One of the many fruitful chats I had the Social Media Club was with Luke Grange of Knowledge Solutions, who told me about a monthly meeting called The Hive. It’s an informal meeting of entrepreneurs held on the second Tuesday of every month featuring a different business guest speaker every time, from Monique Conheady, the co-founder of the carshare program Flexicar to Sahil Merchant, the owner of the ubercool magazine shop Mag Nation. I thought it’d be a great opportunity to chat, network and share ideas with like-minded people whom I probably wouldn’t encounter every day in my cubicle-bound desk job.
When I first arrived solo at The Order of Melbourne I was very unnerved. I’m normally pretty good at talking to strangers, but the approximately 50+ person crowd at the bar consisted of 90% men and it felt like everyone had come with someone else. I immediately retreated into a shy shell and sat sipping my drink, surveying the surroundings and trying to look approachable, until I finally decided that this was a completely useless strategy if I was going to meet anyone at all.
Fortunately, right near me I overheard a girl say ‘it’s my first time here’ so I immediately said ‘it’s my first time here too, what’s supposed to happen?’. So the owner/graphic designer of Alba Design, the Global Online Editor for Lonely Planet, the owner/PR consultant of Writeway PR and two lawyers formed a little island of females and we chatted about what it’s like to own a small business, our business ideas, our professional backgrounds and our interests. It’s not a bad night if you score four business cards in 20 minutes of conversation!
The guest speakers for the night were Tom Howard and Fern Bailey from Adioso.com, a flexible flight search engine startup (‘like Webjet but better’). They were your typical scruffy-looking web start up guys, two buddies with a great idea. They talked about overcoming hurdles, failing, receiving seed funding, making your business reflect your views and values and enjoying yourself. All good lessons and I left feeling encouraged by their main message – you just have to give it a go, even though there will be lots of people telling you it’ll fail (which it probably will, but hey at least you tried).
If you missed the meeting, you can access the podcast feed through iTunes. Time to diarise the next event!