We just did our fifth, Internet-based radio show–We’re Entrepreneurs. We Can Help–Women on the Edge. For several months, I played around with the idea of a weekly radio show. Then last fall I asked my friends Anne Larson and Bruce Lehnertz if they were interested in collaborating with me on it. They both trust me way more than they should, and said “sure!”
Well, two months and a lot of gray hairs later (not mine, mind you. at least I’m not admitting it), we’ve got a few not-so-great, and two very good shows under our belt and on Des Moines Amplified. The concept is to facilitate a discussion with local folks who are stepping out on the edge–starting businesses, hatching new ideas, solving problems, offering resources. In short, doing the deal. I described the concept to a friend at lunch yesterday, and she said, “It sounds progressive.” That’s what we’re going for.
Progressive. Creative. Upbeat. Fun.
Today I visited with two women entrepreneurs in areas traditionally dominated by males–LeAnn Ely owns Terre d’Esprit Farm, where she raises meat goats. One of her mentors told her not to do it, and that just made her want to prove she could. She said the challenges often come from unexpected sources–her customers, who may not be accustomed to dealing with businesswomen. And the government, which often insists on talking to her husband! In addition to her goat farm, LeAnn is raising a family and working a full time job. Talk about multi-tasking!
Kenna Neighbors recently opened Seed, an urban garden shop in the Des Moines’ East Village. It’s her second business, and she is wildly successful! She started her landscape business a while ago, and now has 27 employees (LeAnn has about 27 goats. hmmmmm) After trying jobs in retail, Kenna decided, “I’m just not a pantyhose kind of girl.” Like many women, she started her company after fleeing a wreck of a marriage and wondering, “How am I going to feed my kids?” along with a love for digging in the dirt. She blew a horse manure source’s mind by lifting a handful up to her nose. “This is what I want!”
Talking with Kenna and LeAnn made me even more excited about doing the show, and about my own business. I’m still not sure what radio has to do with Next Step, but I’m pretty sure that more will be revealed. I think I was a frustrated entrepreneur for all those years I worked for Iowa State University, and I’m grateful they put up with me. But I was always on the edge of the organization, and now I’m learning why. In yoga, we talk about pushing the edge. Women start about twice as many businesses as men; maybe we’re just more compelled to go out on that edge.