We’ve been long time fans of Create & Cultivate and have followed their Insta for years. When they posted that they were coming to Seattle, we jumped at the chance to attend the conference and that was before we even saw the rockstar lineup of incredible women speaking.
For those of you that don’t know, Create & Cultivate is a movement for women looking to create and cultivate the career of their dreams. Whether that’s working for your dream jewelry brand or create your own beauty line or become a full-time blogger, the conference helps empower you to follow your dreams and create the life you want to live.
The conference had two talk tracks, so we separated and Ashley did talk track 1, and Haley did talk track 2. We obviously wish we could have both attended all the sessions because they all were ah-mazing, but this seemed like the best way to be in two places at once.
What I loved about this track was that the topics of each panel were all different. As most of you know, blogging is not our current gig. It’s something we started because we were passionate about fashion, we loved spending time with each other, and we loved reading other blogs. This panel allowed me to hear from women in tons of different industries of all different sizes – from bloggers like Jade Kendle, small business owners like Amanda Zuckerman of Dormify to Kathleen Mitchell of Stella & Dot. It was so interesting to hear from all of these incredible women talk about their successes, their failures and advice to young women still trying to find their passions. I think the most striking thing that felt consistent through something all the speakers pointed to was this overwhelming sense that you have to follow your passions, follow what you’re good at, and never give up. Some people sorta stumble into their calling like Ellen Bennett who was working as a line cook when she realized that aprons needed a major refresh, or you search for it and dive in head first like Iva Pawling with RicherPoorer. Here are three lessons I learned from that day.
Fair forward and fail fast. Things aren’t always going to go your way, and sometimes, things will fail. Whether that’s a new product, a bad business partner or just a wacky idea, but the thing about failing forward and failing fast is that it gives you permission to fail, as long as you adjust quickly and don’t let it consume you.
It’s still all about word of mouth, but evolved. Social is a complicated business. How much do you engage with brands? How much money do you put behind a social campaign? To invest in influencers or not? Well, think of it this way. The basic principles of how your grandma would tell her friends about a new favorite perfume are essentially the same, just amplified. Be real, be genuine, be authentic and be honest.
There’s incredible power in listening. Listen to people’s pain points, listen to your customers, listen to your community. Listen, listen, and then listen some more. Rian Buckley, co-founder and CEO of My Fit Code, spent years as a model and just listened to male executives talk about models. She used that knowledge to create a technology company, and she said, “It’s incredible what happens when the men in the room underestimate the power of the women.”
Track 2 was primarily focused on content creation. We covered how to create engaging content (video is everything right now), how to create authentic content (identify the “why” early on, and let that drive you) and how to collaborate with others in creating content (decide how much your time and work is truly worth and don’t settle for anything less). We heard from Genevieve Padalecki of Now and Gen, and how her quick success was largely due to her genuine and authentic relationship with her followers and readers. We also heard from Gaby Dalkin from What’s Gaby Cooking, and the incredible amount of work and passion she put into building out her incredibly successful food blog. One of my favorite moments was when Jihan Zencirli of Geronimo Balloons spoke so sincerely about the relief she felt when she finally discovered what she was meant to do with her life, and took the plunge to committing to it full time. Every panel was informative, encouraging and so inspiring. However, overall, there were three main themes that I took away from the day:
You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. At the end of the day, it’s your passion, motivation, and confidence in yourself that will keep you going. If you truly believe in yourself and your idea, that will shine through, and everyone else will have no choice but to feel the same sense of confidence and support you.
Done is better than perfect. Because nothing will ever feel completely perfect. You have to pick a point at which you are confident enough in your work that you can put it out into the world and iterate based on the reactions.
Listen, learn and evolve. Listen to your readers, followers, customers, whoever it is. Take their thoughts and feedback and consider them carefully. Then use this to assist in the evolution of your content. This cycle will push you to create better, more engaging content and create a more genuine relationship between you and your audience.