On Saturday, I attended the Create & Cultivate conference in NYC. Create & Cultivate is an online platform and offline conference for women entrepreneurs and creatives. Our jammed-packed schedule involved attending panels on several topics such as diversity and inclusion, building a personal brand and marketing. I gained a lot of useful information and insight from speakers and attendees alike. The highlight of my day came from my mentor sessions with Blogger Mandy from The Girl and the Bay and Author, Latanya Yvette. Each conference participant received two mentor sessions from a selection of mentors. We had the opportunity to ask them questions, and they shared insights with us about consistency, authenticity and creating meaningful and impactful content. I love attending blog conferences, because I always leave feeling invigorated by the creativity and camaraderie. There’s something powerful about having a lot of talented and creative minds in one space. It was great meeting a few people I follow on social media and also great discovering a few I didn’t know about. Below I'm sharing some of my biggest takeaways. Enjoy!
1. In thinking about building a personal brand, think about who you are and who you are not. Who you are is just as important as who you're not. Don't jump on every trend or bandwagon if they're not for you or don't jive with your tastes and values.
2. Consistency is key. You need to create consistent content to grow your brand and achieve success.
3. Practice positive self-talk as an antidote to fear. Many people hold themselves back because they fear putting themselves out there. Nevertheless, do it anyway. If you're yourself, don't be nervous about showcasing your work or your viewpoint, and don't be afraid of potential criticism. Be proud of who you are and the value you bring.
4. If you're feeling uninspired go out and do something. You'd be surprised how much inspiration you can gather from engaging with life. Go to the museum, see a film or meet up and do something with your girlfriends.
5. Vulnerability and authenticity are freeing. People fear vulnerability because they see it as a weakness; it's not; there's nothing more courageous than being your authentic self.
6. Let your life inform your work. During one of the panel discussions, we heard from Wendy of Wendy's Lookbook. Wendy does a lot of work in the Juvenile Justice arena to help young people who are transitioning out of foster care. Wendy, who grew up in foster care, knows first-hand the struggles young people in foster care face and the pitfalls they can easily fall prey. She uses her platform to make a difference in their lives. I was really touched by Wendy’s story, while I know about her amazing talent as a fashion blogger and an influencer. I did not know about her advocacy in the Juvenile Justice arena. It made me think about influence in general and how all of us as women can use our influence for good.
7. On another panel, we heard from Cynthia Andrew (SimplyCyn) who is an Attorney and an influencer. In talking about how she juggles both, Cynthia shared that she creates a daily schedule with time blocks for different tasks. Creating a routine and blocking out time for tasks help her stay disciplined and productive.
8. In building a brand or a business, think about your goal. Ask yourself, "what's your added value?" Also, "why would people want to follow you or buy your product?" Get clear about the value you bring and let that value inform everything you do.