Beautiful Banner! (Photo by the amazeballs Etsy Labs)
I’ve recovered (I think!) and am finally able to get my thoughts together on the awesomeness of what was the first-ever, sold-out, appropriately-named Etsy Success Symposium. When I was asked to speak, I knew I was a part of something super special. But that day…well, it really just knocked my socks right off!
I was there the night before to help Danielle with last-minute To Dos and set-ups, but I was still awed by the gorgeousness of the Etsy Labs space the morning of the Symposium! The banners, the centerpieces, the ceiling decorations, the light and the view…it was perfection. I got there bright and early to register, picked up my swag bag, and went in to grab some breakfast (drink choices were coffee, tea, OJ and watermelon juice!) and was met with my first crafty project: stringing my “name necklace” together, which consisted of my Name (duh), the title Speaker (yay!) and my “animal essence”: a swan!
Clockwise from top: My “name necklace”; Fabulous flowers in a purdy pom-pom vase!; My swag bag stuffer (3 crayons & my biz card in a clear envelope with a When I Grow Up sticker keeping it closed. And who says I ain’t crafty?!); the Etsy swag bag itself (Photo by the amazeballs Etsy Labs)
The first workshop, given by Lorrie Veasey (founder of Our Name is Mud, one of my fave shops!) got us off our “butts” and into the head space to take action and make our challenges less challenging, one excuse at a time. Then I went to Sarah Feingold‘s workshop, who I met the night before and who slayed me with her hilarious, silly sense of humor (and yes, she’s a lawyer!). She explained copyrights, trademarks and the like while throwing Ring Pops at us. She’s awesome, and while I haven’t read it yet, I’m pretty sure that her e-book Copyright for Artists (affiliate link), is a super help for any artist who has questions on protecting their work.
Then it was time for lunch (banh mi sandwiches!) and the keynote speaker, Nancy Soriano, creator of The Creative Connection (which I’m dying to go to now). She had 12 fantastic lessons that she shared, which you can find here. Then, it was onto Intro to Bookkeeping for Creative Entrepreneurs with The Singing CPA, Steven Zelin. He answered questions from the audience and, true to his moniker, kept his guitar strapped on throughout the workshop and gave us his renditions of songs like Green Day’s “Time of Your Life”, but with lyrics that have to do with taxes. Amazeballs.
After Steven’s workshop, I retired to a hallway to look like a crazy person and go over my workshop (to myself) one last time. Someone I recently met said she saw me then (although I was so in my own world I didn’t see her!), and it was “a sweet image.” I expected her to say “a crazy image”, but I’ll take sweet! When I was done, it was time to head back into the Lab for the coffee break (with treats from Whimsy & Spice!) and butterflies in my stomach, courtesy of my creeping-ever-closer presentation time. Thankfully, I received a ton of sweet words online and off, and was more excited than nervous to present Ascertaining Your Awesomeness and Articulating It Without Sounding Like an Ass! I passed my phone along to my fantastic friend (and Virtual Assistant!) Jess Larsen to take some blurry iPhone pics and tweet for me (she made a drinking game of my presentation – take a drink every time I say “amazeballs!”), took a deep breath, and started the presentation.
Photos by the amazeballs Etsy Labs
I have to be honest wit ya – with most of my workshop consisting of me talking and the participants writing answers to questions I posed, I was nervous that it was, well, less than exciting. I’m not too good with silences and there were lots of ’em, but I also loved knowing that the silences came from the attendees furiously writing! I definitely relaxed a bit when I gave everyone the cue to work with each other on their awesome articulations, and saw how animated and excited everyone was. Nobody flagged me down for help, nobody seemed to be all quiet in an I-have-no-idea-what-this-lady’s-talking-about-way, and everyone seemed to be really genuinely engaged with each other. That was exciting. I wish we had more time to go around the room and answer questions as well as share more of our articulations with each other, but time flew by and it seemed to be over before it began! I wrapped up, said my thank yous, and noticed that partners continued talking to each other, even exchanging contact info to keep in touch.
I shook it out, spoke to some amazeballs attendees in the short break, and took a seat for April Bowles Olin’s presentation. It was then that I turned to my dying phone, knowing that Twitter would contain my “report card” of not only how well I did, but how helpful my workshop was. I kept my fingers crossed, read my @s and the #EtsySuccess feed, and got a huge case of the warm fuzzies then and there. They liked me – they really liked me! From the tweets to the e-mails to the in-person compliments, I knew there were new a-ha! moments and takeaways from the people present in that room and the 1500(!!!) who were online. Oh, and they liked my dress too (for those who asked, it’s from the BCBG Outlet in Deer Park, Long Island – my dirty little secret)!
About a half-hour later, my body just crashed, with all my energy sinking into the chair and my brain turning a bit mushy. I felt tired, yet still energized. I grabbed a beer when they were brought in after April’s presentation, took some photo booth shots with Danielle, Julie, Jess & Monica, and went to eat at Superfine (best name ever) with Jess, Monica and Lauren. We talked creativity and business and wins and challenges, what we took away from the day and what we were gonna implement when we got home. By 9:30p I asked for the check and told the girls that I was afraid I was gonna fall asleep on them, but not to take it person. I headed home in a cab, filled my lovely man in on my lovely day, opened my gift from Rita, and made this video.
Yes, Etsy Labs has a photo booth and lots of pretty props on sticks. Obviously, we were having a terrible time.
Then I slept. Hard. Woke up and realized that there was no more Etsy Success Symposium to prepare for/worry about/look forward to. And while there was a hint of disappointment, I know that there’s more awesomeness around the corner. After all, I pitched an Etsy Cruise idea to Danielle, and she said she’d consider it. Get your bathing suits ready, everyone!
A special Hi! and NiceToMeetYa! and ThanksForTalkinToMe! to Faune, Mina (who so sweetly told me during my “crazy time” prepping how great I was gonna do), Wendy, Julie (she’s a tarot card reader, too!), Danielle (who keeps tweeting me the nicest things, I swear!), Samantha (who has a hilarious teeth obsession), Cindy (who came to talk to me pre-workshop & helped calm my nerves), Stephanie & Sophia (who gave me a bracelet she made because it was the only thing attached to her business card!); fellow presenters Noah, April, Sarah, Steven and Amanda (Lorrie, so sad to not meet you in person!); and on the Etsy team, The Michelles (I’ll always remember their names first!), Nickey, Nicole, Vanessa, Julie, Morgan, Dave, Kimm and of course Danielle (who organized the whole thing & asked me to be a part of it) & Allison (who introduced me to Danielle!). Thanks for a day at a place better than Disneyland.