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Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur Summit: Should you attend?

Lauren Davis

Last weekend I attended Youpreneur Summit in London, UK. The event is the brainchild of the UK thought leader, author, podcaster, personal branding entrepreneur, Chris Ducker. Its the second Youpreneur Summit I have attended (there has only been 3 total.)

 

(Photo: Chris Ducker’s Facebook page)

 

2018 was my first time– Honestly, my focus in 2018 was more on my own nerves about being in the UK for the first time (by myself, at a new conference, where I didn’t know anyone) to assess the quality of the conference fairly. Remember my post about being a shy-introvert/INFJ?

 

What happened last year (2018), despite my nerves, is some incredibly high-achieving and highly-inspiring supportive entrepreneurs who I would have never met otherwise became part of my life. They are 50% of the reason for traveling back to London this year. 

 

Quick poll: Do you believe the universe brings certain people and connections together? I really want to know your answer. DM me on Instagram and let me know.

 

The other 50% of the reason I went back––even beyond the nervous energy bubbling inside me last year, it was one of the most well-produced events and conferences I have ever been to, and I was not too nervous to recognize it. 

 

Because I plan and host a small conference myself, I understand the pieces of the puzzle and all of the work it takes to execute a high-quality conference or workshop. So many moving parts. 

 

Now it is November 2019, and while writing this, I am on the 9-hour plane ride home back to Northern Illinois, thinking all of the thoughts, and I wanted to give you a rundown of what truly stands out about this conference, plus some takeaways from some very special people whose names you may recognize! 

 

WHAT MAKES YOUPRENEUR SUMMIT GREAT

 

ONLINE COMMUNITY

Tactical Takeaway: Build up your conference presence online through a community like a Facebook Group or Linkedin Group 

 

Youpreneur Private Group Page

 

The Youpreneur team builds up the community surrounding the event before and after the conference like nothing I have ever seen.

 

They do this through a very vibrant and engaged Facebook group where they email access to the attendees before and after the event. Several emails are sent prior to the event giving attendees important information but encouraging people to join the group page. 

 

The group page is very organized. Threads pop up from Team Youpreneur asking people to discuss their plans, to discuss networking opportunities, or to talk about different topics. 

 

The topics are relevant, unforced, and you end up making friends before the conference begins. They do an intro-video competition and people upload videos into the group page for their chance to be recognized on stage at the summit. It becomes a fun game and I found myself tuning into the videos each day to see which one would be funnier than the next. 

 

This group does include past attendees which is smart. Once attendees start ramping up the group page energy due to the present year’s excitement, I can only imagine how a past attendee who hasn’t bought a ticket may feel — major FOMO. 

 

The emails Team Youpreneur send out ahead of, during, and after the event are friendly in nature and don’t seem to be from a tired admin who hates their career/life. Sorry, is that dramatic? Haha.

 

I say this because all too many times, the emails sent out before a conference can be worn, and tired with no excitement or personality. Something about the Youpreneur emails makes it seem to be coming from a warm person. 

 

IN-PERSON COMMUNITY

Tactical Takeaway – As a conference organizer it is your responsibility to cultivate a powerful but warm attendee environment. Round tables are key!

 

This group page and online presence set the tone for the type of people at the event. High achieving, friendly, warm, comforting, supportive, uplifting. I don’t know if you even need me to explain more here. You get the idea. If you are worried about connecting with people, come to this conference because it is non-cliquey and very kind.

 

The seating is at round tables which helps initiate a conversation with fellow attendees in a way that doesn’t feel contrived. For an hour on each day of the event, there was a “mastermind” session at each round table. You took 5 minutes to discuss your problems and come up with solutions with people at your table. 

 

I have met some really cool people at these tables who I have stayed invested in their businesses and kept up with throughout the year. In 2018 I met Lauren and Caylee from Get Messy Art Journal and Steve Folland who has a successful podcast called Being Freelance. 

 

This year my table included a powerhouse of women like podcasters Fran Excell, Liz Mellville, and published author, Chloe Burroughs and many other inspiring women. During these sessions we discussed everything from imposter syndrome, to starting podcasts, to meditation, to writing and publishing books, to entrepreneurship retreats in the Netherlands. 

 

Participating in a brainstorming session with new brains who potentially don’t know you and have never heard your story or the limitations you put on yourself has the power to unlock different parts of your brain and help you accept new ideas. The round tables are SO vital to the success of the people who walk away from Youpreneur Summit.

 

VENUE & EXPERIENTIAL ATMOSPHERE

Tactical Takeaway – Host your event in a venue that tells your attendee it is important and worth your respect and time. 

 

Todd Herman Speaking at Youpreneur Summit in 2019

 

London is pretty cool in general, but Youpreneur Summit is hosted at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre which is a beautiful venue. In comparison to much larger conferences, the room seats (I am guessing) close to 300 people. Both years I have been to this conference it has been sold out… and I am not talking “sold out” but actually sold out with not one empty seat in the place. 

 

The room itself has dimmed lights and a beautiful stage which sets the tone that you are about to see some important speakers and learn important things. The round tables add to the atmosphere because you become close with the people who you are sitting next to.

 

The backdrop is three floor-to-ceiling projection screens with a sparkly backdrop extending beyond those making it so there is NO bad place to take a photo from the entire audience. 

 

BONUS Tactical Takeaway: It is seriously such a great marketing tool to make sure your environment is photo-friendly. Have a venue where people want to take photos of your speakers and where every photo looks good.

 

The speakers for the event have reserved tables in the back, but they are inside the general audience. This is important. Whenever I see speakers in the room, listening to the other speakers, it gives me a happy feeling inside. It shows me the speakers respect the event, the audience, the event organizer, and respect the others on stage. It is a similar concept to when bands play in a lineup and stay to support the bands who come after them or play before them. 

 

TECH

Tactical Takeaway – Bring on the speakers with great music and have an energetic emcee.

