I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Savvy Experience in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the end of August. Even though it was almost three weeks ago now, I think I’m still coming down from the creative high! My head has been spinning with All. The. Ideas. In the entrepreneurial world, we talk a lot about connection with others, since so many of us work alone on a day-to-day basis (even if we work with clients or have a partner). I definitely crave connection and interaction, so attending this conference was a no-brainer for me. The speaker line-up was out of this world, and I got to meet some of my business mentors in person as well as see a few old friends.
Before the conference began Sunday afternoon, the members of the Savvy Business Circle, a group coaching program, who were attending got together for brunch with a few of the local Circle members who weren’t attending. Most of us had never met in person but took a six-month journey to grow our businesses. Walking into the restaurant felt like walking into a reunion with a group of old friends. We caught up on life and business, had a delicious meal, and laughed so hard.
One of the primary goals for me when I thought about registering for the Savvy Experience was to learn. And man, did I learn! The speaker takeaways at this event were incredible. The schedule was packed with amazing women sharing their expertise. On the first day, Monique Melton talked about creating a S.W.E.E.T. client experience; Cathy Olson taught about selling online (informational products as well as physical products); Annette Stepanian explained how to whip our businesses into legal shape; Rachel Hofstetter explained the “good story martini” when pitching ideas for publication (and the important notion of “give, give, get”); Abagail Pumphrey and Emylee Williams talked about blogging; Katie Hunt talked about hiring and outsourcing; Eliana Baucicault spoke about having a “mother brand”; and Reina Pomeroy talked about success and taught me that I am a builder, not a skyscraper!). I left the conference room with a notebook full of ideas and a head spinning from so much good information — and, if I’m being transparent, a wish for a nap before dinner.
Day Two was just as information-packed and good. Jessica Rasdall talked about turning your mess into a message and discovering your story; Heidi Yarger taught four ways to elevate your digital brand (where I confirmed what I suspected: I have some work to do on my website!); Alisha Johns spoke about social media strategy and outsourcing; Amber Housely talked about marketing and metrics; Kristin Kaplan talked about pricing; Mary Beth Storjohann spoke about money and finances; Danielle Miller talked about Pinterest; and Courtney Johnston taught up the “sales page framework.” Again I left the conference room wishing for a bigger notebook and, yes, time for a nap before dinner.
As a defector from the book publishing world, I can tell you that the details at creative conferences are like no other. Don’t get me wrong: I love swag like dictionaries and Post-Its as much as the next gal, but come on: Those goodies don’t quite compare with beach towels, journals, disco-ball cups, and so much more. It’s more than just the swag, though. It’s about walking in and feeling like you’re home. You’re with like-minded friends. The parties are fun (HELLO, fun cocktails each night), but it’s the conversation and connections that make these events worth every penny — and then some. If you crave connection like I do, look into a creative conference. Make the investment. You won’t be sorry.
And lest you think it was all fun and games and parties, we also spent time one evening cutting patterns to be made into shoes for Ugandan children. Chiggers and other diseases are a huge problem there because Ugandans don’t have shoes to protect their feet. We each brought a pair or two of old denim and traced/cut patterns for the shoes. I’m not sure what the grand total was for our group, but I know my table cut enough fabric for about 20 pairs of shoes. Not only does this charity provide shoes that prevent chiggers and other medical issues, but it also provides jobs for local people. Win-win!
If Heather Crabtree decides to host this event again next year (and I am not alone in hoping that she does — or in trying to talk her into it), you’ll see me there again, soaking in all the connections, all the speakers’ knowledge, and all the girl time with my biz besties new and old.