What have you leant after three conferences?
First, it’s totally worth it. The last few weeks always get a little crazy and I’m stressed, sleep deprived and anxious. But all that is worth that moment when we kick off on the first morning. It’s also worth seeing how relieved the participants are with the information and the chance to connect with a room full of like-minded people.
Second, loyal fans are worth more than gold! There is a group of former participants who has been shouting our praises for months now. It’s wonderful to see that others believe in the conference as much as I do.
Third, it gets easer but it never gets easy. This is true for any kind of business. You get to know the fear, and know that everything will be fine once you step through it but the fear never goes away.
How do you decide on your speaker line-up?
I send out invitations and this year I also opened some spots up via an application process, which was a wonderfully received. Over the three years, I’ve only had two invitations declined so we’re lucky that way.
The speakers are selected based on their quality of work, personal journey and ability to offer as much value as possible over two days on a wide range of business topics. They also need to be able to speak the language of the creative entrepreneur.
What are the unforeseen pitfalls?
The budget is a juggle. There are always unexpected expenses so it’s important to have a bit of wiggle room. There are also so many cogs in the machine when you’re relying on other people who can sometimes they let you down. It’s always good to have a back-up plan but this isn’t always possible so managing all the different service providers can be challenging.
Have you broken even yet?
I’ve invested a lot of my own money to see this event get off the ground but we haven’t had a sell out event yet and each year we’ve fallen short of breaking even. This year however we are looking good in terms of the budget and I’d like to think we can come close to a sell-out event so that’s really exciting.
The tea breaks and social sessions are so important and yet can be so daunting for some women. What advice do you have for making the most out of these networking sessions?
Yes they certainly can! We try hard to keep everyone feeling at ease, we have set up quiet corners for those feeling overwhelmed and have a team of people who know how to spot the nervous ones and help out.
I would suggest just keeping your eyes up. If you don’t feel comfortable walking up to people and starting a conversation just try to keep your gaze at eye level because this will encourage others to approach to you.
The Artful Business Conference will be held on September 8 and 9 at Carlton Brewhouse in Abbotsford. A limited number of seats and virtual passes are still available. Visit www.artfulbusinessconference.com to purchase tickets or for more information.
Elle Roberts is a business and marketing strategist based in North Queensland who works with indie designers and creators nationwide through her business Studio Exsto.