 

There is great energetic music to bring on every speaker, and it seems to bring the attention of the attendees back to the stage after a break and make them excited. Music has a lot of power in emotional impact. 

 

The AV and production crew at Youpreneur Summit works like clockwork. In both years I have only seen total (maybe) 3 technical difficulties with a microphone or clicker not working for a matter of a minute… and it was handled with ease and without panic.

 

Note about tech difficulties: EVERY CONFERENCE HAS THEM. No conference is immune. None, no matter how awesome you or your production team is.

 

TRUE, the more prepared you are, the less microphone, slide clicker, AV tech issues are likely, BUT you can be as prepared as possible and there will still be a snag here and there, so if you’re planning an event, this is nothing to beat yourself up over. In fact, I bet no one even noticed the small microphone snag or thought twice about it besides me and other conference planners who simply noticed out of sheer empathy. 

 

This conference’s production team is obviously on top of their game. I am thoroughly impressed. Dimming of music, lights, switching from presentations, etc, seems effortless and I know it isn’t. Congratulations to the Youpreneur Team for this because the Tech Gods absolutely love to screw with conferences. 

 

Youpreneur had a great emcee named Jenny Flintoff. She brought the energy and focus back to the event in between breaks, spoke without slides, and helped people be timely with their breaks between speakers by keeping us updated with a schedule

 

OFFICIAL YOUPRENEUR SUMMIT NETWORKING EVENTS

Tactical Takeaway– Give people great vibes and great entertainment and they won’t want to stop networking. 

 

Chris Ducker singing at Youpreneur Summit 2019

 

This could have gone in the In-person community section but it deserves it’s own bubble. The Youpreneur Summit upped it’s official networking nights from 1 night last year to 2 nights this year and the results were fabulous. 


This year Networking Night one included a blues band, based on the movie, The Commitments. Knowing Chris Ducker is a big blues fan, I can tell this networking event made his year. Seeing not only Chris and Erz but also the attendees dance and have fun was so much fun. 

 

The band was a great touch. Being very into the world of sound and music (see: Culture Shock, our record store) my only just very slight suggestion was just that all of the instruments could have been turned down a few decibels. It was a little hard to talk––But very easy to dance. And I think maybe that was the point, so it really wasn’t a problem. Haha. 

 

Chris Ducker even surprised us all when he was pulled on stage and sang Mustang Sally. And WOW––Chris can sing. Like…. Mind-blown––that guy has some serious pipes!!!

 

At the networking nights both evenings, everyone was given 2 drink tickets – a nice touch. 

 

It lasts just enough time for people to head out afterward if they want drinks or more food and here is the thing… Youpreneur Summit cultivates such an amazing family of attendees, no one ever wants to stop networking so we all spent after-networking time going to whatever pubs or hotels would host us to continue networking until we were too tired to function.

 

This is not NORMAL or average. It’s intentional. When I leave this conference I feel sad, like I am leaving summer camp, because every waking moment is spent with other attendees, we all feel close like a family by the end of the weekend.

 

EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING

Tactical Takeaway – Let attendees market your event for you. 

 

Chris Ducker's Digital Marketing Conference

 

Every slideshow had the HASHTAG at the bottom of it for the Summit. Every name tag had a HASHTAG at the bottom of the nametag. Every sign had Instagram and Twitter handles on them. SO. FREAKING. SMART.

 

It baffles me when a conference’s hashtag is nowhere to be found. At Youpreneur it’s everywhere, and because it is everywhere, #youpreneursummit was trending all weekend on Twitter with a room full of only 300 people. 

 

Let attendees market your event for you. They are ready!

 

In between EVERY SESSION, the emcee or Chris asked us to post our takeaway to Twitter or Instagram. What does this do? It shows the internet of all of our connections far and wide #youpreneursummit is the place to be at.

 

This year Youpreneur also hired a social media manager for the day of the event. May King, social media correspondent, and FOMO creator made the event exciting online by doing interviews, covering speakers, attendees, networking, and everything and anything in between. 

 

It helped energize the social media content of the event and helped Youpreneur share the attendees audiences online.

 

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK AT YOUPRENEUR SUMMIT

Tactical Takeaway – Get yourself an obnoxiously capable team who understand the importance of the event the way you do. 

 

The Youpreneur team is what makes this event happen. Chris Ducker is a true visionary, but his small and extremely powerful team works at a magnitude which would take 20x the amount of people to create at any average conference. 

 

Shout out to Chris and Erz Ducker and the entire team of people working to make this conference successful. I see how hard you worked and having a small and very mighty team for my conference as well, I actually KNOW and understand how hard you’re working. You really really did it. 

 

WELL, THERE IT IS…

 

This is my full review from Youpreneur Summit and the reasons it is one of the most well-produced conferences I have attended. 

 

I have never been a person to attend something without analyzing what it takes to put it together… not as if everyone should analyze it the way I do. My brain just works that way. 

 

Everything Chris Ducker does seems to be VERY intentional and to someone like me, this sticks out as I see the puzzle pieces fit together.

 

FREEBIE: My messy notes — I did take notes, Disclaimer–I did not clean them up, flesh them out, or fix typos/edit them, they aren’t special, they are just my real, raw, notes right from the notepad of my phone…but you can see what takeaways I wrote down from each speaker. Just download those here.

 

Here is the extra fun part… the funner part? 

 

 

ATTENDEE TAKEAWAYS

 

Attendee Takeaways

 

I asked a combination of speakers, podcasters, authors, thought-leaders who you respect and trust what their most unique or valuable takeaway was from this event. I purposely asked people who have been to or spoken at multiple events or have great networks of people because I want to bring you information from people who have experienced a lot in this space. Here is what I dug up for you. 

