Retreat Your Way to Success

I was anticipating the Designers Roundtable Retreat not just for the location or content, but because of the intimacy that the size and location would provide. Hosted at Events on 3rd on Nashville, TN. The facility is known more for hosting weddings, but was ideal for the DR Retreat. The stage and tired level was great for presentations and the breakout areas were perfect for hosting the breakfast and lunches. The entrance was old style theatre which was really fun. The historical element of the location in Printers Alley helped to create a feeling of escape from the day to day life. You wouldn’t notice it unless you were invited. The red door entrance provided a magical feeling as you entered.

IMG_2593Welcome

I think the best surprise for me was hearing and watching Jeny Poff on stage during her welcome and introduction to the two day retreat. Her passion and energy gives me goosebumps even a week later. She walked us through the strategy behind the session categories.

IMG_2595Why?

The first step was reviewing our own reasons for being in the business. Some have asked the question and many had never found the time to work through this part. Always putting client demands first costs us our opportunity to create and grow a biz that supports our own desires and visions. RaShelle Roberts is a creative business coach who does an amazing ability to help her clients get to the core of who, what, where, why and when of out business plans. This is the hardest part and time was spent where we all had a chance to think about our own needs and hear others which helps to garner some insight.

IMG_2600Process

Emily Cohen took the stage next. She was a designer turned business strategist because as she shared, she wasn’t that good of a designer… But she kicked ass when it came to business process and management. The biggest takeaway for me was learning that solo businesses don’t grow in the traditional sense because you simply can’t grow on your own. We all need our support whether it is hiring a book keeper to manage the books or a business coach to help you get perspective. Her presentation was visually engaging and great to follow along with.

IMG_2617Sales

So after lunch we were woken up with the phenomenon energy of Maurice DiMino, 1,000,000 Sales Guy. I think this is a part of business that creatives cringe at. We just want people to like our work and value our contributions so they are happy to pay and even offer to pay more. Yeah, talk about dreamland. Maurice got us thinking about our verbal business card. How and what are we saying to prospects and the public in general? Biggest takeaway, our service is NOT about us.

IMG_2623Down and Dirty

To end the day we had three solo design veterans take the stage on a panel to share the good and more portably challenges they have faced. Luke Mysee has spent 20 years as a solo creative and is currently on sabbatical from that life, working to figure out his next step. Nancy Ruzow has been a solo biz for over 30 years and she loves her life. She has been through it all. James Krause, designer turned author of 16 books and counting is a one man show, even a single dad with amazing insight and perspective.
There were so many tips and insights, being able to ask questions and be part of engaging debate is worth three times the ticket price.

End of day 1 

IMG_2635Talk about a whirlwind of insight and mind blowing learning. Most of the crew got together at a local BBQ and we spent the night melting while enjoying great food and continuing the conversation with attendees and speakers alike. The bonus was celebrating two of the speakers (James Krause and Ilise Benun) birthday’s that day!

Day 2 

IMG_2656It’s not about you!

After big day prior, The next step was taking our core messaging and learning how best to spread the work with marketing. Ilise Benun, the guru of marketing shared her tweaked presentation. After being part of Day one and hearing where the discussion led us, she took the bull by the horns and adjusted her presentation to give us the opportunity to really focus on what mattered to us.

IMG_266230 Tips in 30 minutes

In a twist, to find the opportunity to hear how other designers find the elusive work life balance – 5 great people shared their tips and to see the coloured index cards fall to floor after each was declared and discussed was envigorating. So much knowledge is just for the asking. Who do you know locally you could chat with and get new perspective from?

IMG_2679Wrapping it all up.

So we had the opportunity to combine all we learned to really think now how we will get there… And hard to do if we don’t have a solid vision for our own path to follow. This was a challenge for all. How dare we be so bold as to predict fame and fortune for ourselves? Biggest takeaway, we don’t need permission from others to be successful. We need to give it to ourselves.

IMG_2686Now what?

With all the Intel learned what is stopping us for falling back into a routine of putting others first? Accountability is key. Jenny took the stage to end the retreat to
Talk about how we move forward. Whether it is by joining the accountability group or creating our own advisory board of peers… We don’t succeed in our own. We need to stop thinking we have to do all on our own.
This event is the first of its kind and so needed in a world with a growing number of solo entrepreneurs. Next year the event will be held in October, location to be announced. If you value yourself and your business, invest the money and more importantly time into your vision. That way you find yourself where you want to be, not where someone else does.
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Thank you Jenny and to the speakers who came together to make this event possible. 
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