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Life Lessons from an Exhausted Ninja

04/21/2017 7:30 AM | Anonymous member

You know the phrase: Do as I say not as I do.

When they asked me to write a few posts with helpful hints that would, hopefully, appeal to the BCPWN reader, my head was spinning with ideas for great photo tips and media library hints. They’ll be in the next posts, I promise. This time around I thought I’d share a recent experience and a few (we all know them but we never do them) tips that would have made my life easier and, hopefully, will inspire you. Feel free to giggle. I can laugh about it now too, almost.

March was an exciting month. I was asked to be the featured contributor for the Ridgewood Arts and Recreation Artist Showcase. It came together quickly and we had 36 large prints hanging on the walls by the end of the first week. Then they suggested an artist’s reception. I love parties! Yes! Great idea and I was sure that I could pull it all together … myself. I watch the DYI channel and the FOOD network. I’m creative, love to cook, have a healthy understanding of social media, I could handle this. I am a solopreneur, hear me roar!

I actually said to myself, ‘It is only 2 hours. If it was 3 I might need to rethink this.’ Yep, there is a HUGE difference there.

My To Do list:

  • Create event promotional material
  • Distribute event promotional material
  • Determine party theme
  • Obtain and coordinate party décor
  • Block out the 3 calendar days before the event for prep time – Yes, I honestly thought that was a good use of my time.
  • Determine party food
  • Buy and prepare party food – Yes, I said prepare because, remember, it was just 2 hours so I could handle it.  
  • Get new outfit – Well, I had to look good!
  • Day of event: Get manicure and massage, get dressed, make 15 year old son load car and unload car at the event, set up and have a great time

See any problems with this? 

I might have noticed a few if I actually saw it written out like this but I had my memory joggers on various sticky notes scattered around my work area. Note to self: when you write things on pretty, pink, tiny slips of paper anything seems possible. STOP DOING THAT!

Want to know what really happened? OK, here is the actual list.

  • Create event promotional material
    • Obsess over event promotional material. Rework event promotional material at 4:00am: who needs sleep? Distribute promotional material through known channels.  Realize that a marketing person could have done this in 1/3 of the time, reached a lot more people and I would have had 100% of that time free. Kick myself and realize that Sabrina McEntee and Becky Livingston would smack me if they knew. OK, they wouldn’t actually smack me but Becky would think about it.
  • Determine party theme: it is me so it was lots of purple and comfort food - that was quick.
    • Go to party store and purchase enough purple paper products (say that three times fast) for 6 parties. Italians always prepare for the invasion. Obsess over food platters. Go back to party store and exchange platters and buy more purple stuff because there is never too much. (The massive box of unused purple products in my dining room tells a different story.)
  • Watch freak snow storm hit the week before event week.
  • Use the days you had set aside for party prep to reschedule clients
  • Freak out!
    • Try yoga and meditation to calm down. Stubbornly cling to the idea that you can get it all done! Realize you have two nights to make everything. Wish you liked wine.
  • Spend the first night making whoopee pies until the wee hours
  • Two days before event realize you have nothing to wear and race to the store between clients to grab something!
  • Spend the second night making cupcakes and cutting up cheese
  • Get the kindest call from Christine Figliuolo with encouragement, asking if I had any questions.
    • YES! How do I get this done? Get great ideas on where to get prepared food. Awesome! Go to get prepared food. It was just crudité, I was going to buy it prepared but seriously, how hard is it to cut vegetables? Wonder if I need therapy. Realize I could have hired Christine who would have gotten all of this done for me and saved me the cost of therapy. Kick myself again.
  • Spend morning of the event cutting vegetables and cursing
  • Cancel manicure and massage, both of which were sorely needed, and settle for quick shower and massive amounts of caffeine
  • Bribe less than excited 15 year old to load car
  • Bring new clothes, and something else just in case, on hangers to event because setting up was going to be messy
  • Get to event venue and see 4 amazing women waiting to save me! Susan, Michele, Jennifer and Stephanie, you all have wings and halos in my book.
  • Run to change clothes while they set up.
    • Realize I hate my ‘new’ outfit, put on the backup outfit and wish I’d talked to Martha Fickinger. I was wearing uncomfortable heels so when I kicked myself it really hurt.
  • Spend 2 hours with wonderful people who came to support me, praying I looked calm and collected.
  • At the end of the event, give away 80% of the food I made – the Italian thing, remember?
  • Go home and collapse

Lesson learned: Solopreneur doesn’t mean you have to do everything solo!

There are so many wonderful resources in this organization and I should have reached out to them. I survived the event but I didn’t have to make it a ninja challenge for myself. So, if you think you need to do it all yourself to ‘save’ time or money or whatever, please do as I say and not as I did. I know I will do it differently next time. (I hid the pink sticky notes.)

Oh, and here is where I would share the wonderful photos from the event… BUT I DIDN’T HIRE A PHOTOGRAPHER! You have no idea how big the bruise was from that kick!


Jean Terman - Recovering Ninja ;)


  • 04/26/2017 4:51 PM | Anonymous
    Lots of lessons there my dear Jean! Lovely event. I loved being featured and winning your give away as well. So you did good in my book...yet the biggest take away here is that no one does it alone. We all need connection and support and to know our own value.

    Cheers to your next event and to change and transformation! Cheers to capturing the moment as well!

    xo Randi
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