 

JEFF GOINS – Bestselling Author, Writer, Speaker, Entrepreneur 

@JeffGoins

Jeff, me, and a few friends had the pleasure of having drinks and dinner after Youpreneur the night before he spoke at the conference. He nailed his talk on How to Write a Best-Selling Book. After the conference, I asked him as someone who speaks often, and organizes an event, what his biggest takeaway was. This is what he said: 

 

“I took away from the conference a key insight from Todd Herman that each area in life requires us to play a slightly different role and our job is to never assume we are the character but the one who is performing. He made me think differently about my work and life and how to integrate them in a way where I am honoring all of my responsibilities and dreams well.”

 

NATALIE NORTON – Bestselling Author, Host of The Show Up Podcast

@NatalieNorton

I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with Natalie and Richie Norton after this event and they blew my mind with their story. Natalie has a huge network of people in the speaking and conference industry as well as a great podcast called The Show Up Podcast. After the conference, I asked Natalie for her takeaway from the event and this is what she said:

 

“Honestly the thing that Richie and I keep talking about over and over again, is just the sense of community and camaraderie and such a genuine feeling of belonging and collaboration, and I don’t think–in fact I KNOW you don’t– see that at every conference you attend. That, as much as all the knowledge shared, is the greatest value-add. This feeling is not something that can be contrived or manipulated and comes from great leadership –Something Chris has done really well.”

 

BOB GENTLE – Host of the Amplify Podcast, Business Coach

@BobGentle

Bob is one of those people (like how I was saying above) I feel the universe brought into my life at the right time. I met him at Youpreneur Summit in 2018 and we have been friends ever since, but we spent a great deal of time talking about our businesses at this conference together. He is the former owner of the biggest digital marketing agency in Scotland and now spends his time exclusively coaching entrepreneurs all over the world and some leading businesses in Scotland. Bob also has one of the top podcasts for digital agencies on Itunes. He is an influential mentor to me and a great friend. I asked Bob for a takeaway and he gave me quite a few great ones. Here are a few:

 

“Pascal Fintoni talking about emotional abandonment in your content hit home. As one of the least ‘well known’ speakers, the spirit he spoke from really resonated with me.

 

I liked that big-name speakers like Hal Elrod and JJ Virgin didn’t focus on the normal speaker stuff. They lifted the curtain and spoke about the back-end businesses and how they were grown.

 

Jeff Goins was also a highlight.  He made something which looks incredibly difficult seem very achievable.

 

The summit isn’t just about speakers.  They frame the event and set context but the real value in the event is the people who attend and the reflection, challenge and validation they offer.”

 

ALEX CURTIS – Founder of The Lead Engine

@Inst.aCurtis

Alex is another person I had the pleasure of meeting in 2018 at Youpreneur Summit but got to know him much better at the 2019 conference. Alex is a Youtuber, a digital marketing expert, and is leaning into his personal brand much heavier in months to come. I asked Alex to give me his top takeaway and this is what he said:

 

“People can’t get their head around something that is 100% different. Whether it’s a book or an e-book or a blog post the ideal balance is 80% the same 20% different. Challenge the status quo but not radically different.”

 

ANDY STORCH – Host of the Talent Development Hot Seat Podcast

@Andy_Storch

Andy Storch is another person I met last year at Youpreneur Summit 2018 and we have stayed friends and been working together ever since. I would call Andy the most masterful networker I have ever met. He is the king of making connections. When I asked Andy for his takeaway, this is what he said:

 

“Anything is possible. I can write a book, build a membership, start a movement and change the world. If not now, when?”

 


 

As you can see, everyone took away something unique but very valuable from this fantastic conference. Did you attend this event? What did you think? I’d love for you to leave a comment on my Instagram post about Youpreneur right here. 

 

Don’t forget…

 

FREEBIE: My messy notes — I did take notes, Disclaimer–I did not clean them up or fix typos or edit them, they are not terribly special, they are just my real, raw, notes right from the notepad of my phone…but you can see what takeaways I wrote down from each speaker. Just download those here.

Seth Godin, Digital Summit Chicago, conference, marketing conference

Takeaways and Review of Digital Summit Chicago [Aug 2019]

Lauren Davis

In August 2019 I attended Digital Summit Chicago Marketing Conference.

Here is my Digital Summit Chicago Review in 2019.

Digital Summit is essentially a marketing conference tour. They have around 20 different cities that they host a summit in, while also having an internet summit as well. A few speakers change in each location, and many of them are invited to speak at multiple locations across the country. I attended for a couple of reasons.

I have been researching new locations and marketing conferences to speak at.

Chicago is nearby so I went to talk to some speakers, see what they like about being part of the Digital Summit series, and get to know the conference and its attendees before pitching my talk. I always want to make sure what I bring to a conference is a good fit. I also love researching other conferences so that I am better equipped for my own conference I plan in Rockford IL #SocialRockCONF.

The second reason–Seth Godin!

Seth Godin at Digital Summit Chicago

Seth Godin was the lunchtime keynote speaker of the conference the final day and is an author who singlehandedly flung me into the world of marketing in 2006. More on that later. 

 

I want to share my ONE epic takeaway from each speaker I had the pleasure of seeing. While each speaker had several amazing takeaways, I believe in the power of intelligent brevity and you are a busy entrepreneur! 

 

Here are the things I pulled from each. By the way, I’ve compiled my personal notes in PDF format (forgive me if they are messy or incomplete, but you might find some more quotes or takeaways) … just grab them here.

 

 


 

John Triplett / @jktrip / Move prospects through the customer journey within a solid content and marketing strategy 

 

TAKEAWAY: You are ABSOLUTELY missing the mark if you aren’t polling your customers and using their feedback to build your content. 

 

John essentially talked about how you have a seriously vital content machine that is right in your hands. Its called REVIEWS and Customer Feedback. He talked about the power of utilizing reviews and feedback to both learn from your customer’s pain points and repurpose the feedback they are willingly giving you to build out your future content and to find prospects.

 

By doing this you can also use semantically related phrases in content that are meaningful.

 


 

Scott Dikkers, The Onion, The AV Club

Scott Dickers / @itsscottdikkers @theoinion / Founding Editor of The Onion and The AV Club / Building A Brand with Outrageous Marketing

 

TAKEAWAY: You don’t need to send press releases, you need to be press-worthy.

