What: The first "Girl Boss" conference, Create & Cultivate
Where: Dallas, TX
Why It Matters: C + C has created a platform for female entrepreneurs in the digital space, showcasing these successful creatives, bloggers, and business owners in their well-deserved place at the forefront of the online branding game. It's also changing the conversation in teaching others how to follow in their footsteps #WomenSupportingWomen
Talk about a lady boss takeover. In November, I talked to Jaclyn Johnson, founder of what's been coined the first "Girl Boss conference," about how she transformed Create & Cultivate from a mere passion project into a rapidly growing online platform and multiple conference series, and how she wants to teach other female entrepreneurs like her to do the same.
Fast-forward to the past weekend in Dallas, TX, where it was a balmy, pleasant 75 degrees at Lofty Spaces, a large and stylishly decorated (to say the very least of the decor) event space located just outside of downtown Dallas. I was ready to spend the day networking, interviewing, and meeting with some of the most fashionable ladies in the game.
This included creatives like lifestyle and travel bloggers, photographers, models, online and offline business owners and female entrepreneurs of all different types, styles and backgrounds – and let me tell you, the gorgeously adorned attendees had plenty to share and contribute.
And of course, so, too, did the many panelists invited to speak at the conference, including Haylie Duff of Real Girl's Kitchen, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Whitney Wolfe of Bumble, and the founders of Betches and Soul Cycle, to name a few.
Here's what I learned about how Create & Cultivate is helping burgeoning female entrepreneurs slay the game, and why you'll definitely catch me in attendance again later this year.
Now more than ever is the time to establish your voice.
What story do you have to tell and how do you want to tell it? Figuring out your "why" is the first key step in transforming your dreams into achievable goals, in much the same way Jaclyn Johnson did – and then, of course, taking over the world with them.
Transparency is key.
It's important to trust your voice, but also to learn from the curve. In an online world where "content is king" (another all-too-quotable takeaway from the event in Dallas), authenticity, then, goes hand-in-hand with that, whether you craft content for a living or otherwise.
In other words, keep it real. You're never gonna win anyone over by pretending to be something you're not, and you're certainly not doing yourself any favors either.
Create what you want to see created.
Chances are, if you don't see something out there that you really want and wish currently existed, others will too. "I joke that I created [my clothing line] because it's everything I wanted but couldn't necessarily find, especially at a certain price point," Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere shared candidly with the audience during her keynote panel at C + C.
So whether it's a clothing line, app, blog, website, or social media account, find that unique something that is authentic to you and your voice – and work on developing and strengthening that.
It's all too easy to doubt where you're going and even where you're coming from. A major first step in making any successful life or career change is to have patience with yourself. You're doing the best you can, and at the end of the day that's all anyone can really ask of you, including yourself.
Come from a place of yes.
"Be the CEO of your career," Hillary Kerr of Clique Media Group advised during her keynote panel with fellow co-founder Katherine Power. "And then take all the things you learn along the way and apply them to your life." She continued, "Come from a place of yes. [Just] say yes and figure it out."
Easier said than done, right? Wrong. Stop closing yourself off by saying the word no, and you'll be surprised how quickly serendipitous opportunities may drop into your lap. No one's saying you won't have to hustle, but just remember to say yes to your life, and yes to your career, and yes to growth – no matter where you're at, or how far down the ladder you might feel.
Surround yourself with other like-minded individuals.
One of the most important takeaways that C + C inspired in me is to realize that it's next to impossible to climb to the top of the ladder on your own. Surrounding yourself with a group of supportive, like-minded individuals is crucial to both your success and theirs.
Events like these tell us that not only is it possible for women to support each other, but it's necessary in today's world. We need to promote doing so in order to keep moving forward in ways that will build each other up, instead of tearing each other down.