What I learned about Starting Up from attending StartUp Weekend

I feel like I’ve been punched in the face and smacked with glitter, but in a strange way–I really dig it.

StartUp Weekend for me was a whirlwind of emotion, I got to experience amazing highs and bone crushing lows all within the supportive environment of like-minded innovators. Words don’t do justice to this 54-hour business competition. You get to know your teammates incredibly well, and it reminds you of sad goodbyes from summer camp when Sunday evening comes around.

What was so refreshing to get out of the Start-Up weekend experience was a deeper connection to my skill sets and collaborative nature. I spend so much of my time taking the “solo” path behind a computer screen that collaboration has become a faint reminder of my “college group project” days. I learned that I had within me the capacity to build a start-up from idea to an investor pitch ready model within the short time span of 54 hours (Note: If you EVER hear me complain about not being able to do something in my business, you can smack me with glitter ( and make sure it gets in my eyes) because I survived Start-Up Weekend…I am invincible! Ok, maybe not invincible, but you get the point.)

The weekend started out with some networking and lunch tables, which reminded me of a trip down memory lane to my highschool cafeteria days, but if networking kind of gives you the heebie-jeebies, make a mental note to hop on over to my past blog post, How to Rock a Networking Event While Being an Introvert, to calm any nerves. It was actually during this freebie time that I met my teammates for the weekend over a slice of pizza.I wasn’t sure where to sit and they ushered me over to their table and made me feel comfortable. Their idea was workplace wellness and bringing personal trainers to corporate environments. As we discovered during day two in the market research segment of our day — after spending half the day creating an EPIC commercial (Watch the InshapeCT Commercial Here), that original idea wasn’t strong enough. So we pivoted at 5pm on Saturday with less than 24 hours left to build our idea, we decided to go down the corporate culture path. Here’s culture for everybody!

Long story short, we didn’t win on Sunday, but we did walk out with a paying client and valuable insight into the world of starting up that gave us a push in the right direction. I heard someone say that all the participants of StartUp Weekend are winners, and I have to say that I agree with him. I met so many amazing men and women over the weekend that I couldn’t help but smile from all the great vibes and energy being thrown around the room. Doing StartUp Weekend was the best gift that I can give my future clients, because now I feel like I really understand the process. Starting up is NOT easy, but it’s so worth it and it opens new doors of opportunities for you. Remember how I said for year 2 of Inspiremecafe that I would be going pro and expanding? Well, I’m going to do it!

Not sure entirely how just yet, but I do have the confidence within myself to know that I can make things happen. I have something I can share with the world and I am on that path to sharing it. Thank you StartUp Weekend!

Best of Love!

Amanda Rivera is a digital marketing consultant and the founder of Inspiremecafe.com. She has her Masters in Corporate PR and has been published in the Summer 2013 issue of the Law of Attraction Magazine. Tweet her: @amandarivc // @Inspireme_cafe

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