Invest in being the most outrageous version of yourself.

 

My synopsis of this talk is this: press releases are pointless if you aren’t doing remarkable things. Create remarkable environments and experiences, give people a voice, invest in being the most outrageous character of yourself. When you focus on what makes you remarkable, you will be noticed. A press release cannot do that for you. I LOVE this. 

 


 

Joe Federer / Tw: @JoeFederer / Understand the Hidden Psychology of Social Networks To Improve Channel Strategies

 

This one is a little bit layered so bare with me. I would also like to say that this session was standing room only; people were sitting double layered on the floor and standing along the edges with no room to move. Tall people literally pitied me and shuffled around a few inches each to let my 5’1” self stand in front of them which was very kind and I am so glad I did. There was obviously a reason this room was packed.

 

TAKEAWAY: The average social media user maintains 8.5 social media profiles across sites but not all sites are the same. Different social sites evoke different versions of ourselves and keeping that in mind when developing content or choosing the platform for your content is key.

 

For instance — Facebook and Snapchat invoke the managed self: A platform where people are connected primarily to their offline friends and identified as their offline selves and positioning themselves to their social circles. 

 

Twitter and Instagram, however, invoke the Ideal Self: Where users are still connected to their offline friends, they have the same ability to reach people they don’t know yet giving the opportunity to showcase an idealized version of oneself. 

 

Then there is a platform like Reddit that invokes the True Self: Where users are free to be anonymous and are organized by interests and ideas. There is more freedom to explore different interests and express their truest selves without fear of judgment. 

 


 

Brian Fanzo, Digital Summit, Chicago 2019

 

Brian Fanzo / @isocialfanz / Fyre Festival: 10 Marketing Lessons Your Business Can Leverage

 

TAKEAWAY: The number one easiest thing to do with trust is to lose it. We trust people who relate to us but when they break our trust they will NEVER get it back. 

 

Brian talked about connecting with people in your truest most authentic way. If you take time to connect with people where they are, your marketing will skyrocket. This is why the disastrous FYRE festival marketing was so incredibly successful even though the festival itself was not. Figure out what your customer is experiencing, and what they are attracted to, and KISS – Keep It Stupid Simple.

 

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Brian not only here in Chicago, but also recently in Lima, Ohio at Social Media Week Lima. I got to hear some behind the scenes hints about how Brian was building this talk… And the talk was FYRE!! (See what I did there!?)

 

On a serious note, I am consistently blown away by Brian’s ability to deliver amazing energy and pull generations together to understand a common challenging theme.  

 


 

Carlos Gill

 

Carlos Gill / @carlosgill / What Marketers Can Learn About Social Media from DJ Khaled and Drake

 

TAKEAWAY: You can’t build a mansion on rented land 

 

Social media is great. It’s fantastic for connecting with people. But make sure you connect with your audience in your own house too, not on rented time and space. 

 

I actually found that I wrote down a BUNCH of bullet points from Carlos’s talk. There are too many to list together. I told you I would keep this as brief as possible. Make sure you download my notes for those here.

 


 

Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 18 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn).

 

Seth Godin / @SethGodin / The Current State of Marketing

The purpose of marketing is to make change happen 

Quick note: I wrote down SO MANY Seth Godin gems. Maybe it’s because he is special to the story of how I personally came to be a graphic designer/marketer/store owner, but there were several times during his 30 min keynote I felt a little ferklempt.

Seth is all about connecting with people. You can see it in all he does. 

 

TAKEAWAYS:

  • If you didn’t send out that update…Would your audience miss you?
  • Who would miss you if you didn’t show up today?
  • Have you earned their permission to be part of their life?
  • You can no longer make average things for average people 

 

THAT, my friends, is who you are speaking to. 

Seth talked about how you simply need the smallest viable audience. You need to identify with that audience, delight them give them what they DREAM of. There’s no advantage to being famous, only famous to the family 

I had the pleasure of chatting with Seth and telling him about how one of his books created the businesses I have today. He singlehandedly helped me find my way to stand behind being a marketer and also helped me co-create a successful brick and mortar store.

 

Seth is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, and speaker. In addition to launching one of the most popular blogs in the world, he has written 18 best-selling books, including The Dip, Linchpin, Purple Cow, Tribes, and What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It's Always Your Turn).

 

I want to tell you that story sometime in another article. But not today. 

I’ll tell you that Seth did tell me that I “…absolutely made his day.” It was a special conversation. 

 

Overall review of Digital Summit:

Overall Digital Summit Chicago met my expectations. It was great, because of the company (shout out to helpful and inspiring Josh Binning, fellow marketing conference enthusiast, business owner (Lucha Cantina) and buddy of mine who is one of the nicest people I have ever traveled with.) 

 

 

Um, also, I opted for a ticket that included a VIP resting room and let me tell you the perk of free cabernet and cheese was a pretty nice touch for this introvert. (See my post about networking as an awkward introvert, haha)

 

It would be cool to have more of a “community” aspect. I may have missed it but I didn’t hear much from the facebook community where I could connect with people before, after, or during the event. Sometimes that helps attendees break the ice and connect with each other further. If I missed a lot of interactions, that is my error.

 

The audience was made up of many employees of agencies and fewer entrepreneurs and solopreneurs which is not negative or a positive but it is worth noting if you’re considering this conference. Many of the talks were geared as such, and while I have no trouble applying it to the multiple tracks of my life, I can see how it could be a challenge for others.

 

Would I attend Digital Summit Chicago again? ABSOLUTELY

 

Who would I recommend attends Digital Summit Chicago? Digital Marketers who are part of agencies, and who are looking to challenge the status quo of how marketing was done in the past. Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs who aren’t afraid of the challenge of connecting the dots to apply the same principles to their businesses.

 

Let me know if you want more reviews from the MANY conferences I attend. I would be happy to make my notes available and review them like this. 

