School is starting and students at all levels are strapping on new backpacks and tromping off towards another year of firsts. Parent or not, you can feel the shift in the air and in the traffic patterns around town.
No matter when you start your fiscal year, the school year is wired into all of us as an exciting time filled with promise. Here are some ways to tap into that inspiration as entrepreneurs and business owners.
Freshen up your look
When was the last time you made a conscious effort to update your professional look? Personally, I have to remind myself every so often that not ALL of my clothes can be purchased at Costco while loading up on toilet paper.
Think about how you are presenting yourself. Maybe even get some input from a stylish friend or colleague. Decide on a few things that will improve your first impression. Everyone’s list will look different but here’s mine: Get a haircut, hit a couple of consignment sales, shine my work shoes, drop some more baby weight (he’s 9 months old now!).
Find a mentor
Once upon a time, we waited to find out what teacher had been assigned to us. Now, as grown-ups, we get to pick our own teachers. Isn’t that cool?
Take advantage of your network to schedule a lunch or coffee with someone you look up to. She doesn’t have to be older than you, or even work in the same industry. Mentors come in many flavors and can open up new worlds of opportunity, all for the price of a latte.
Restock your supplies
Whenever I go to a big meeting, I always take my lucky pen and padfolio. The pen is a Cross and looks more expensive that it is. The padfolio bears my school logo and works well as a conversation starter with clients. They both look good and give me a welcome confidence boost when walking into strange conference rooms.
What supplies or accessories would boost your confidence? For some, it might be a new business card holder, for others it might be a better headset for your phone. If your budget allows, spend a little time at your local office supply store and restock your tools of the trade. You may be surprised at how a well-chosen object can affect how you feel about your daily tasks.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D., is a syndicated business writer, executive coach, and the author of “Ask the Mompreneur: Small Business Advice on Starting and Growing Your Own Company,” available at www.JennieWong.com. Email your entrepreneurship questions to TheJennieWong@gmail.com.