7 key lessons from Create + Cultivate NYC

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Earlier this month, more than 600 curious creatives, entrepreneurs, and bosses met up at #createcultivatenyc to spark passionate conversation around topics ranging from starting a blog to influencer marketing to brand building and even raising money. The New York City conference provided a means for girl bosses to meet other talented, like-minded women, all while learning tips and tricks from some of the best in the business.

As an attendee, I had access to a full day of highly curated, impactful workshops, mentor sessions, and panels, as well as delicious food, pop-up shops, cocktails, photo opportunities, gift bags, and so much more.

It was definitely a day filled with many amazing and inspiring moments.

Here are seven key pieces of advice we took away from our time with the Create + Cultivate crew in New York City.

Be engaging – @andi_dorfman

A former Assistant District Attorney, best-selling author, plus the star of both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Andi Dorfman knows a thing or two about reality television, getting engaged, breaking hearts, and breaking off engagements. She also is well-versed in the number one rule to social media success—being engaging.

Andi helped kick off the day’s events with this bit of wisdom, “The photos that you’re most engaged with, will be the photos that are most engaged in.”

How can you follow Andi’s advice for a true to you, engaging feed?

She encourages you to look through Instagram and take a screenshot of every image that you like. Then, she recommends saving these screenshots to their own album on your phone. Afterwards, Andi suggest you go through this album and identify what stands out. Those are the topics and moments that speak to you. What’s contained in that album then is your content and your common themes.

Now go be engaged! After you finish reading this post, of course.

Embrace the lesson – @kendrascott

Did you know that Kendra Scott had another company prior to launching her universally-adored accessories empire? Freshly transplanted to Austin and only 19, Kendra started her first retail adventure in a mall, with a store named The Hat Box.

True to its name, The Hat Box sold every type of hat a girl could want. Sadly, sales weren’t high enough to keep the company afloat. After five years of struggle, Kendra closed her hat shop for good.

Even on her darkest day as she was flipping the closed sign for the final time, Kendra knew this wasn’t the end for her in the world of retail.

While most would be discouraged and view what happened with The Hat Box as a failure, Kendra instead saw her first foray as an entrepreneur for what it was—a valuable lesson in retail.

Sure, she admits to a bit of wallowing. Then, a determined Kendra picked herself up and moved forward to bigger and better things.

She’s not built an empire of bling on a solid foundation incorporating family, fashion, and philanthropy.

Be you – @extrapetite

Let’s face it, we all have spent more time than we are comfortable admitting playing the comparison game. It’s hard to ignore what others are doing, how much further along they seem than you, or how much more successful they appear.

The reality of the situation, however, is that they aren’t you. And you’re pretty great. I mean it.

According to Jean Wang, the genius behind the blog Extra Petite, it’s important to always maintain your originality and remember who you are.

Be authentic.

Jean recommends following a simple plan any time you get discouraged or feel lost:

  • Identify the people, brands, places, and things that make you feel joy.
  • Post about those things.
  • Repeat.

She also suggests you only link to the sources and brands that are authentic to you and your values.

Go ahead, be selfish. Make it all about you.

The struggle is real – @rebeccaminkoff

It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re in the thick of it plugging away trying to turn your entrepreneurial goals into successes. Especially when every meal is ramen noodles.

Have you ever felt this way? Bag-goddess and designer extraordinaire Rebecca Minkoff has.

Back in 2005, she was struggling to launch her fashion line. Every dollar her business earned went directly back into furthering the business.

Rebecca didn’t collect a salary. She wasn’t sipping rose poolside by day and then partying the night away. She was too busy saving every single penny she could to reinvest in her dream.

Ramen included. Lots and lots of ramen.

Openly admitting her struggle, Rebecca is teaching us all a valuable lesson: If you believe in what you’re doing and invest all you have in your dreams, the struggle will only be a brief layover on your journey to success.

Growth hack the sh*t out of it – @theskinnyconfidential

With new social media platforms being introduced every day, staying on top of it all is more than a fulltime job.

No one knows this better than Lauryn Evarts Bosstick.

As the driving force behind The Skinny Confidential, Lauryn knows building a cross-functional platform is key. And to do that, she must diversity her content across all her social channels.

Lauryn is a big proponent of growth hacking. You should be, too.

What is growth hacking? It’s the process of experimenting across channels to identify the most effective, efficient ways to grow your business. Or in this case, your following.

Lauryn does a boss job at growth hacking. For instance, a typical day on her feeds might resemble:

  • Instagram – An artistic picture of Lauryn’s morning coffee in an adorable cup.
  • Snapchat – Where you can find out how Lauryn made said delicious cup of coffee.
  • Twitter – Here’s the link to buy the adorable coffee cup used this morning by Lauryn.
  • Blog – Where you can find Lauryn’s coffee recipe and many other delicious recipes.
  • Rinse and repeat the above with new topic.

Congratulations, you just learned to growth hack from the master!

Fake it until you make it – @micamay

As the queen of notebook design with May Designs, and now a fashion designer, Mica May knows a thing or two about faking it until you really make it.

While trying to juggle work as a graphic designer with her one-woman notebook design business, Mica printed off a stack of her designs and gave them to a Good Morning America contributor at a conference.

Mica was asked a battery of questions. Some she didn’t even know the answer to. But she knew she was going to do whatever it took and whatever they asked.

Could the notebooks be personalized? Of course. By Mica, the one and only employee.

Did she have a secure server? Sure. Except she didn’t. And hurried to get one setup that day.

Was she able to pack and ship a huge quantity of product in a short amount of time? Yes, she could. Well, as the only employee Mica could try.

A few weeks later, her notebooks appeared on Good Morning America. Mica received 33,000 orders.

What’s great about Mica’s story is that she believed in herself enough to make others believe in her, too. Mica was the definition of faking it until she could make it.

No one at the national media outlet knew the scrambling that had to happen behind the scenes after their show for Mica to pull of all those orders. They just knew she had a great product.

Mica knew it, too. Have the confidence Mica does. Even if you must fake it for a while.

Collaboration over competition - @maryorton

“Think about being an influencer like you would a restaurant,” said Mary Orton, co-founder of @TheTroveApp and editor of Memorandum. “No one is ever upset when another restaurant comes to town.”

Mary is so right.

Even if the world of being an influencer feels oversaturated, there’s always room in the sandbox for a few more friends.

So, you blog about fashion and travel. Many others do, too.

Except you are all writing from your own unique experiences. Embrace those differences. They’re what makes each of you unique—and worth following.

When you choose collaboration over competition, you build relationships. Good relationships make you better at business. They also open you up to a whole new variety of business opportunities, like partnerships and things outside your nice. Being better at business translates into success and achieving your goals.

Collaborating rather than competing also encourages creativity, vulnerability, and risk taking.

Besides, being an entrepreneur can get lonely. One day, you might need a cheerleader. One day, someone might need you to be their cheerleader. Life is better with like-minded friends.

Two, four, six, eight…isn’t time to collaborate?

Did you attend #createcultivatenyc? What inspirational lessons did you learn?

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