 

I’ve compiled my personal notes in PDF format (forgive me if they are messy or incomplete, but you might find some more quotes or takeaways) … just grab them below.

 

Thanks for reading! 

 

Networking Tools and Tips

Tools and tips to ease the fear of networking

Lauren Davis

I am really a socially-awkward introvert (INFJ & Enneagram 2) hiding inside the body of what you think is an extroverted social butterfly.

Let’s talk about this thing we say. “Networking is so scary.” “Ehh, I am not cut out for that” “Networking is annoying.” I hear this a lot.

 

I understand you. I frequently get the comment “But… Lauren, you must not be as scared about it as I am…” The absolute truth is that I experience mind-crippling, gut-churning, watch-checking, fake-text-checking, wanting-to-hide side-effects you’re talking about.

 

But first, a secret… and I am embarrassed to admit this, sometimes I DO hide and pretend to look busy on my phone because I don’t know how to fit into a conversation. Sometimes I arrive late because I am afraid of all eyes being on me.

 

I know you still don’t believe me so here is an actual screenshot of a text from 2 years ago, proving that we all lose our minds sometimes. (I’m in blue) I was at a conference where I didn’t know anyone, and I (was hiding in the corner) was looking very busy on my phone, texting a friend to find just a flicker of confidence to talk to others in the room.

 

 

OK I know that is funny to read––but here is what you see on the outside. You see me planning conferences, organizing massive events, teaching webinars, doing podcast interviews, networking, smiling, shaking hands, creating relationships, introducing people, having fun, taking pictures for Instagram. But we all face something in our own heads, don’t we?

 

My networking buddies at the 2019 Thrive Conference by Cole and Sanja Hatter.

 

But if I am being honest with myself and you, my fear comes from a tiny bit of insecurity about how I look, some imposter syndrome (which I am finding EVERYONE faces time and again) and the fear that I won’t be able to find a connection-point with someone, or how to get out of a conversation that isn’t heading in the right direction.

 

BUT GUESS WHAT? I keep showing up, and I keep doing it, and it HELPS ME––and you can too. I’m telling you all this so that you know that everyone has a THING that paralyzes them but we can totally overcome our own challenges with the right tools.

 

First I am going to tell you WHY I CONTINUE to network, and then I’ll tell you tools of how I personally network and make the absolute most out of it. If you don’t read anything past this point, my end-all tip is to keep doing it and keep showing up even when you don’t want to. Examples below.

 

Why do I do it: 

 

  1. Relationships. 

You may have heard me say before that whether you’re online or in-person, cultivating relationships is the key to success in your business and life. I believe this 100%. By essentially networking alone, and putting myself in highly uncomfortable networking situations, I have made several successful relationships. Let me make it crystal clear that sometimes the connections I’ve made are not what I’d call obviously successful but they develop over time via a genuine connection with good people. This brings me to my next point. 

 

  1. Networking strengthens my intuition: 

Have you ever gotten a vibe about someone you have just met that either says “YES, I LOVE this person!” or “Ahhhh I need to get as far from this person as possible!” deep inside your gut? 

 

We all have been blessed with an incredibly strong sense of intuition. When I was little I used to try to push it away. I confused it with being “judgmental” and felt guilty for feeling that way. Later I found out that judgement and intuition were two entirely different things. By doing some deep soul searching, learning more about my personality, and experiencing some mental growth, I have been learning to lean into my intuitive abilities to gauge a room and use it as my super-power to find the driven, encouraging, and humanitarian people I want in my life. Networking strengthens my intuition and gives me the ability to practice self-care when it comes to building relationships.

 

  1. I do it because I want my business to grow. 

It’s simple but true. I get great joy out of helping people, serving my clients, and growing my business. If I look at the equation in front of me it looks like this: 

 

Networking + Cultivating Relationships = Business & Self Growth

 

Whenever I get too caught up in my head, I just try to take the emotion out for enough moments to just simply force me to walk into a room.

 

Every time I go to an event or put myself into an uncomfortable situation my business, mind, network, and relationships grow. EVERY TIME. I have at least 5 mainstay high-paying clients that are a direct feed from a networking connection. 

 

Disclaimer: I have NOT mastered networking, nor is it substantially less scary for me, but let me make the case for getting better at it and tell you my tricks for getting through it.

 

This is HOW I do it and the tools I use: 

 

  1. I use my fear as fuel. 

Have you ever chugged a Redbull or taken a pre-workout supplement, and then gone to the gym? That little extra boost of eh… questionable… energy can really give you an edge to get through a killer workout and that’s how I can best describe USING the nervousness of networking. (Ok, also I don’t recommend chugging redbull before the gym haha)

 

Before heading into a networking situation the fear bubbles up and makes me crazy. My heart-rate is usually elevated, and I am filled with thoughts like “Why would anyone want to talk to me?” Or depending on the situation, “I might not be cool enough or successful enough, or wealthy enough to be in this room.” 

 

So, what I try to do is banish those thoughts from my head by saying to myself, “The worst thing that can happen is that no one likes you and you have already prepared yourself for this Lauren… so just carry on.”

 

THEN… I use that nervous elevated energy as rocket-fuel and channel it into excitement.

 

When I was in London last November, I had coffee with a new friend and inspiring thought leader, Kelly Baadar, she told me she does the same thing before she goes out on stage. She turns her fear-energy into excitement-energy. She KILLED it on stage at the #YouPreneur summit and walked out to a roaring standing ovation. It clearly worked.

Kelly Baader at Chris Ducker's Youpreneur Summit in London

Kelly Baader at Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur Summit in London

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked my friend, business partner and mentor Mike Kim if he gets nervous before networking and before going on stage, and he said he channels any of those nerves into energy. He said he knows he is responsible for keeping and maintaining the energy of the room. 

Mike Kim Speaking at Social Media Marketing World. Photo by Lauren Davis.

Mike Kim Speaking at Social Media Marketing World. Photo by Lauren Davis.

 

See a trend here?

