This past July I attended my first in-person big business conference. After following along for a couple of years and taking some of their online webinars, and a couple of coaching calls, I set my sights on attending Stationery Academy.
I met up with 24 creative professionals in Phoenix, Arizona for the 3 day conference, and I will say that it has changed me and my business for the better and I look back on it only with gratefulness. It was so fun to meet people I'd been following on Instagram like Stephanie of Winnie Jean and social media, to meet the amazing Jennifer Faught behind Stationery Academy, and the handful of speakers with their own amazing businesses I've admired for years (yes you Cara, of One Swell Studio). To sit down with them to share and learn, and realize that we're all just people with to-do lists, families, goals, stresses, and fears and to realize that I was not alone.
From the start, we opened up things to the group we've probably barely admitted to ourselves regarding our businesses, our fears, and our goals. We got some pretty fabulous swag along the way, and a fresh new seating arrangement each day so that we had the opportunity to visit with just about everyone.
The meals. Oh my, the meals.. so delicious, with beautiful place settings and place cards all laid out for us at every single one of them. We all whipped out our phones snapping away photos before one thing was moved out of place!! The love in each setting was not lost on this group of ladies who are used to being the ones putting out the final touches instead of being treated to them. These little touches were just what makes Stationery Academy special, they mean "You deserve this," "You are worth this," "You can do this."
I know you're probably looking at these beautiful photos (taken by Life Created) and thinking that this looks more like a vacation than a business conference, but let me just clarify that we did some SERIOUS work here. Six modules in just three days. We focused on our Core, our Client, our Brand, our Money, our Call (marketing), and our Plan. There was a lot of digging deep, a lot of planning, focusing, crossing out, note taking, and maybe even a few tears. Best of all, there was sharing successes and failures, sharing of stories about business goals and our families, a lot of tough questions answered, and a lot of laughs and hugs, and yes, some carefully planned sweet treats for the modules like Money that make our creative brains hurt.
If you're like me and you've been following along with Stationery Academy for a few sessions now and you just don't know if you're ready, you are. Take the plunge and sign up to attend this spring in Pensacola, Florida. I'll be over here watching from the outside wishing I was there too, and being thankful that I got to be on the other side of this conference.
Now six months later, I'm still thumbing through my binder, keeping tabs on my goals, and making new ones, looking up answers to questions I'm just getting around to focusing on, and continuing to grow my business with an incredible amount of knowledge from people who have been there and truly want to see you do great things.
I am thankful for the community that still thrives away from the conference, across many states, and in many different stages of our business timelines. I am so grateful for my capability partner and our phone calls to check in on each other and the friendship that has blossomed there. If you have the drive, but you need the tools, Stationery Academy is for you. If you have a creative business calling your name and you are ready to take it to the next step, Stationery Academy is for you. Do yourself a favor and get there.
There are just a handful of seats left for the March 2016 conference, and you will be so glad if one of them is a beautiful place setting just for you.
I really love to send mail to people. I always have the best intentions to send out birthday cards, then inevitably, I wake up and Facebook has reminded me it's someone's birthday. Or even worse, didn't remind me. This year, I am setting myself up for card sending success.
I cleaned up my desk and gathered my supplies so I can be prepared to make someone's day.
Here's what you need:
1. A spot close to where you work, pay bills, or sit regularly. I am using this cute file box I got from Marshalls to keep my supplies close to me at my desk.
2. An assortment of cards. I have many fond memories of standing in the aisles of Hallmark picking out stacks of cards during my lunch break, I always had cards on hand. Pick some birthday, anniversary, and even a sympathy card or two in your stash so you're prepared for anything. You can even make it easy on yourself and grab an assortment of cards that will cover you for any event, like this one by Write Away. I have all my cards in a cute clear box, right at my fingertips and ready when I need them instead of tossed in a drawer or box somewhere.
I also have a set of thank you cards and blank patterned note cards for special notes and thank yous. With a few stickers and a special sentiment, these could make great birthday cards too!
3. Stamps. Even with the best intentions, those cards are going nowhere without these! Now that the majority of stamps are "Forever" stamps, you never have to worry about a postage increase if you buy these. I beefed up my stash with a few different styles.
4. Address book. Years ago I picked out a 3-ring style address book and started a good record of addresses - in pencil. Really, this is key. I hated it when someone moved and I had to scratch out or white-out their address to put in a new one, or they got married and changed their name, it happened again. Now I write all addresses in pencil, so changes are a piece of cake, and my book stays looking nice. This book may not be my style forever but with the ring binder, I can easily take out the pages and put them in a new new without having to copy all the addresses again.
If you're a fan of having things digital, there's a great service called Postable where you can create an online address book and have your family and friends enter their information for you and even import your addresses, and it's free to join.
5. Accessories like washi tape, an address stamp, and fun pens. I mean, not that you *need* these things, but they sure do make sending mail fun and what fun is buying all these pretty things if you don't use them and share them, right? I love my PSA Essentials stamp, and my new set of washi by Sugar Paper.
6. The last (and probably most key) item in my arsenal is my perpetual birthday and anniversary calendar. I make these because I LOVE them. This helps you keep track of birthdays, anniversaries, and special dates without having to transfer and move them from one calendar to another each year. Just add your dates to the corresponding month, and you are set to go. I like to add the person's birth year next to their name so I can keep up with milestone birthdays too. You can find these both in my Etsy and Amazon shop with various styles to suite your taste.
Now I'm ready. Ready to mail some happiness to the ones I care the most about, and I don't need Facebook to remind me. My goal is to set aside one day each month to write out the cards for upcoming birthdays, and get me back into the habit of sharing some snail mail love! I hope you'll join me! Share your mailing stations on instagram by tagging @polkadotpapercompany and using the hashtag #PDPsendcheer
Center photo cards by: Create with Rebecca (Cupcake Girl), Ruby Red Paper (Howdy Pardner), Thimblepress (Confetti Girl), and Fisk & Fern (Bee).