Two weekends ago I attended the Create & Cultivate conference for the first time. It had been quite a while since I attended a bloggers conference! The last one I went to was the LuckyFabb conference and that was 4 years ago I think. It was the last one they did in LA. I was so excited to go to Create & Cultivate. It had been on my wishlist for a while so I was so happy to gift it to myself this year. I have to say I left inspired and excited to continue on my journey with Have Need Want!
Key Takeaways from Create & Cultivate:
1. Always stay true to yourself…aka be authentic! Share your unique vision and people will follow you.
2. Don’t let obstacles stop you from pursuing your passions. It can be easy to find reasons why you cannot succeed but just like anything else if you love something enough then it’s worth putting in every effort and not look at obstacles as road blocks but as part of the process of creating something special.
3. If you have an idea big or small go for it. You never know what will take off so if you have an idea that excites you and you think it fills a need, take the next steps to make it a reality.
4. We are always better together (women supporting women 🙌🏼). There is room at the table for everyone. We all have unique vision, style, voice so if what you’re sharing is authentic and true to you then there’s room for you!
5. The biggest rewards are always found after taking the biggest risks. That means invest in yourself. If you won’t invest in you, nobody else will.
6. Don’t let the numbers control your happiness! This is something I constantly have to remind myself as I’m trying to grow Have Need Want. It’s easy to look at the numbers and compare but brands are looking for more than just numbers when they’re searching for who they want to partner with.
So many of my panels were focused around social media, mainly Instagram, which was interesting to hear other peoples take on the current state of the platform and how best to grow and reach new audiences. I realized that for the most part I already knew about everything they were discussing since I’m in it day in and day out (except for this little break I took while being sick last week). These panels definitely would have been more beneficial for someone just starting out rather than 5 years in to blogging. We all are experiencing the same struggles no matter if you have under 5,000 followers, are hovering around 30,000 followers, or if you have a much larger account 500,000+.
I realize I personally need to be better at setting myself up for success. I find far too often I am scrambling to find the right picture to post for that day. Even if it’s about a blog post where I have numerous edited images to choose from. It’s hard as a full-time mom to find time in my day to schedule it all in advance. I know if I can get myself there it will be much easier going forward but often my nights are spent helping prep my husband for the next day of his fire academy, cleaning up after dinner, and trying to finish up anything I need to do for my blog post that’s going live the next day. I talk a lot more about what I’ve learned after blogging full-time for a year in this post so I won’t continue chatting about it here.
There were so many inspirational people speaking on my panels, I was Track 2, and a number of women who I personally admire so much. Aimee Song, Julia Engel, Jacey Duprie, Brittany Xavier, of course Molly Sims, Chrissy Teigen, Lauren Conrad, and Nina Dobrev are all incredibly fascinating and inspiring individuals that I really enjoyed hearing from. And then there was Kim K! I have to say I really respect her as a business woman and was really interested in hearing her speak. She closed out Create & Cultivate so unfortunately since I had Mason down in LA with me and my mom I had to leave before she finished but I did get to hear her for what I expect was a good portion of her panel.
And now to the areas I wish they would have dove a littler deeper…
1. Podcast Panel: I’m not really a podcast listener so I was interested in learning more about Podcasting and the benefits of starting a podcast to go along with your blog and/or youtube and social media channels. I wish they would have talked about what areas they pulled back from to make time for Podcasting. What areas were they focusing time and energy on before which weren’t giving them the return? The main reason I want to know this it two-fold. 1. You can’t just introduce a new platform like Podcasting which is going to take just as much time if not more than it does to blog and do youtube as well as manage social media accounts. 2. I was hoping for some insight as to how these influencers juggle so many platforms and still feel like they are getting enough out of it for the energy they have to put in. I can’t imagine splitting my time anymore than I already am. I’m starting to ramp up my youtube channel but I’ve found it really hard and time consuming to edit my videos. I can’t imagine having time to come up with the content, film and edit audio for a Podcast as well. Going along with the saying, “jack of all trades, master of none,” how are all these women who were on the panel able to be so successful in all the areas they are in and be able to monetize all of them.
