written by Ella Henderson
Here at Minga HQ we’re still buzzing from our recent announcement that we are now offering individual coaching AND working with other businesses to integrate kick-ass experiences into their mix of products and services. It is exciting and a little scary to step into this new reality, but the thing is that we really know our stuff around workshops and we are really excited to start sharing what we’ve learned more intentionally.
Creating experiences for people is the absolute core of Minga’s business. We’ve built a reputation around running skill-focused workshops that are lean, functional, and as affordable as possible for the participants. If you show up expecting to butcher a pig, you will see the pig as soon as you walk in the door and you’ll have your knife working within 20 minutes. If you show up to forage for mushrooms, you’ll be out and about rain or shine, filling your basket (as long as mother nature provides). You show up, the space is practical and has the necessary equipment, the instructor knows what they are talking about, you learn by doing, and then you leave with some of the stuff you produced in the workshop and the confidence as well as the instructions on how to do it again. The ticket price is enough to cover the insurance, the venue, the instructor, the materials and a small (SMALL) take-home for Minga staff. Simple.
That lean style was a deliberate choice because Minga started from a place of wanting re-skilling knowledge to be as accessible as possible. That was priority number one and the people that it appealed to (the community that we have been building), has been the doers, DIY-ers, the Preppers, the people who make their own granola, return used egg cartons, buy milk in glass bottles, ride their bikes, and probably have coconut oil on hand at all times…you know the type…(I am one of them and I firmly believe that we will save the world, one re-used ziplock bag at a time!!). Now that we’re maturing as a company though, we’re starting to think… just because it’s hand-made, does that mean the sweater really has to be scratchy? Do the seats really have to be so hard? Wouldn’t a glass of wine here and there be just lovely?
Having planned and executed a whole lot of events both pre-Minga and in-Minga that have run the gamut from professional development, to team-building retreats, to group travel, to hands-on workshops, one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned is to know your audience… AND know yourself.
Knowing your audience (or market) is something that anyone who is planning any kind of event, product, or service has heard so often that it is pretty much a no-brainer… although we all still manage to mess it up from time to time. Knowing YOURSELF is something that can be easily overlooked when we are so focused on producing something of use or value for others. BUT (yes I can start a sentence with a “but” because I’m excited about this point!) what you deliver HAS.GOT.TO.BE.GENUINE!; a true reflection of what you want to deliver to the world because the experience that you create is your gift to the people who participate in it. If it’s not, your people will be able to tell. They can smell a phoney from a mile away and it feels icky to be a participant in someone else’s pretence. You do you.
Here are a few simple thought prompts to get you into how to show up as yourself in the experiences you create.
What do you LOVE to talk about?
What topic or topics get you on the edge of your seat, laser focused,
(with friends) hungry to learn ALL. THE. THINGS? Whether it’s cloth diapers, or roof shingles, don’t be ashamed of that energy, use it to fuel you to light that spark in other people.
What feels a little scary? You are not going to move anything in your life if you don’t push your boundaries and lean into a some discomfort. Is there a dream, an ambition, a topic that you’ve been keeping close to your chest?
What spaces are you most comfortable in? Are you most at ease in your workshop where you know your tools so well you can find them with your eyes closed? Do you love the feeling of a clean, chic kitchen? Do you need quiet to be able to focus or do you love the energy of a busy marketplace? When you feel at ease, you will be more able to connect and communicate with the people who are there to learn from you.
HOW do you want to share your genius? Do you actually like physically standing with and leading a group of people or does the thought of that make you want to vomit and hide under a rock? Are you most clear when you are writing or speaking? If you are creating an experience, you get to set the rules of engagement, so make them ones that play to your strengths… and find other people to help you with the pieces where you feel weak.
What stories are you holding onto about expertise and leadership? Do you have ideas about what it takes to be qualified to teach or lead? Don’t wait to feel like you know everything before you can share what you DO know. Notice your stories, background, or assumptions,
limiting beliefs thank them for trying to keep you safe, and then gently step around them, fill gaps where necessary, and move forward anyway.
Whatever experiences you are planning for your people, whoever they may be, and ESPECIALLY if it is a piece of your own business (and you intend to stay in business for a while), do everyone a favour and be sure that “you do you.” If you’d like some help with what that could look like, we would really like to chat with you. firstname.lastname@example.org.