What is a Youpreneur?
What is a youpreneur? I get asked that question when I wear the t-shirt out in public. I’ve been asked about youpreneurs while working at my laptop, poolside at the Sheraton in San Diego, California. I’ve been asked about the Youpreneur t-shirt while hiking on the trail in Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.
I don’t wear the t-shirt at the office since it doesn’t work within my employer’s dress code, but I do occasinonaly wear the new Youpreneur wristband I got at the inaugural Youpreneur Summit in London in 2017. The event was hosted by speaker and author, Chris Ducker, and his team.
Oddly, no one at my office has ever asked “what is a youpreneur?” when I’m wearing the conference swag, but that’s OK. It has important meaning to me and provides reminders.
It’s a reminder of the value an entrepreneur reaps when connected to other entrepreneurs. There’s a lot to be said for being part of a “go-to” group that speaks your language and shares in your excitement about helping others as you build your brand. I have made these valuable connections within a couple of Facebook groups, a LinkedIn group, and definitely within the Youpreneur community.
After making some shifts in my career path this past summer, some of which were not originally a part of my plan, it was a group effort among God, my husband, Scott, my mom, Lucille, and and my fellow entrepreneurs who helped me find solid ground to stand on amidst change. That same supportive network helped me as I launched my consulting business.
A life jacket in rough seas
For an entrepreneur, there are many pluses to being among like-minded, personal brand entrepreneurs who gather to talk about business – either online or in person. The support is like a life jacket in a rough sea. The Youpreneur Summit was like one, giant life jacket to me.
To mastermind together, to network, to learn from presenters who are further down the road in establishing a brand, yet completely willing to step down from a stage and hang out with entrepreneurs in the audience, was an amazing experience.
The decision that Scott and I made for me to purchase a ticket to Summit and travel to London, while I was also developing a new business that did not yet have cash flow, was one of the best we’ve made. I’m only wishing that Scott had attended with me. He stayed back to look after the farm.
At Summit, I loved the melding of minds from across the globe. The speakers were relatable and the energy in the room from the 350 in attendance was palpable.
Ideas were churning. Entrepreneurs were encouraging each other, and also making suggestions for turns of direction, or claiming the need to call a full stop to something that was no longer working. The authenticity was gold.
Many of the attendees were my fellow Youpreneurs within the online membership community, Youpreneur Academy, which is also hosted by Chris Ducker. I have heard him labeled a serial entrepreneur. He owns several successful businesses. He has a knack for bringing very diverse populations of entrepreneurs together for the purpose of growing personal brands.
Global peace among Youpreneurs
At a time of such global unrest, I treasured the global peace that was in the convention center during Youpreneur Summit. There were no skin color barriers, profit margin barriers, religious barriers. Instead, it was a hugely diverse collection of people who wanted to help each other grow.
A couple weeks before flying to London, I had a message laid on my heart one weekend when Scott and I were playing in our church’s worship band for a women’s retreat. What I gained in that moment was clarity on the major shift in direction in my business.
Around the mastermind tables at Summit, each time I shared my backstory, and the new business idea I was noodling, my fellow Youpreneurs were lighting up as I talked, and were speaking encouragement and wisdom into my business.
Morphing my business idea to Virtual Learning Tours
Since that time, I have opened my new website, Virtual Learning Tours, where my husband and I post video content and active learning lessons to enrich learning experiences for kids and kids at heart. The content stems from our llama and pony farm, and our lives as singer/songwriters. I’ve been able to make many connections between the content within the learning portal and our farm business and music studio. It is now, also, an online component for the students who train llamas with me on our farm in the summer – allowing them to stay connected to the farm and llama antics (or llama drama) throughout the year. Their siblings and other family members (adults included) are finding that they like to log in for the latest video added to the site.
A slow go
It’s definitely a slow go … working in the evenings and on the weekends to build the content, and to get processes put in place so that the business is not limited by my capacity. But it feels so much more in my zone of genius than other business ideas I have pursued prior to this one.
I first started on the adventure as an entrepreneur in August 2012, and have nearly thrown in the towel on several occasions. It is not easy when you’re working in a more-than-full-time job, running a farm, performing in a band, and caring for an elderly parent.
But the quest to build a successful business is so worth it to me. It’s the best outlet I have found for my need to be creative, and for my need to be a lifelong learner who is serving others. The professional development I have pursued as an entrepreneur has also energized me with ideas and new processes to implement for my employers. Everyone has benefitted.
I hope that I am in some way, providing inspiration to you in the way that other entrepreneurs, Youpreneurs, have been to me.
Personal outcomes from the Youpreneur Summit
In addition to building my new site, I have also been on the phone interviewing my customers and listening to their needs and interests. I have done a pre-launch of the site to invite “Program Champions” to join early in the development of the content and get a discounted price on their annual membership.
Another decision I made while in London was to morph my podcast, Online Course Connections, into a show that aligns with my development of the content for Virtual Learning Tours.
One step at a time
I’m taking it all one step at a time. Deep breaths. Slow and steady. Grateful for each new day and each new bit of progress.
The Youpreneur wristband swag is a way for me to remember that my goals are far bigger than the space enclosed by the three walls of my cube. And, that it’s OK to be a little different.
The wristband also seems to activate a quiet voice that keeps me energized to meet and surpass my employer’s goals too. “Be an entrepreneur driving towards goals, being authentic, caring for the people around you, solving problems for customers,” no matter if you’re working for an employer or leading your own enterprise.
Rise of the Youpreneur
I got inspired to write this blog post and to return to consistent blogging after writing a review in Amazon for Chris Ducker’s new book, Rise of the Youpreneur. I highly recommend it. I am really grateful to Chris for giving all of us a complimentary copy during his conference last November. I started reading it on the plane ride back to the States! The following is an affiliate link that will take you to the book as it is listed in Amazon:
Here is a copy of the review I wrote about the book in Amazon: I have masterminded with Chris Ducker in San Diego and 5 other entrepreneurs, and have attended his inaugural Youpreneur Summit in London in 2017. In so doing, I have had the honor of meeting some of the entrepreneurs featured in this book, Rise of the Youpreneur. What I so appreciate about this read is that Chris not only provides the nuts and bolts for putting together a productive life as an entrepreneur, but he shares the stories of a variety of people who are using those same nuts and bolts, and making it work. I was just re-reading the section about Roger Edwards who is making a go of life as an entrepreneur and speaker after leaving corporate life. I really resonate with Roger’s story. It’s a slow, steady go. Roger and his story have become a “light at the end of the tunnel” for me as I work to build my business as a side hustle while also building curriculum and programs for business students of my employer in higher education. This isn’t a book about overnight success. This is a book that demonstrates the value of engaging in community, setting goals, listening to your customers as they describe their needs, and keeping focus.
Vickie is an elearning strategist, course designer, speaker, musician and farm girl. She is the creator of Virtual Learning Tours about llama and pony farm life, and life as a musician. She hosts videos and creates active learning exercise to enrich learning for kids and kids at heart. Vickie also consults in the area of online programming development and works in executive education for a world-class university. She earned her MS Ed in learning design and technology from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Purdue University. She is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. Her career has spanned over 30 years in positions in corporate America and continuing education in academia.