Jenny Powers is one-woman force behind the exclusive women’s networking community Running with Heels. A life-long New Yorker and a graduate of NYU, Jenny doesn’t believe in strangers, only people she hasn’t met yet. She’s a connector and business owner who approaches all of life with her infectious attitude for fun and her talent for bringing people together. All while in heels, of course! Read our interview with the lovely Jenny below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I was tired of spending my time and money going to traditional networking events yet I still had the desire to meet people – just in a more authentic way. After exhausting all the networking options available to me, I decided to launch my own effort and focus on taking the awkwardness out of face-to-face networking.
Tell us about your business.
Running With Heels is an invitation-only networking community for senior level women executives and business owners. We strategically extend exclusive invitations to a diverse group of women from a variety of backgrounds, skill sets and interests in an effort to encourage the development of mutually beneficial professional and personal relationships. This is not a business card exchange or speed networking event, it’s a curated get-together with friends and business partners you just haven’t met yet. Our signature event which put us on the map is our round-robin dinner party where guests are strategically matched with different dinner companions at each of the three courses in an effort to maximize their networking in a relaxed environment. We also host lunch and learn power luncheons and run a 6-month mastermind program for entrepreneurs called Running With Circles.
- Named Top 5 Special Event Producers in NY State by the International Special Events Society
- Gave a TEDx Talk on “What if you lived your life on purpose?” http://bit.ly/2jlONZv
- iTunes awarded my podcast BroadCast: Broads Building Businesses “New & Noteworthy” within days of the show launching. http://apple.co/29AJ5gB
- Monthly columnist for Daily Worth, the largest financial website for women in the world
- Professional freelance writer
Where is your business based?
I’m based in NYC and we currently host all our events here. We have a virtual mastermind launching in March and will be doing pop-events in different cities/markets this year too.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
- Drafted an event format based on what I liked and didn’t like based on the networking events I’d gone to.
- Put together a focus group to share my concept and get feedback on content, frequency of events, pricing, format etc.
- Took the feedback and fine-tuned the format and recruited ambassadors to share names of women who would add and gain value from such a community.
- Sold jewelry my ex had given to me to CASH FOR GOLD and used the funds to pay for my logo and website to be designed!
- Opened a business bank account and applied for a business credit card, got an EIN # from the government.
- Formed an LLC.
- Signed up with a third party ticketing vendor.
- Partnered with a venue.
- Secured my first speaker.
- And the rest is history!
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
After soliciting feedback from women on what they wanted in a networking event, I asked them to be my ambassadors and connect me with like-minded women to invite into the community. Once women heard we were invitation-only they came beating down our door!
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Finding affordable venues in NY to host events. With so much going on in NYC, often times there are 3-4 other events targeting the same demographic being held the same night. Hosting events in other cities but this is the year I’m finally going to make it happen!
How did you overcome these challenges?
Literally hit the pavement and explored hidden gems in NY to find venues that were suitable, accommodating and affordable. Partnered with other community leaders in an effort to share event dates in advance so we don’t overlap as much as we used to.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I think of my amazing 7 year old daughter Madison and say to myself “How do you want her to see you?” and then I behave accordingly. She wrote a note on a post-it and stuck it over my desk that says “Jenny works hard and she never gives up” so one look at that note in her little handwriting and I know I have to keep on going!
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
By being very approachable and not taking myself too seriously. I personally answer every email although I’ll be the first to admit it may take a while and I strive to treat every client as if they are my favorite client.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Say no more. Say no to good so you can say yes to great.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Self-care is not self-ish it is self-preservation!
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
I love the Breather app for booking convenient and cost-effective meeting spaces in NY. I live and die by Evernote Premium. I find a fair amount of my clients through LinkedIn.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The SuperWoman’s Guide to Super Fulfillment: Step-by-Step Strategies to Create Work-Life” by Dr. Jaime Kulaga.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’m looking into different U.S. markets to determine what cities I should begin doing pop-up events in. Once I see there’s an interest or need, I’ll look for help from women in those markets to serve as ambassador and help spread the word about the event.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
- To have selected one city in the first quarter to do a pop-up dinner party, recruit a few ambassadors and find a venue.
- I’ll be tapping into my network to gather intel of different markets and determining who I can call on for help in those cities.