A few years ago, Elle Roberts came to the realisation that a background in business and marketing didn’t necessarily equate to the seamless running of one’s own business. She found that her emotional attachment to her business meant that she agonised over every turn of its growth and progression.
Roberts eventually decided to seek outside help but her search left her empty handed as almost all the information she dug up were written for small and medium-sized business, and not for her $300 start-up.
“The financial advice related to loans, large capital investments and managing massive cash flows,” she recalls. “The planning advice revolved around writing corporate business plans and five-year projections.”
“Businesses like mine only have one person working in it who wants to grow the business and profits, go at it alone and weave the business into their family and social lives.”
Because she couldn’t find any source that provided all those requirements, Roberts did the next best thing. She launched the Artful Business Conference or ABC.
The conference, which is in its third year, brings together independent creative entrepreneurs to listen to keynote speeches from other powerhouse entrepreneurs and to also to connect with their peers.
The ABC will be held in Melbourne for the first time this year and will see the likes of Collective Magazine founder Lisa Messenger, Creative Women’s Circle founder Tess McCabe and Australian Writers Centre founder Valerie Khoo dispensing their advice and wisdom.
The conference has been immensely successful in the past two years with many participants raving about the impact it has had on their personal, creative and business development. The best part is you don’t need an existing business to find value in its offerings. As long as you have passion and a creative streak, you’ll come away from the two days brimming with new ideas, courage and inspiration.
“We have yoga teachers, artists, crafters, bloggers and writers as participants,” Roberts says. “Many of them have told us that this is the only business development event that actually caters to their niche needs.”
Organising a conference of this size is a Herculean task for one person. No doubt Roberts would have enlisted a a few pairs of hands but the buck ultimately stops with her. Here she offers a few pointers on single-handedly pulling together an event like the ABC.
What is your starting point when designing a conference of this size?
It’s certainly overwhelming and while it gets a little easier each year, it’s a massive job which I do mostly on my own. I always start with the speakers because it’s the amazing line-up and the information they can share with the creative business community that keeps me inspired.