• Colleen Watson

Preparing to Present: My Journey to Denver Startup Week

Hello my fellow small business people. Hope things are going well. One of the things I’ve discovered on my journey: there is always something new to learn. And, one really great conference designed for entrepreneurs of all types and stripes is coming up soon. Denver Startup Week (September 19-23) is a free (yes free!) in-person event. It managed to attract over 10,000+ people last year with a hybrid format, and they work to impress. Returning to an all in-person extravaganza this year, it’s a great place to network and learn while surrounded by amazing scenery. And this year, I’m presenting! My workshop, Rock Start ‘About Me’ Pages for Non-Writers, is happening on Friday, the 23rd, at 1 PM and I am pumped. Still, preparing for a big event requires a bit of a runway. Come with me on the next few posts as we taxi down to take-off




Proposals are Nerve Wracking


As someone who has never been asked for her hand in marriage (yes, I’m fine with it) I never considered the courage it takes for a big ask. While not the rest of my life, this was not a process that grated on the nerves. To get to this point requires quite a few steps:


  1. Figure out what type of program to propose (this was the easiest part)

  2. Choose my track (there are 8 available) and write up the proposal. This included creating the title and writing the course description and script for the video I was required to shoot.

  3. Record the video (Thank you to my friend Rene for being my photographer/videographer for this journey!)

  4. Post the completed video and submit the completed proposal form

  5. Activate my network to vote for my submission. Denver Startup Week lets the community vote on what sessions they want included in the final schedule. For this, I went to work emailing my friends, colleagues, current & former clients and networking groups I belong to, both online and in-person

  6. Spend the day they said they were going to announce to the presenters, June 30th, in an anxious haze while continually checking my email. Accept, finally at 8 PM that no word was coming. Reluctantly checked it during my break at work the next day at 10:15 AM when I got the Congratulations subject line from DSW.

  7. Do a happy dance

  8. Panic 10 minutes later when I realized that I now need to do this (gulp)

  9. Decide to share this journey with people on my blog (hello)

  10. Get to work

What Was I Thinking?


Hello, Colleen, we all know the reasons: exposure and lead generation. This cannot be overstated for a new business. I did throw my name into the ring for both those reasons. Nor should I feel funny about wanting those things. I started a business as a way to support myself. I need both things to grow it so I can do that. But, if you’re guessing I’m bringing this up because I do, in fact, feel uncomfortable about this, congratulations. You guessed right. My old nemesis imposter syndrome has decided to reassert itself at the worst possible moment. All the meanie monster thoughts float in my head, the ones that make me feel like, who do I think I am, positioning myself as an expert?


For me, there is only one way to fight this, get busy! I have a few things to work on along the way:


  • Update and reconfigure my slide deck

  • Create a handout that they can take with them

  • Create a free offer that isn’t breaking the rules set up by the founders of DSW

  • Create a survey for those who attend to improve it for the next group of visitors

  • Use the success here to market myself to other networking groups


So, I’m going to be busy. Come on the journey with me as I prepare. Why? Because no matter what you do, at some point, you will need to make a presentation. Sometimes it’s to get business, or maybe to get funding, but you will have to do this. I’ll share the journey, including any mistakes, to spare you the stress and struggle and allow you to not repeat them. No, you’ll get to make your own mistakes. Come along.


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