I’m starting 2017 as re-energized as ever because a few weeks ago I attended the incredible and awe-inspiring Engage Summit. The co-founders, Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce created an intimate and engaging series of summits bringing together the wedding industry’s top professionals. They held their last Summit of 2016 at Sea Island. Within the first few days I met heavy hitters Mindy Weiss, Amy Zaroff, Bryan Rafanelli, Keija Minor, Carley Roney, Paige Chenault, Abby Larson and more. The Summit was also the most highly-styled Summit that I’ve been to (which you’ll see from the pictures taken by Kelli Boyd Photography) — thanks to the talented Vine Garden Market, Beachview Events, Sea Island Team and so many more! These folks worked tirelessly to pull off a spectacular Engage Summit!
To be honest, I was a bit nervous going into the Engage Summit. I don’t think of myself as being in the wedding industry so I thought that I would feel a little out of place. But after the keynote speakers and the first few sessions I knew that this would be right up my alley. These folks were offering practical next steps to grow your business and share the truth behind their own journeys, including success and failure. All of the presenters were fully prepared and offered so many insights that I couldn’t write fast enough. I came home every night highly inspired and motivated (talkative as well — I just had to tell Casey everything!). I want to share with you the top three takeaways from this conference that will directly impact Lavin Label in 2017. I’m hoping that it will benefit you too.
Invest on your Business Every Week.
What I’ve Learned. During Bryan Rafanelli’s presentation he introduced the phrase, ‘Work on your business vs. in your business.’ I think that so many hours of our week are working to keep our business up and running; writing blog posts, reaching out to brands, styling photo shoots, developing recipes, etc. But what the majority of business owners aren’t doing (including me) is actually working ON their business. Make it a goal to set aside time every week to work on your business. Do you have clear processes in place? How close are you to meeting your goals? What connections can you leverage already? How can you improve your client relationships? What is your brand’s vision?
Lavin Label Impact. I actually held our first Lavin Label team two-day retreat the beginning of January. It was the perfect time for me because we’re just now bringing on our Communication and Editorial Assistant. So I got everyone in the same room (Kelli with Kelli Boyd Photography and Grace our social media intern, our new assistant, Victoria, and myself) and we focused ON our business. Conversations spanned from revisiting our vision, identifying roles, discussing strengths and weaknesses, improving social media presence, etc. I’m also going to include a time during our weekly team meetings’ agenda where we will revisit our goals from the retreat. This will ensure we implement and stay in-tune with the vision we focused on during our two-day planning sessions.
Be A Big Part of Your Community (Local and Industry-Wide).
What I’ve Learned. Give back. Collaborate. Network. Choose community not competition. I always like to go through my notes after a conference and circle words that reoccur in almost every session, keynote or side conversation. You’ve heard this before because they’re important but do you have strategies and tactics to actually focus on these areas for the year ahead?
Lavin Label Impact. One of our focuses for the next year is to give back to our community (local and industry-wide). We’ll be partnering with non-profits, collaborating with other bloggers, and offering more business advice on Lavin Label so that others might benefit. We’re really going to be mindful of how Lavin Label is helping our community and making sure that we have strategies outlined each month to reach our goals to give back.
The Importance of Mentors.
What I’ve Learned. Mostly everyone in their sessions talked about how they got started. Do you know what the common factor was? Mentors. It’s important to trust someone, heed advice and talk the honest talk about your business when things get tough. I think that the best part about having a mentor is being a little bit vulnerable — being able to ask them for advice when something goes wrong. It is important to have a mentor regardless of what stage your business is in. Whether you are starting off or well-underway, it is key to have that person you feel comfortable sharing ideas with and getting feedback from on a recurring basis.
Lavin Label Impact. While focusing on building my brand I sought out advice from friends and fellow bloggers. As with most things, when you get really busy you tend to not be able to get together as much. One of my goals for this year is to try to carve out more time and reconnect with some of my original mentors. Although we still are in touch I would like to designate an actual time to really sit down with them and listen. I find when you make something a priority in your plans and schedule it, as opposed to thinking “one day” you’ll make time for it, you actually do it.
In summary, I’m so grateful that I attended this summit. I think that it was the best thing that I could have done for Lavin Label in 2016. What I thought might make me an outlier (not being in the wedding industry) proved to be an advantage. It opened my eyes to new best practices, business ideas and a network of talented and brilliant professionals that I can now call friends.
A special thanks to Rebecca and Kathryn for an amazing experience. It was a special treat and I hope to see you at future Engage Summits! I’ll never forget my first Engage Summit experience! Last but not least, thank you Ginny Clark with Tibi for styling me head-to-toe! I really appreciate everything that you do for Lavin Label.
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Images by Kelli Boyd Photography