Before Samantha Kelly’s father passed away, he told her: “We only have to think of one little thing that nobody else has thought of, and we’ll be millionaires.”
What’s Kelly’s “thing?” Twitter. It transformed her life. She went from a total novice supporting her own entrepreneurial venture to becoming the Tweeting Goddess, a social media influencer and consultant for small businesses. She gave a TEDx talk. Kelly also founded the Women’s Inspire Network (WIN), an organization that connects hundreds of female entrepreneurs around the world, creating a support system that helps them grow their businesses.
Sound amazing? WIN’s annual conference will take place virtually on Oct. 13, 2021. Learn how you can become the “go-to” expert in your field. Read on to learn more about the power of Twitter, why Kelly launched the network and more details about the event!
First foray into entrepreneurship
Every entrepreneur has a moment that inspires them to start a business. Kelly’s was close to home. Her daughter was navigating the awkward milestone of her first period, and Kelly wanted to give her a starter kit or gift box to make the experience less “icky.” She hit a snag at the supermarket. What she was looking for didn’t exist.
“I decided there and then, in the supermarket aisle, that I was going to do this gift box for girls. I always say to people, if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it yourself.”
Kelly’s sister helped her make a website and started a Twitter account. At the time, Kelly barely even used Facebook. She started following people she admired. Socializing online with moms, single dads and sisters. It didn’t take long for her to get the hang of it.
“I took to it like a duck to water,” said Kelly. “It worked so well for my business.”
Kelly was invited to participate in a TV show called Dragon’s Den. It’s the UK’s Shark Tank. That’s when Kelly witnessed the raw power of Twitter. “I ended up crying on the show because I was reminded of my dad, so I was ‘the girl that cried on Dragon’s Den’.
“I saw the power of storytelling and the power of showing the human behind the business on social media.”
After Kelly sold her first startup, she focused on Twitter. As the Tweeting Goddess, she helped other businesses with their social media.
“Becoming the woman I needed to meet”
When she launched her first startup, Kelly didn’t have prior experience, a business background or – well, money. She needed to teach herself how to run a business. At the time, she said that it was incredibly difficult to find another woman who would sit down with her, listen to her ideas and offer assistance. She wanted encouragement from other women she could relate to. Networking events felt too stiff and formal.
What made it even more complicated was her sense of isolation. She was exclusively working at home. It’s a familiar story now, but this was pre-pandemic. Kelly couldn’t work in a traditional office or go to many events due to frequent medical appointments for her daughter. It made her wonder about the well-being of other women in the same position – working from home and seeking connection with others.
She couldn’t find what she was looking for, so she created it herself.
A network of female entrepreneurs
The Women’s Inspire Network brings together female entrepreneurs around the world – and yes, the W-I-N is intentional! Members have access to weekly coffee chats, webinars, mentoring and major networking events.
This year will be the 9th Annual Women’s Inspire Network Conference, which features eleven speakers. The theme is “Going Global”. You’ll learn how you can build a business with nothing more than a phone and Wi-Fi. One of the speakers, Emma O’Toole, did just that. With help from WIN, she grew her yoga business. She had been holding classes at the local town hall but now teaches clients from around the world.
Like last year, the conference will be virtual. But to Kelly, that’s a strength. While she’s based in Ireland, attendees have come from as far away as New York, Singapore and New Zealand. Women wanted the sense of connection that they couldn’t get from physical groups due to COVID. During 2020, Kelly said that WIN’s membership went up 28 percent.
“I created WIN because I needed it myself. I know that it’s not easy to start a business. It takes courage, resilience and a good support network around you. We have so many questions right now about the pandemic or Brexit. We have to keep learning and adapting,” she said. “I like being there and being able to help these women to get to the next stage. I don’t want to go and be successful and leave people behind, I want to bring them with me, and show them, ‘Look, this is how I did this’.”
The power of public speaking
Kelly will be one of the speakers during the conference, talking about how to increase your visibility online. Her tips for landing speaking gigs? Make sure to do the legwork.
“Put yourself forward and get to know the organizers of events. Say, ‘I’d love to speak at an event’.”
Kelly found success in public speaking after an event organizer was in the audience of one of her talks. They asked her to speak at their event, too. From there, it was a domino effect. She did some talks for free, and then organizers began offering to pay her. Now, she can charge for her time.
Don’t see yourself as a speaker? Don’t think you have anything to add to the conversation? It’s time to rethink that.
“If I came to you and said, someone’s just dropped out and I need a speaker to present on a topic for 20 minutes. It doesn’t even have to be business-related. What topic could you speak about with no preparation? Everybody has a topic they’re passionate about,” she said. “I could talk about Twitter, being online, livestreaming or women’s networks. Think about it like you’re an expert in that topic. So, if anyone’s listening and they feel like they can’t add value, you always can. If you’ve got an area of expertise, that’s your niche that someone else in the audience won’t know.”
Online advice from the Tweeting Goddess
Her final practical tips come back to social media. Above all else, know where your audience is. It might be Twitter. It might be TikTok. Think about their usage, too. As the Tweeting Goddess, Kelly works with journalists, small business owners, artists and other professionals. Most of these people are checking up on emails and chatting on social media in the late evening between 9:30 and 11 p.m. If your audience is busy moms, you’d want to post in the afternoon as they waited to pick their kids up from school.
And if you’re a female entrepreneur, you should consider joining a network.
“I’m a member because I can’t ask for support from others unless I support them back. It’s important that we support each other, especially after this pandemic. If you have knowledge to share, share your knowledge, assist others and be kind as well. Don’t bitch about others. Don’t tweet anything you don’t want to be read in court. Just keep it positive!”
Join the Conference
Interested in attending the Women’s Inspire Network Conference? Be sure to sign up before Oct. 13! WIN21Global will take place virtually between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. GMT.