It’s hard to believe that one year has passed since I attended the Creative at Heart Conference in Charleston, SC. At the time, I was still teaching high school full-time and working on our business on nights and weekends. For those of you who haven’t heard of C@H, it’s a conference for like-minded creatives that provides education to creative entrepreneurs. The conference is all about inspiring creatives to make things happen in their businesses, and it was just what I needed at a time when I was in the midst of making one of the biggest decisions of my life. An entire year has gone by and I never shared my experience here on the blog so today I thought I’d give you a little insight into 5 ways the speakers at C@H have impacted our business in the last year.
Bonnie’s presentation was one of my favorites. She spoke about how to clearly define the why behind what you do and how to build an authentic brand. It was after hearing her talk about the importance of giving your brand a purpose that Jay and I actually sat down and wrote this post that really explains the heart of why we do what we do. It was the first step we took towards sharing a bit of our heart on the blog and it paved the way towards creating a website that truly represents us and our brand.
Molly spoke about an aspect of our business that I’m deeply passionate about – blogging. She talked about using blogging as a tool to define and differentiate yourself while connecting with your audience, something I believe is an extremely powerful tool for all creatives. Personally, blogging has impacted our business in more ways than we could ever begin to list and I loved digging deeper into this topic. Shortly after hearing Molly’s talk was actually when I launched my FB group Blogging for Photographers, a group for professional photographers to find encouragement for creating educational, informative, entertaining, and inspiring content for their blogs. The group now has over 1,100 members who tune in weekly to learn how to blog in order to connect with their ideal client and it has been so rewarding to see photographers grow their blogs while continuing to inspire us to build a better blog ourselves.
I had met Mary a couple of years ago at a lighting workshop so I was excited to hear her speak again! She spoke about the importance of knowing your purpose, knowing what you believe, and infusing yourself into your brand. Her powerful, tear-jerking talk really brought together many of the ideas about our why and our purpose in a way that helped me apply them to our roles as photographers. She introduced us to connection marketing and helped us understand what it is that makes our work worth more. In an industry that obsesses over Pinterest-perfect details and perfectly curated newsfeeds, she reminded us that the work we do matters. The work we do will matter for generations to come, so when you click the shutter, be sure capture our clients’ memories in the most authentic way possible.
I first discovered this husband and wife team through their series on Making the Leap. I don’t remember how exactly I landed on their site but when I found out they had been elementary school teachers before becoming full-time photographers, I was intrigued. I remember binge-reading that entire series on their blog at a time when I was just beginning to consider leaving my teaching job. I had many questions circling in my head, and getting to ask them those questions in person was a highlight of the conference for me. My biggest takeaway from their talk, though, was the importance of creating connection points on social media in order to build bridges with your audience.
It was such a pleasure to finally meet this sweet southern girl. Since she was in my panel group, I got to speak to Katelyn several times and I could probably talk about business for hours with this woman. For her talk, she focused on the art of creating community and talked about how community is a value of life, not just a strategy in business. One of the biggest ways her talk has impacted our business is by reminding us of the importance of creating an experience-centered business that is run personally and authentically.
In addition to these five speakers, I also had the opportunity to hear from Annamarie Akins, Shay Cochrane, Natalie Franke, Kat Schmoyer, Ashlee Proffitt, Krista Jones, and Michael Alsop. I took away so many valuable lessons from each and every one of the speakers and they helped to create an amazing experience for my first C@H Conference. I would attend this conference every year if I could and I’m so jealous of everyone who got to attend the Memphis conference earlier this week! I think all the attendees would agree that it is one of the very best conferences out there for creative entrepreneurs.
As I reflect on the past year and the life changes that we have made in that time, I can’t help but be so thankful for educational opportunities like this one that have inspired me to follow my dreams and make things happen. There are many reasons to attend a conference like this one, but at the top of the list is the inspiration and encouragement that happens naturally when a group of talented and generous creatives gets together to lift each other up and inspire one another to make things happen in their creative businesses.
And there you have it! I hope this recap encourages you to seek opportunities to learn and grow in settings like the one offered by C@H. If you’re a creative entrepreneur looking for a community like this one, be sure to do these two things:
And now I want to share some images from the conference with you all, but I was too focused to take my own pictures that week, so enjoy these images from the conference by the official conference photographers: Details: Alicia Lacey Photography | Speakers: We Are the Mitchells | Group Photo: Justin Marantz
Photo Booth backdrop: Blakeley Made