities that can come from it! So, if you've been waiting for a sign about following that awesome idea you had a few years ago, or you were waiting for the perfect opportunity to learn how to build and grow your business: this is it. Grab the opportunity, take action and do 'a little bit and often' in order to achieve your goal or dream.