Greater than 50 girls sat round a circle contained in the St. Petersburg Metropolis Theater’s entrance corridor on a Friday morning for a gathering of the St. Pete Woman Bosses.
The networking group’s communications director, Taylor Adams, walked into the circle with a microphone in hand, carrying pink earrings that learn “Screw it. Let’s do it.” She kicked off the assembly.
“We’re the most important, fastest-growing, sexiest feminine entrepreneurship group within the Tampa Bay space,” she stated of the group. The ladies round her cheered.
The theater corridor was a step up from The Crislip Cafe on Central Avenue the place the St. Pete Woman Bosses started assembly practically a yr in the past. The networking group outgrew the house as phrase of mouth unfold—feminine enterprise homeowners had been getting collectively to be cheerleaders for one another of their ventures.
The St. Pete Woman Bosses Fb group has grown to greater than 3,100 members since launching. About 160 individuals are a part of a paid membership program that debuted final summer time. The group additionally launched its personal podcast known as “Bosscast” on the finish of the yr.
As they do each week, the St. Pete Woman Bosses meet on the theater corridor on Friday mornings to debate a selected matter. In early December, they targeted on the themes of social media use and different on-line instruments. The assembly began with the leaders promoting its first wellness passport, members might purchase in for entry to almost a dozen life coaches, vitality readers or psychics—all of whom are girls.
Then they broke out into smaller teams — which paired girls from quite a lot of industries, like actual property, espresso bean distributing, CBD retail, yoga and extra — to jot down recommendation on a pink sticky notes. They anonymously shared their notes with a random individual within the room. They went on to debate their wins of the week, what on-line instruments helped assist run their companies and the way chasing cash can distract from their missions.
Whereas many ladies got here for the networking, a number of members stated they stayed as a result of they discovered individuals who understood what they had been coping with. The group’s sense of neighborhood made it a protected house to make pals and get suggestions about their work.
Founder Sandy Bean, 45, stated she began the group after she went from being a instructor to the proprietor of an educational enrichment heart for presented college students—realizing she was lacking neighborhood in the course of the course of.
Whereas psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of wants prioritizes security and consistency, Bean stated, new entrepreneurs usually flip the pyramid to give attention to self-actualization and sacrifice safety to be able to attain enterprise objectives. Having a neighborhood to lean on is vital to rebuilding these security nets, she stated.
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Bean stated she tried different networking teams however struggled to forge actual friendships. She seen some girls weren’t being heard.
“Going to those networking teams, the ladies, they’re so good. However they do not at all times get to speak,” Bean stated. “It is simply totally different once you’re in a combined crowd. I am not making an attempt to throw males below the bus or something, but it surely’s simply totally different.”
So Bean invited 5 different girls she already knew to satisfy on the espresso store and created a Fb group, selecting the title St. Pete Woman Bosses “mockingly.” She hoped perhaps 20 folks would join. In just a few days, she stated there have been a pair hundred within the group, then a thousand. Now, there are girls from Dunedin, Sarasota and even Lakeland who come to conferences.
“We began doing in-person workshops and volunteer occasions, and (St. Pete Woman Bosses) shortly changed into a enterprise which was under no circumstances what I anticipated to occur so quick,” Bean stated.
For Clara Clayton, a 57-year-old wellness coach, she stated most of the networking teams she was part of shut down throughout COVID-19 and by no means restarted.
At first, Clayton joined the Fb group and started attending the Zoom co-working classes. Then she began going to comfortable hour occasions earlier than becoming a member of the bigger weekly conferences.
The group has helped her get new purchasers and in addition recommendation when she wanted it. She loved St. Pete Woman Bosses a lot she grew to become a model ambassador for them.
“It isn’t nearly exchanging enterprise playing cards. It is about forming deep relationships.” Clayton stated. “Passing chilly leads, it isn’t for me.”
Many native girls entrepreneurs wrestle with an absence of schooling in enterprise practices exterior of their experience — in areas equivalent to gross sales, advertising and marketing or pricing their merchandise — or having access to traders and assets locally, stated Jennifer Schultz, St. Pete Woman Bosses vp and proprietor of The Crislip and the cafe’s hooked up reward store, The Service provider.
“The magic of this group permits me to seek out others who’re consultants in areas that may assist educate me and different girls in areas that perhaps aren’t our robust go well with,” Schultz stated. “I by no means wish to be the neatest individual within the room, I wish to meet different individuals who can assist me study and assist different girls study.”
Many ladies additionally collaborate and go to one another’s shops or e book classes with one another.
One medical health insurance agent shared along with her small group that her week’s excessive was that each appointment she had previously seven days was booked by a lady boss.
When the Central Avenue dwelling decor and reward store The Canary opened in November, proprietor Allie Padin credited the group for serving to her hook up with a business actual property agent, small enterprise lawyer and basic contractor — all of which helped fast-track getting her enterprise off the bottom.
Schultz hosted a pop-up at her store in the course of the vacation season to assist a fellow “woman boss” flower-arranging enterprise, The Roaming Petal.
Roaming Petal’s Erica Holland, 29, stated the group helped her triple her community in a brief period of time and opened up new alternatives to collaborate with different native companies.
“I run my enterprise all on my own, it is simply me,” stated Holland, 29. “Having that assist system of different folks to ask questions once I must bounce concepts off of or once you’re feeling overwhelmed with the craziness of the whole lot in entrepreneurship has been actually useful to have.”