 

If you think about it, the nervous feelings are the same as butterflies in your stomach before a first date, you have simply attached a different thought IN YOUR HEAD based on the event. Easier said than done, but give it a try.

 

  1. I take a break if I need it. 

Sometimes as an introvert, I TRULY need a break in order to be my best self. Now, I don’t let that stop me from getting out of going to a networking event entirely, but sometimes at the end of a conference, before the networking party or event, I need a good 10 min or half-hour by myself to re-charge. That is OKAY. I don’t beat myself up about that, but instead, I re-charge and jump back in.

 

  1. I think of what I can give instead of what I can get.

My friend Travis Chappell, Top 25 business podcaster on iTunes who literally has a podcast about NETWORKING (Build Your Network Podcast) talks about how the worst thing you can do at an event, is be the person who is only there to benefit themselves, to talk about themselves only, shove business cards in everyone’s hands, get leads and leave. He calls that character “Networking Ned” which just cracks me up. 

 

Travis Chappell interviewing Trent Shelton for his podcast, Build Your Network

 

Ironically, the first time I met Travis Chappell was at Pat Flynn’s networking event in San Diego, prior to Social Media Marketing World 2018 and I remember him being an excellent networker before I even knew what he did. Here is what I noticed. 

 

He looked me in the eye. He didn’t look around the room when I was talking. He asked me relevant questions about what I did. Then he asked if he could add me on Facebook. He sent me a message over the weekend about how great it was to connect. 

 

In general, his superpower is that he put me at ease and it allowed me to be myself and shine during that interaction. Because we became Facebook friends and connected that night, we went on to work with each other in multiple capacities organically. That’s how this works. 

 

But from that initial moment, I decided, even if I personally felt awkward, I would try to make whoever I was talking to feel just as at-ease as I felt talking to Travis. 

 

  1. Flip the Switch

I flip the emotion from networking being about me to being about other people. We are all inside our own heads, believe me. Coincidentally by focusing on how I could make someone else feel at ease, I have learned so much more about other interesting people.

 

Some tips: Ask genuine relevant questions, body language is the real MVP, look at the person you’re talking to and don’t look for the next connection. If possible, have a buddy who can save you from a bad or harmful networking situation, or one who works charismatically with you to improve networking situations.

 

  1. Wine helps (me.) 

I will be brutally honest and maybe controversial and say that having a glass of wine or a light drink before I start can really help lighten the social anxiety. Please keep in mind I am not advocating drinking alcohol if this is not part of your lifestyle. I do feel that this can be helpful or hurtful to different individuals, however, I am telling you what helps me, and me alone. If you want to be my best friend at a networking event, get me my first glass of wine (my love for Cabernet runs deep) and I’ll be grateful to you in more ways than you’ll ever even know.

 

  1. Lastly, I just keep showing up.

Don’t give up. This is largely a trait of who I am as a person, and if I could bottle it up and give it to others I would. But this is truly the most important part of how networking has become easier for me. I just keep doing it. I show up even when I absolutely am dreading it. I channel the few minutes of courage I need to get me to a place… and then I make it happen. In the end, I am ALWAYS grateful I did. Surely, I can think of awful and cringeworthy moments in every networking situation, but the big picture has been worth it in the relationships I have been able to build.

 

So… Sorry, Not Sorry. I meant for this to be short and sweet but I felt the need to put into words what is going on in my head so that maybe if you’re feeling similar, you may find some relief in knowing you’re not alone. 

 

NOTE: I wrote most of this on the tail-end of attending a networking conference in the UK that I traveled to alone, with no friends, (forgot to post it until now) and knew no one attending. I just finished it up now.

 

Through various friendships, all of which I have met through networking, I was introduced through emails, text messages, and Instagram dm’s with several people attending the conference, simply because I had the courage to buy the ticket, go to the conference and, ask for a little help. Some of those standout connections I made there were Andy Storch, Andrew & Pete, and Bob Gentle. People worth following their drive and passion.

Andy Storch with Andrew and Pete

Andy Storch • Talent Development Hot Seat
Lauren Davis • Lauren Davis Creative
Kary Oberbrunner • Igniting Souls Conference
Caylee Grey • Get Messy Art Journal Lauren • Lauren-Likes.com at Youpreneur Summit

Bob Gentle • Amplify Podcast for Digital Marketers

 

Now, I have new friends, new memories, and in the big picture, a couple of new clients. Do you like the sound of this? I do.

OK, Your turn. Did this help you? I’d love to hear your most awkward networking story. Flip the switch. Help ME feel “not-alone” in this as well! Email me or DM me on Instagram! I promise to reply. 🙂

How to write your next 12 Posts, to increase engagement and connection on Instagram

Lauren Davis

If you know me as a person, you know that I am bad at small talk, and I can’t lie about anything. I show every damn thing on my face.

Those are two traits I have had forever. They are carried through my business and it seems to be the reason I am able to truly connect with so many interesting people. I would like to say I work hard at being genuine, but I have never been able to be ANYTHING but myself naturally.

But you’re here for a post about Instagram…

and because I’m not one for small talk, here are the facts. There are SO many tips, tricks, and hacks by self-proclaimed experts, but it’s never been my style to tell you my “OPINION” of how something works. By the way, you can download a FREE worksheet, grid planner, and brainstorming PDF to go along with this blog post.

Instead of giving you my opinion, I like to pass on the knowledge I KNOW works, no matter what size business or following you have, that has evidence to support it, and that you can implement immediately. This is the same process I walk through every time I take on a new influencer or small business client.

Ready? Do these 3 steps first.

Step 1.

In order to create your next 12 posts, I want you to try to forget all of the tips and hacks you believe to be true and instead think about your brand. Your brand is NOT your logo; it is what people feel when they think about your organization. Visualize what you want someone to feel about your company when they come across your social media. What do you want people to say behind your back when they talk about your brand?

Step 2.

