Last weekend I flew down to Melbourne to attend the Big Hearted Business (un)Conference. Now I have never been to a conference in my life, business or otherwise, so I had no idea what to expect. I have many family members and friends who work in more traditional business-y, corporate-y fields – law, accounting and the like – so when I hear the words conference I immediately think of suits, convention centres and lots and lots of Powerpoint presentations. Not really my cup of tea.
I’m not sure how I first came across Big Hearted Business (BHB). But thank goodness I did because the weekend was life-changing. Truly. I’m now thinking about my work in a completely different way. The whole concept is the brainchild of singer (and actress on my fave TV show, Offspring) Claire Bowditch. She’s one amazing lady, and I was already a massive fan, but after the conference I cannot rave about how fabulous, smart, talented and kind she is. Gush.
For a long time Claire saw that musicians and other creatives were giving up on their dreams because they could not make any money from them (and maintain their artistic integrity). But the two are not mutually exclusive. Claire started mentoring and teaching business skills to creatives, all the while dreaming about what was to become BHB. And the premise is pretty simple: to teach creative people about business, and business people about creativity, in ways that make sense.
Often creatives and small business owners spend lots of time on their own – drawing, designing, writing, composing, dreaming, creating. And if you don’t have a team around you, it can be lonely. There are no watercooler chats or immediate feedback on a job well done. So other than the inspirational speakers, my favourite part of BHB was meeting a whole tribe of interesting women (and a few men!) who understand creative struggles. They just get it.
And as for practical business skills? Well I know that up until recently, the idea of websites, marketing, accounting, PR and putting myself out there on social media was nothing less than terrifying. But Claire and her speakers spoke about the nuts and bolts of business in ways that were realistic yet positive. Becoming more business savvy doesn’t have to mean selling your soul, or being scammy or salesy. As Claire said: “Marketing is the ability to tell a story which inspires the people who love, or would benefit from, your stuff to get your stuff.”
I learnt so much on the weekend, had so many aha! moments that it’ll take me a few blog posts to get through them all. But I thought I’d get started with some of my favourite quotes.
“Ask yourself: what is one thing I can do everyday that will move me forward?” – Correne Wilkie, manager of The Cat Empire
“Don’t compete, collaborate.” – Pip Lincolne, author, crafter and blogger
“Connection is at the heart of social media. We connect through content. Content is simply storytelling.” – Kylie Lewis, digital strategist
“Failure shared halves its power over you.” – Fabien Dattner, leadership expert
“If you’re always worried about juggling and balancing, you don’t know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Learn to say no.” – Fabien Dattner
“There’s no point telling other people what to do – just do it yourself.” – Joost Bakker, sustainability expert, creative and visionary
“Your voice is your art.” – Danielle La Porte, author and speaker
“Guilt is a sidecar to consciousness. You can’t change without leaving things behind.” – Danielle La Porte
“Obligation puts you in victim mode. Make conscious choices.” – Danielle La Porte
“The things you stop doing are just as important to your success as the things you start doing.” – Danielle La Porte
“Want what you want. Do not apologise for your desires.” – Danielle La Porte
“You need to suck really bad before you can reach your potential.” – Missy Higgins, singer/songwriter
“Respect your body and your mind will thank you.” – Missy Higgins
“Truth, no matter how ugly, will always become beautiful when shared with others.” – Missy Higgins
“Be different. Make mistaks. Be flexible. Go above and beyond. Keep learning. Be nice. Work hard.” – Beci Orpin, designer
And I could go on – especially with inspiration from Fabien Dattner, Missy Higgins and Danielle La Porte. Those ladies were amazing.
Do any of these quotes resonate with you? And if you went to the BHB (un)conference, who was your favourite speaker?