It all began in 2009 when I invited some business owners to breakfast. Nothing fancy, just some baked oatmeal and coffee, a whiteboard and some handouts. We spent a couple of hours together discussing small business marketing strategies. Entrepreneurs, creatives and hopefuls — all were welcome.
I hadn’t thought it all the way through. All I knew was that in running my own small businesses (a tutoring company and event planning firm), marketing was something I loved and could easily put my hand and head to. Yet, many of my colleagues were struggling to make sense of it all.
I found that those who had done business more traditionally were the ones most in need of a crash course in 21st century marketing tools and technology.
So, each week, I’d pick a topic and as many as 13 people packed into my kitchen in New Castle. We’d discuss ways they could best implement a particular new strategy into their small businesses. We just got started, not knowing every answer, taking imperfect action, and doing our best to make a difference.
It became clear to me that there was a huge, unmet need right in my own backyard, and that I could be the one to meet it. 3E Marketing Solutions was born to meet that need.
Women venturing into entrepreneurship can often feel like they’re dancing on a wire without a net. I know the feeling well! There is no certainty or security in taking that big leap. There is no one above us to report or defer to — it’s up to us. We must continually ready ourselves to accept new opportunities that will bring new challenges, but also offer new ways to stretch and grow.
As a midlife woman entrepreneur, I’m embracing the resiliency, tenacity and graciousness that come with this autumn season of my life, walking boldly on the road that lies before me. We have the unique privilege to make our mark on the world — each in our own season, each with our own message and mission to bring.
Fear of the unknown can keep us from even putting our hand on the knob of the door of opportunity. What’s beyond that door holds more promise and potential than we’ve ever dared to imagine.
So, here we stand at the threshold of a new year. We already know what’s on this side. It’s what lies beyond that will make the difference and determine our path forward. May we inspire one another with our courage, so that together we can blaze a trail for others follow.
Donna Duffy is CEO/Founder of 3E Marketing Solutions, author of “Embracing Autumn: A Motivational Field Guide for Midlife Women Entrepreneurs” and was recently named New Castle County Chamber of Commerce 2015 Business Woman of the Year