BossTalk is not a typical networking group.
For starters, it’s for women only.
And it’s not just an opportunity for businesswomen to exchange business cards and promote their goods and services.
Gilbert author-speaker La’Vista Jones created the monthly meeting in July 2018 as a “place for us to come together to share stories about what’s going on along the entrepreneurial journey and to share vulnerabilities with one another about the struggles, issues with overwhelm that we all deal with.”
“It’s a place for us to come and get needs met,” Jones said. “The hope is that a woman here in the room either has an answer to that problem or is connected with someone who is.”
Jones launched a consultant company, 31Marketplace, in 2005 but returned to corporate work from 2008 to 2014. Her company helps small business owners with their operations and self-care and merging the two together.
Her BossTalk group meets monthly with a focus on different topics, such as how to use “love language” in business. At a recent gathering before social-distancing guidelines were issued, the group looked at “love-building a business” through words of affirmation.
“It’s about how you share the love with your customer as you’re on-boarding them,” she explained, “how you take care of the people you do work with and also making sure you have a system in place to collect testimonials so you’re actually getting those love letters sent to you.”
“If your love letter is high on words of affirmation, than that’s just going to help recharge your battery as you’re just doing the normal day-in and day-out stuff in your business.”
Jones, who currently runs the monthly sessions virtually at lavistajones.com during the widespread closure of businesses, takes the approach of sharing the journey of each person’s story by interviewing one participant.
“Typically, I sit down with an entrepreneur and I interview her,” Jones said. “And I talk to her about different aspects of her journey – like what causes ‘overwhelm,’ what has been the biggest failure in the business and learning from that failure.
“The hope is the story will resonate with one of the other women in the audience to let them know, ‘I’m not the only one that deals with this stuff in my business,’: she said. “I think a lot of the times we see the highlight reels from other people in the business, and it’s like, ‘She’s out there speaking or she’s got this book or this is happening or that is happening.’
“And that’s great but you don’t see the struggle behind the scenes, where she got rejected from that speaking engagement.”
She aims for women to get encouragement from those stories.
Over 150 business owners have come through at least one BossTalk session.
Jones records every session and releases them to members, whether they attend or not. Up to 30 women attend a normal meeting at an admission of $20 per session.
For a monthly membership of $25, members get recordings, a Facebook group to network with women in between the BossTalk sessions, access to members-only events, a business directory for members and monthly guest passes.
She also focuses attention on members’ personal health, both physical and mental.
“Once we get the business running more smoothly and more streamlined, they’ll have some free time to focus on themselves and make them a priority in the business,” said Jones.
“But it’s also building those systems with love languages incorporated in it so as you are actually working in the business, the business is recharging you instead of draining you.”
By discovering a better way to run a business, Jones tells women, “you can get back to making yourself and what you love a priority.”
Ilana Myerson was part of the inaugural BossTalk group.
“It doesn’t feel like your typical networking group – which I love,” said Myerson.
“So, with my business, this focuses me and really sets my mindset. Instead of having the pressure of making a sale, I feel like I’m finding joy in what I’m doing. The happier I am the more I attract.”
After attending the first BossTalk session, Myerson hired two people and gained another five customers within the month “just by being happy.”
“It’s a great place to connect people to what they need,” Myerson said. “Jones does a real good job of finding out what people need and everybody is like, ‘ooh, I can help with that, I know this.’”
“A lot of times we don’t say what our actually company is or what we actually do,” explained Myerson. “We say how we service the community…You’re not pressured to give an elevator pitch.”
The group is not for someone unemployed but for someone who owns their own business or at least has an idea for starting one. And it’s not for women seeking an 8-5 job.
She gears her talks to “business owners who want more from life than frazzled days and sleepless nights” and urges them “to add time back to your day by streamlining processes, identifying operational gaps and outsourcing.”