This year is one for the books, y’all.
Seriously. I’m a hometown girl who’s been splitting my time between family, teaching, and my biz. I mean, I left very little room for fun or discovery. Last year, I began tip-toeing out of my comfort zone. This year, I’m starting to walk more into my light and own who I am. The difference is apparent in how I approached the Society for Creative Founders (SCF) conference this fall versus this spring. I noticed it, and it makes my heart so happy to see the growth.
I worked hard to get to this conference. I felt in my soul that I was meant to attend, and if you read my previous post, you know that it’s changed my trajectory. I could not be more grateful for the experience and the friendships I’ve made along the way.
Okay, so the thing you have to know about Kristin is that she doesn’t do this halfway. The entire experience is amazing from preparation to post-conference chats. I’m constantly wowed at how genuine and thoughtful she is. Take the picture below. We all received these prior to the conference, and it makes me smile each time I look at it.
When I arrived at the Pensacola airport, I was ready to dive into the conference. A group of us met at the airport and hopped into a Lyft together and headed for four days at a gorgeous beach house. Upon arrival, we were greeted with smiles and hugs at the door by Kelli, who I became friends with at the spring conference. I mean, tons of squeals and excitement, y’all. We walked upstairs and were warmly greeted with a hug from each of the speakers. This is not a conference where there is an “us” and “them.” There is only US. As I moved throughout the room, I noticed that unlike the year before, I was actually introducing myself. Smiling, laughing, joking, initiating conversations. Who was this girl?
We met upstairs and were officially welcomed to the conference by Kristin. We also introduced ourselves to one another. (Read this to see how that worked out for me…) That night, we ate a yummy dinner before changing into our jammies and chatting about business and life over ice cream. It’s moments like these that let us feel the community we’ve been longing. As a creative, connecting with others who understand those struggles, fears, and wins that you face is invaluable.
The next morning, after a filling breakfast, we met upstairs for a main session with Erin Kendrick. Before I go on, I want to note that Erin’s presence is super-nova bright. I knew I would get something out of her session, but I didn’t know the impact it would have on my ultimate shift during the conference. The more we discussed our voices, the more I realized I wanted to have a deeper meaning in my brand… and that I wanted it to connect with teaching & education. (Lots to unpack as a woman who was looking for a way to step out of the classroom!) I found myself wondering how would I ever reach and inspire others with the experience I’ve gathered over the last few years as a wedding/lifestyle calligrapher and designer. It was certainly a point to tackle.
Next, the incredibly talented Heather O’Brien talked to us about expanding our services, and to be honest, this is where I realized that God was taking me back to where I started. I started off my journey into entrepreneurship by designing packets and activities for teachers. Imagine my elation as ideas flowed freely onto the pages as we talked about collections and planning out our goals and ideas. There was no struggle or trying to think of what others were doing. It was all there. I just had to tap into my reserves!
During lunch, the many of us had so much to talk out! The morning had been intense, but in the best of ways. Many of us realized that we needed to make some serious changes to our businesses. Once we returned upstairs, Ashley Cochrane talked to us about photographers and product photography. Ashley’s so much fun and talented. Her photos about what I dream of when I use my camera, so know that I was inspired, and you’ll see it here soon!
Y’all remember me writing about the fact that I wanted to impove my time management this year? Well, in my next session, Heather O’Brien talked to us about workflows. It’s funny, now, that I could not find a solid workflow to save my life. I know now that it’s because I wasn’t stepping into my calling, but it all led to a greater purpose! In the next year, I’m going to begin doing more custom work, and now I have a guide on how to approach it effectively. (Insert happy dance!)
After wrapping up the day, we got ready for supper at Red Fish Blue Fish. We hopped onto the limobus, (Fancy, I know!) and made our way to the restaurant.
There were a ton of laughs at the restaurant! We were able to eat outside on the deck by the water. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal and would definitely recommend this place, if you’re headed to the Pensacola Beach area.
When dinner was over, some of us decided to do a bit of shopping at a local souvenir store. I picked up a couple of things for some family members before we all hoped on the limobus and headed back to the beach house. Little did any of us know that we were in for the surprise of a lifetime.
The stars aligned for us, and we got to meet THE Emily Ley. I like to think of myself as a composed person with loads of self-control, but let’s be real: I lost it when I saw Emily Ley sitting on the couch. Her Simplified brand has changed so many lives, and as someone who’s seeking light and clarity this year, she’s provided so much wisdom and guidance in her books. As the creator of a planner, she’s an inspiration for sticking to my purpose with my work.
As I listened to her Emily talk about life and business, I was struck by how dedicated she is to living her best life in a way that allows her to be present for what matters most. She’s said no to opportunities that some would jump through hoops for, and she’s scaled back to make sure she wasn’t consumed by her business. It’s so inspiring to be able to get even just a tid bit of knowledge from someone who has “made it” in our eyes.
A little history, Emily Ley and Whitney English actually started the Stationery Academy which eventually became the Society for Creative Founders. Full circle! This amazing opportunity for makers, artists, and designers is still around, and it’s changing lives!
Wow! That’s days one and two of the conference! To say that I soaked in a ton would be an understatement, and I’m excited to share more with you, soon!
PS. All of my pictures were taken by Ashley Cochrane of Ashley Victoria Photography! She’s such a blessing, and you will see more of her work in Part II!