The last weekend of January I took a weekend trip to Dallas, Texas to attend Create & Cultivate, a conference for women entrepreneurs in the digital space. The experience was a whirlwind of networking, beautiful decor, inspirational speakers, and motivating conversations. Over 400 women attended, not including the speakers, mentors, and organizers. After the event, the Create & Cultivate team posted pictures on Facebook and while flipping through I came across this photo which made me pause -
Stop and look at it for a moment
What do you see?
Bright eyes, delighted expressions, cameras snapping away....
and one girl with her head down in a sea of smiling, wide eyed faces.
There were 200 women in my track for the conference, and I am the only one in the crowd not looking at the panelists. I've got my head down and I am taking notes. So why did I keep my head down at Create & Cultivate? Because I mean business.
I signed up for this conference in the fall before I had even started this site. I had a passion for travel and planning and had been dreaming about doing something with it for the longest time and when I saw the conference signup it was a catalyst for me to finally do something. I made a plan that if I signed up I had to start a website, post at least 2 itineraries, purchase business cards, and create an Instagram account before the conference took place. Create & Cultivate Dallas was a forcing mechanism for me, and when I got to the conference itself I kept that drive going. I kept my head down during almost every panel. Sure I looked up enough to take in my surroundings, catch a glimpse of some of my favorite writers in the digital space, and appreciate the fabulous decor and pop ups shops, but I focused on listening and capturing information I would need when I got home. Admiring how others look and think and act will only get you so far, and for me the power of the conference was in the takeaways. I took pages of notes! Quotes that inspired, ideas for posts, successes and failures of the speakers, and 6 months or a year from now I have the power to look back at those notes for guidance on where to go next, or pride on how far I have come in seeing the items I was concerned with at the start of this venture. This photo captures the side of me that is structured and detail oriented and why I think I have a unique voice to contribute to this crowded world of travel writing. Because with less than 72 hours to go somewhere, you have to pay attention to the details in planning and learn to appreciate beauty in quick moments of pleasure.
Here are some of the best snippets from the conference that stuck with me:
On creating an anonymous brand: "A brand lasts a lot longer than a face." -- Sophie Max of Beyond the Mag
On success: "Negative comments are better than none at all because it means they took the time to care and we are forcing people to think and engage in something." -- Betches
On gaining followers: "Use the analytics within tools like Pinterest. Find out where people already are discovering you and make the connection bonds stronger there." --Julia Engel of Gal Meets Glam
On knowing your audience: "Use google analytics to know their age, their gender, their salary then make a picture of your average user in your mind. We shop for our style and their price point." -- Lunchpails and Lipstick
On using Pinterest to drive readers to your site: "Only 15% of pinterest users actually pin new content - most just repin things they find by searching. If you are someone who regularly pins new content you are considered a power pinner and the Pinterest algorithms will automatically boost your content in searches." -- Amy Locurto of Living LocurtoAnd that is why I kept my head down at Create & Cultivate, and will continue to keep my head down when it comes to 72 Hours To Go. But I am going to put this photo up on my desk, so I can look up and remember why I started and why I know I can succeed.