What is your mission statement, brand pillars, or message? Take a deep breath in, and a deep breath out, and think of why you started this business. (Stay with me here, we will get to the meat of this.) Does your mission statement align with how you would like people to “feel” when they think of your brand?

Step 3.

What is your color scheme? Do you have one? You can find it in two ways. 1.) Look at your logo if you have one (or style guide if you were given one by your designer) or 2.) reference the colors you naturally use in your Instagram feed. To easily remember your color palette, screenshot those colors and keep them in a folder on your phone. Use your color scheme to inspire the photos you take or post. Be conscious of color around you and incorporate those colors into your thread.

Here’s the thing. You don’t even have to use exact colors, or theme your profile with a color scheme at all, but the reason I am having you be conscious of your color scheme is because it is an easy way to make your Instagram feed look and feel more consistent, and as humans, we are drawn to consistency. Examples in the walk-through worksheet.


Now you are more prepared than ever.

The most frequently heard statement I get is, “I don’t know what to post.” To help you with your Instagram woes, I’ve come up with some practical questions to help you get your creative juices flowing and inspire at least 12 future posts. Keep the last 3 steps in mind as you brainstorm, and remember what I said about forgetting the “hacks” you’ve heard before.

Relieve your brain from worrying about all of the tips and tricks you have heard before and just FOCUS. I have also included space for writing, brainstorming, and some extra tips in the worksheet that will help you brainstorm, but if you’re in a time crunch, here are the questions to help prompt your posts.

1., 2.) Brainstorm 2 frequently asked questions that you get asked about your business/brand or are frequently asked about what you do.

3., 4.) Brainstorm 2 times your business/brand was tagged in a positive post or review.

5., 6.) Brainstorm 2 different behind-the-scenes situations you could take a photo of and explain the process of in your business/brand.

7., 8.) Brainstorm 2 different special moments in your business/brand history which you are proud of or have (even a simple) story behind them.

9., 10.) Brainstorm 2 different mentors or role models who have made a difference to you or your business/brand and why. Bonus if you can include their Instagram handles or names for tagging them in the post.

11., 12.) Brainstorm 2 different self-development or business development situations that you are participating in. This could be as simple as reading a book or as big as attending a workshop or conference.

 

Use the worksheet provided. I mean, really use it. Write outside the margins and doodle notes. Let it inspire you to start thinking about your posts. The world wants to hear from you. There is a blank grid for you to sketch out “thumbnails” of what you want your feed to look like, and a suggested way to lay out these posts. You may be creative, or you may not be, but think of how these posts work with your brand, mission, and message we talked about in the first 3 steps.

Do these first, be consistent for 2 weeks, and then head back here and we can talk about engagement and other proven tips for helping your account grow. Tag me as you brainstorm in your posts. I would love to see what you’re up to! I promise to always give you the absolute most accurate information that I have.

If you have any questions, I encourage you to connect with me on Instagram. I try to answer every single message and comment as much as possible.

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield – One of my absolute favorites

Lauren Davis

Who is your favorite person to consume online marketing content from? My favorite of all time is absolutely Amy Porterfield. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Here are a few reasons why she is one of my favorites, and will probably be your favorite too. 

1. Easy to Listen to:

I’ve always felt like the way Amy delivers content and tells a story is the same way my brain processes information and find myself saying things like “ME TOO!” “EXACTLY!” “Umm… Did she just read my mind?”

2. Humble AF:

Whenever I listen to her podcast (🎙️Online Marketing Made Easy) or read her content. I love her ability to lay her own past mistakes out on the table for others to learn from in a way that makes them seem not-so-scary for others to experience, although you can tell that she used each bad, or sometimes awkward experience to truly grow.

3. Engaging in the most Genuine Way:

She also connects with her audience. Even though she is running a busy and successful business with a team, I have witnessed casual, friendly, and helpful/encouraging replies between her and her followers. When I saw her speak this year, she took the time to take a picture and personally talk with about 50 people afterward. Heck, I’ve barely met Amy, and she’s taken the initiative to interact with me in a genuine way inside Instagram as well.

Hey, it might have been one of her team members, but she obviously puts an emphasis on genuine connection, and I am so all about that.

 

4. Easy to Understand and honest:

I love Amy’s ability to practically teach what works, and she vows to never talk about something she truly does not have experience with. She is honest about her strengths and weaknesses which is refreshing… and in my opinion, cuts through the noise of many Online Marketing “experts.” (cough)

5. Gives a behind-the-scenes look at Entrepreneurship

I believe there are tons of online influencers out there, and many of them are living amazing lives, but Amy seems to give her audience an inside look at the highs and the lows and the learning moments in between. We don’t just see the best of the best. It challenges us all to look inside ourselves and see how others can learn from every part of our being. I appreciate that.


Here are a few of my favorite (more recent) episodes of her podcast to get you started, but you can’t really go wrong if you just start at the top:

 

Episode #211: 5 Things I Said “Yes” To In The Early Years (But Say “No” to Now)

 

Episode #208: How I’ve Built My “Small, But Mighty” Team (The Wins, Fails & Fears)

 

Episode #217: Why You Aren’t Taking Action with Brooke Castillo

 

 

I had the pleasure of meeting Amy in San Diego this past Spring. If you don’t already listen to her podcast, start today!

Here are some of my favorite (recent) episodes to get you started… but you can’t really go wrong.

P.S. I want to note I was not paid in any way for this post. I just love her content so so much. 🙂 

 

How Important are Mobile-Friendly Posts?

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 #TIPTUESDAY:
 
Did you know 189 million Facebook users are considered “Mobile Only?”
 
With a tech-centric generations increasing and the versatility of smart phones that are being used from anyone 7 years old to 70 years old and beyond… It’s important that you make sure EVERYTHING is mobile friendly on your social media accounts, website, and email marketing (such as Mailchimp or Constant Contact.)
 
“Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. This is a 7% increase from the end of 2012 already.” –Fast Company
 
What does this mean for you?
When you are putting together posts/ads on Facebook, Instagram, your blog or email marketing, consider how it will look from a mobile device. Will things be cut-off? Will the text be too small (email pet peeve!) One way I frequently see this, is on event pages on Facebook. 
Making things mobile friendly will his will help the way people engage with your business or personality on social media instantly. 
 
Let me know if you have any questions!

My First Time Attending Social Media Marketing World [2017]

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As an advocate for indie business owners and as a business owner myself, I’ve always believed that there are two different types of businesses. The first type of business owner believes that when they put forth the effort to start a business, they deserve to have customers. This business will sometimes be successful from the start, but most times will wonder why they do not have customers–until it either clicks, or maybe it doesn’t.

The second type of business owner never feels that their work is done and will work to earn their customers ALWAYS, regardless of the amount of customers they acquire over time. They will work themselves harder each day, forever.

I strive to be the second type of business owner. Being an entrepreneur that not only works in the creative graphic design/art industry but also in marketing and social media marketing takes effort and a strong (constant) work ethic. I work as hard as possible for my clients and I feel appreciated by them so it is a consistent win-win scenario for me.

My business has a couple sides. I spend countless hours working on art, zoomed in to the most selective details, creating well-balanced graphics that have to be aesthetically pleasing and intriguing, sometimes losing several hours inside artwork. Then suddenly I need to snap on my “business hat” which is the role in which I run my own professional meetings and consultations, invoice, create systems/presentations/pragmatic marketing strategy.

I have been consistently working on training myself to switch effortlessly back and forth. I believe it comes from my natural thirst to learn, and learn a lot.

That is why I decided to attend Social Media Marketing World this year. It is promoted as the largest social media marketing conference in the United States. At close to $1200 for the early bird ticket, I thought REALLY hard about the decision to attend. Not that everyone is in the same boat, but quite a few of the people attending I connected with pre-event, were being sent by their companies and have all-expenses-paid trips.

But for a small business like mine from Rockford, Illinois, I wanted to make sure that this would be the conference for me and would give me an unforgettable experience. After much research I decided that it was worth taking the risk. I participated in all threads and apps provided ahead of time to meet people in similar fields as me and signed up for different events ahead of time. I read everything I could about past conferences from people with much more experience than me. Then off to San Diego I flew.

I’ve now been in San Diego for just under 24 hours and I have already met connections from the conference (which hasn’t even started yet) at various networking opportunities that I hope to carry with me through out the rest of my life.

I look forward to the rest of this conference!

Why do I need a Vector Logo?

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Without a doubt, one of the most important parts of your business, band, or personal brand: Your Vector Logo

 


What is a vector logo?

Bear with me…. “Vector graphics files store the points, lines, shapes, curves and colors that make up an image as mathematical formulae. High quality logos are always designed in vector based software.” –www.wikipedia.com

Ok, I know that sounds incredibly boring but it’s actually kinda cool.

How will having a vector logo benefit me?

Vector logos can be scaled as large or as small as you would like, while remaining perfectly intact, crisp and clear. With a vector logo, you can resize your logo as large as the side of your private jet, and as small as the tip of an eraser without sacrificing any quality.

Images created in a pixel based software (for instance, a .JPG, an image you save off the web, or an image you’ve sneakily captured in a MS Word Document) will not scale properly and will lose quality each time it is resized, becoming impossible to work with. Think of all the things you can slap your logo on with the ability to scale it consistently and precisely.

Example: Did you ever try to enlarge a great photo, but when it returned to you developed, it appeared blurry and pixelated? This is the same thing that happens to a pixel based logo over time when it is NOT a vector. Check out the image of the Lauren Davis Creative owl below. See how the owl on the left is crisp and clear, and the one on the right is blurry and unprofessional looking?

owl

 

Your goal is to have consistency and professionalism from your business card, to your embroidered shirts, to your hats, to your rack cards and beyond. If you’re a band or singer/songwriter; from your t-shirts, to your download cards, to your album cover, to your pin-back buttons. If you’re in this for the bigger picture, a vector is absolutely necessary.

It is your gold card. 

How do I know if I already have a vector version of my logo/image?

Usually a vector file will have an .eps or .ai extension at the end. For instance the file name for the LDC logo is LaurenDavisCreative_Logo.eps

If your file is pixel based, (meaning NOT a vector) it will probably have one of these extensions instead: .jpg, .tif, .gif, .png or .psd 

Unless you own vector software, you will most likely NEVER be able to open the vector logo your graphic designer sends you. But THAT’S OKAY! Save it and cherish it. Whenever you work with a graphic designer, web designer, sign maker, or high quality printer in the future, you will be asked to send over your vector logo for the highest quality of print work. Voila!

When you work with Lauren Davis Creative to create your logo and branding package, you’ll receive a multitude of file types that you can indeed open and use frequently along with your vector file formats. We’ll also send you a style guide for your logo, and instructions on each file type so you won’t be left wondering how to use them.

Even if you haven’t worked with Lauren Davis Creative, save yourself a headache and make sure that you request a vector file of your logo from the graphic designer you have chosen to work with for the best quality results.

What if I have an existing logo, but no vector file?

Great question! A professional graphic artist can skillfully design your logo in a vector format by re-drawing and re-creating the logo from scratch. In some cases, logos may need some love; updating, cleaning up, or refreshing a logo can be fun and breathe new life into your branding. Lauren Davis Creative can surely help with this too.

Last but not least, it’s totally editable in the future, as opposed to a pixel based logo. Graphic designers strive to create timeless graphics that will last the lifetime of your business, but if necessary, in 10 years, your favorite graphic artist can head into that .eps file and modernize it, fix the business name if it has had a slight change, or re-work something that no longer meshes with your ever-evolving brand. Vectors are editable.

Do you have any questions? Get in touch! Email Me

Welcome to Lauren Davis Creative

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Thank you for stopping by my blog. Feel free to contact me using the contact button, or learn more about me in the about section. Stay tuned for a blog soon.

 

-Lauren