Last weekend I attended the Thrive Creative Conference in Austin, Texas. It was a wonderful time of networking, learning, and encouragement. You’ll see in some of my photos that the venue and decorations were absolutely stunning.

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the Sunday sessions but one full day of sessions was plenty for me! Here are just a few of the many things I learned at the Thrive Creative Conference.

1. “Don’t just pick a look because it’s popular, pick a look that fits you.” (referencing choosing an Instagram aesthetic)
-Maggie Ward of Social Maggie

Trends come and go, you don’t want to have to chase trends and constantly change your brand. Make sure that your aesthetic is a genuine reflection of who you are.

2. “When building a successful brand, your WHY always comes first”
– Tiffany Tolliver of The EmmaRose Agency

Tiffany explained that this “why” is going to be different for everyone. It could be money, it could be a passion for the craft, it could be your child. Know your why and make that the foundation of your brand.

3. “You are the most important asset to your business.”
-Tiffany Tolliver of The EmmaRose Agency

4. “Have faith and take a chance on yourself, you’re worth it.” -Tiffany Tolliver of The EmmaRose Agency

Boy, I think we ALL need to be reminded of this one every now and then. In the online world, it’s easy to compare ourselves with others and fill our heads with self doubt. Sometimes you just gotta take a chance on yourself and have faith in what you are doing.

Lauren James’ stunning vendor booth featuring some of their dresses and a donut wall.

5. Pursue what you love, even if others don’t get it.
-Emily Herron of Champagne & Chanel

Emily spoke about how she was on the path to pursue a career in pharmaceutical sales because that’s what her family expected out of her. When Emily started her blog, her family immediately asked when she was going to quit. After a lot of dedication and hard work, Emily’s blog is thriving and her mom now works for her.

6. Write blog posts the way you would want to read one online.
Shannon Mattern 

Shannon recommends keeping your paragraphs under 6 lines. Not only will this improve your SEO, it will give your readers a much better reading experience.

Incredible balloon installation by Kara Whitten of Kailo Chic.

7. “You have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.”
-Mandi Holmes of She Can Coterie

Granted, Mandi discussed the reality that Beyonce has A LOT of help. When possible, outsource tasks that help you dedicate more time to do what you do best. Hate SEO? Outsource it so you can dedicate that time you’d spend figuring it out towards something you actually enjoy doing.

8. “Content is king and engagement is Queen.”
– Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko

Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko

9. “Remember that brands are looking at your content all the time.”
– Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko

While it’s totally fine that your stories are less polished than your posts, always keep in mind that brands are always watching. Jane has had agencies have expressed to her in the past that they always pay attention to the products she uses in her stories. That way they will know to work with her if they ever land an account with that brand.

10. The perfect pitch template (first contact with a brand)
-Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko

• Keep things short, sweet, and to the point.
• Be creative with the subject line (include your username)
• Genuinely compliment the brand
• Direct link to your blog and Instagram (don’t make them do any work to find it)
• Include qualitative stats
• Double check for spelling and grammar
• Triple check if copy/pasting in multiple emails

11. Never forget to follow up after a campaign
-Jane Ko of A Taste of Koko

Thank the partner for working with you, give feedback on the results, and express if you’d like to continue working with them in the future.

12. “If it doesn’t scare you, you waited too long.” (on quitting a job to pursue your dream)
-Kelly Mindell of Studio DIY

I’ll let you on a little secret, you are NOT the only one who is terrified to transition from your “safe” job to pursue your passion. Jeff and Kelly were a wonderful encouragement that that fear of failure is exactly what you need sometimes to make your dream work.

13. If you’re uncomfortable putting yourself out there and introducing yourself to new people at a networking event, chances are others are too.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen talk about how nervous they were about the Friday night social and introducing themselves to new people. HOWEVER, since everyone is in the same boat it means so much when you initiate conversations with people.

I’m thankful for all the wonderful people that I was able to connect with and all of the inspiring speakers. This conference happened to hit during a very good time in my career and reassured me while in the midst of taking some big risks (announcement next week!).

Have you attended a conference recently? What were some of the key takeaways for you and how did the conference help you grow?

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