2. Body Positivity: I really enjoyed this panel as I felt like I got to know each and every person on the panel and hear their story. The issue I have is that I felt a little like an outsider, like my struggles weren’t enough since they were nothing like the panelists struggles. Yes, I am white and I am petite but growing up I too struggled with my body. I might not have been called fat but I did get made fun of for being flat chested in high school and for not having a butt. I was a ballet dancer and always compared myself; wished I was taller, wished I was skinnier, wished I was prettier and that my nose was smaller. I wanted washboard abs but I always had a little belly pooch no matter how skinny I was. I thought body positivity was supposed to be inclusive of all types of people no matter their shape, size, color, or ethnicity. I just wish they would have discussed how this effects all women rather than just focus on minority women. I hope this doesn’t sound harsh or naive, but it is my understanding that no matter the person, loving your body and accepting it for all it’s beauty and flaws is something everyone can struggle with no matter how in the “majority” you may be. To me this panel was more about discussing “breaking the mold” by being yourself and not trying to fit inside a “box” of what society (sadly still) considers to be beautiful. Embracing what makes you different from the crowd and celebrating it…I guess that is body positivity, isn’t it! Ok, I think I just went full circle on this one!!
3. Never not Posting: This was a great discussion about Instagram and the algorithm and how influencers can stay on top of it. As I had mentioned earlier, I didn’t really hear anything I didn’t already know. I was reassured that no matter your following size everyone is experiencing the same things. It was nice to hear from the brands that while numbers are important to them being authentic and engaging with your audience is equally important. I honestly wish for this panel that they would have discussed more about tying in your social media to your main source (ie blog). You’re never not posting because you’re trying to let your audience know about what you’ve been up to on your blog or youtube channel, etc. How do you re-direct your audience towards the platform that you own…your blog! They discussed the difference between the “perfect” feed vs posting more realtime pictures. So, if they’ve been doing A/B testing on that, what data have they found about what tactics they’ve tried to get their audience to engage/extend their reach? I also know that what works for them won’t necessarily work for me but it’s more about understanding what your audience is interested in and I was curious what they’ve found their target audience is interested in.
4. Brand Queen Bees: This panel was really informative for me and I was very curious about influencers who have taken their growing following and turned it into the business of their dreams. Going from a blog to a blog and e-retailer or service to a brick and mortar shop. It’s a huge leap to go from blog to business and offering products to your audience. The moderator asked about how they were all able to start up their companies but none of them actually touched on how much that ramp up cost or how many employees they hired and at what stage. They kind of all said that the people fell into their laps at the right time. Yes, thats an answer but its super vague and doesn’t really help out people who are thinking about expanding their business. Did they all wait till their revenue was to a certain point to bring on new people to help with the workload or did they take a risk and hire a few key people before the numbers warranted it? I know this might sound a bit too personal to share on a panel but those are the things I wonder about. At what point do I hire a VA to help out with the daily tasks that are super time consuming? Do I wait till I have a more consistent revenue stream or do I take a leap of faith because I feel like if I could free up some more time I could focus on the things that will take my business to the next level…
5. Million +: This panel I knew going into it would be pure inspiration. These ladies are all so amazing in their own way and I absolutely loved hearing from them all. Building a following of over one million is no easy task and keeping them engaged and wanting more is something all these ladies are pros at. On a daily basis I search for their content if it’s not displayed in my feed because I want to see what they’re up to and I want to be inspired by their content. Because I know all these women have teams behind them I wish they would have talked about what it takes to create one post. Arielle Vandenberg kind of touched on it briefly when she talked about the videos she produces for her Instagram feed. She said how she doesn’t always know what her audience wants and how some times videos she produces will take all day to film and they don’t always do as well as some of the ones that are iPhone videos that she’s posted in realtime.
Again, I ended up writing a lot more than I had originally intended (I have been known to ramble) and I just hope that you found some value in what I shared about the conference. I hope this didn’t come off too critical either, that was not my intent, I just wanted to share that while it was a great conference which I did get many amazing takeaways there is always more left on the table that I wish would be discussed. Did you attend Create & Cultivate? If so, do you agree with what I said or do you have more to add that I missed?
If you’re a blogger, I highly recommend attending a conference like Create & Cultivate. It’s such a great way to inspire and get your creative juices flowing! Thank you for stopping by the blog today and I hope you enjoyed the post!