In the beginning stages of my business I decided to invest in several meet-ups for three reasons.
1) I wanted some feedback on my website, on my branding and some general advice for how to make it better,
2) With all the resources and content I consume online I wanted to know how and where to focus my attention. (I also touched on this topic in my last blog post “Finding Focus: The Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome”) and
3) I wanted to find other creatives to connect with, build community, and share encouragement.
When you're just starting out it's easy to feel kinda alone and I wanted to meet some like-minded people to help me grow and be challenged. So here are the 3 different types of meet-ups I did, what I took away from them and how similar ones can help you.
The Business Coach
I chose to hire a business coach, to get some feedback, to know if I was going in the right direction and I had a lot of other questions related to how to succeed with an online business.
I hired Laura from Paper and Honey who was amazing. I was really impressed by her branding and website and that’s what first got me thinking that she would be a good coach for me. I could say that she was exactly what I needed.
Although she specializes in calligraphy now she began as a graphic designer, which is what I was wanting. I found her through a photographer I follow who did her product styling and photography.
Communication was smooth and leading up to our 75 min Skype call I was excited and relieved, knowing someone could give individual attention to me and my business. She sent me a detailed questionnaire beforehand that I filled out and sent back to her to make the most of our time. And she delivered.
We immediately connected and she gave me some awesome feedback on my current branding and direction for where to go next and how to get there. There is no substitute for face to face connections (even if it’s over Skype). Having the chance for her to go through my website page by page and give immediate feedback was priceless.
She also was able to give me advice from her own experience and how she has grown her business, obtained clients, and expanded her reach through social media. I work really well with one-on-one interactions and this is definitely one I would love to do again.
She also was such an encouragement and it was great to know she thought I was on the right track. Like I said earlier, it's easy to feel all alone or get tunnel vision, but it’s great to have someone who really believes in what you’re doing.
Lastly, she sent a follow-up email with invaluable resources specific to what I am needing in my business journey now. I cannot recommend her more highly and having a coach in general is wonderful for clarity, direction and encouragement.
Pricing: One of the tricky things about finding a coach is that the price can sky rocket. If you’re just starting out, it can be tricky. Laura offered a one-time session for $109 and you can book her as often or as little as you want. Which was exactly what I was looking for.
There are several other coaches out there that I would love to work with as well but they require consecutive months of working with them, which I cannot afford at the moment. So for now I’ll need to stick to my budget.
But regardless of how much or how little you can spend, it’s a terrific investment because it's a chance to get individual feedback, it gives you the direction, tried and true resources and insights you can use from someone who has succeeded in their field.
The Creative Chics Coffee & Collaborations
the small group / 10 ladies
The small group get-together, that was calendar-wise the last of the 3 engagements, proved to be one of the most fun and enjoyable. Hosted by Abigail Pumphrey of Think Creative Collective, it was a chance for 10 business owners to get together over coffee and talk about their businesses, share struggles, offer encouragement and give advice and support.
This was real face time, where we all sat together and went around asking questions of our business, we could get feedback and it was such a great time with like-minded women who want to grow their business.
A facet I loved about the group was that we were in all stages of business, you had some who had "achieved the dream" of working for themselves, those of us who still have a day job, those who have been blogging for years, and some of us who had just started in 2016.
It was a diverse group of creative talent but we all had the point in common that we wanted to grow and see each other succeed. Something I loved was that we got honest with where we are right now. No pretending, no acting like you have it all figured out, we were real and it was refreshing.
I loved the honesty, the genuine interactions, the encouragement and all the feedback I received for R Artspace. It was something that was very beneficial and nourishing for me. I love interacting with like-minded people and this was definitely the place to do that.
Abagail said that they have Creatives Chics all over the US, so if you’re not in Kansas City but want to look for a meet-up with other creatives, check out www.thinkcreativecollective.com and contact Emily or Abagail to find out more.
Or, if you know of other creatives in your area, schedule a meet up. I highly recommend it. It lifts you up, shows you you’re not alone and is actual face-to-face and heart-to-heart interactions that won't leave you disappointed. It was awesome and I can’t wait to attend more.
The Design Mini-Conference
larger community / About 60 attendees
I go into depth about all I learned at this Mini-Conference in my post “Take-Aways from a Design Mini Conference.” But to give you the main points, this was another opportunity to get in the same room with a bunch of like-minded people. It was apart of Kansas City Design Week and the event I attended was called Creative Entrepreneur 101.
Out of the 3 interactions, this one was the biggest in attendees and scale. Creatives had the chance to ask questions, soak up valuable information from the speakers who are succeeding in their businesses and we had an opportunity to network.
It began at 8:30 in the morning and ended with a happy hour around 5pm. It was an all-day event of multiple sessions covering all the topics of being a creative entrepreneur. The conference covered topics such as “How to Know When You’re Ready to Start” “Making Your Business Legit: the Legal stuff” “Partnerships and Communication,” “Marketing Yourself” “Dealing with Clients,” “Branding,” and “Fun and Profit: Creative Vision.”
I found every topic useful and had a take-away for myself and/or my business. A lot of times I consume content online and it was really cool to be in the same room as the speaker and with other creatives. There’s something about the energy and the excitement of being in the same room that makes it so much more interesting and relatable.
Although the conference targeted creative entrepreneurs I found it to be a bit broad. And because the information was a little general and not specific, a lot of the information didn't help to focus or fine-tune my niche.
The people I met were fun and I enjoyed meeting everyone and was able to start some friendships. I did love being in the same room and taking in information in person, rather than online but for next time I have some conferences in mind that are more narrowed in my field and in my industry. They are also more expensive and require cross-country travel, but for now, the Creative Entrepreneur 101 conference apart of the Kansas City Design Week was great.
I would recommend anyone interested in entrepreneurship, business, design or a creative field to attend a conference on the topic. It's a great opportunity to listen to amazing speakers, you can glean a lot of their wisdom from their successes and failures, it's a chance to network and it allows you to experience the excitement and energy of people who have similar interests and goals.
And there you have it. Have you done any types of these in-person meet ups? What do you think about coaching or a small group or even a conference? I would love to hear your thoughts and if you have any questions, let me know!