Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes, and General Mental Mayhem


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The Plywood Business Retreat

retreat-lake-house

After attending their conference the past few years, I finally had the privilege of attending the Plywood Retreat last week. This intimate event is limited to about a dozen attendees, and helps entrepreneurs pursue business dreams in very practical ways. Due to the size, we are able to stay at a lake house and enjoy the natural surroundings most of us don’t get to see very often, rather than be in a typical conference room or in-town auditorium.

There were many things I appreciated about the event, but in particular, I love how they try to create a tailor-made experience. Before arriving, we had to fill out an application and go through an interview to make sure we were a right fit for the retreat, which is aimed at mostly social enterprises who want to do positive things in the world, on both the for- and non-profit sides. We were all also in the early stages of business—less than two years, I think. Then we had a phone interview with the founder, Jeff Shinabarger, and he took a bit of time to get to know us as individuals and our thoughts/needs/wants for our business. But, this way, we weren’t walking into the retreat having to introduce ourselves and our goals. The staff already had a good understanding of us, and we could hit the ground running.

These things add up to a couple of other very important customizations. First, they choose the speakers based on us. I think some of them overlap from retreat to retreat, but they also like to bring in folks who can lend unique perspective to our particular areas. So, we had speakers not only on finance, goals, marketing and branding, which most everyone could learn from, but also had one, for example, on donor expectations and insight for those in the non-profit sector or who need to raise capital.

One of the highlights, and the most individual-centered aspect, was the mentor dinner. We went off-site to a restaurant and sat at a table with someone they chose specifically for us. I had a fantastic meal with Jennifer Schuchmann, a local author who also has a background in other forms of writing. She was awesome. She was able to answer very high-level and very practical questions I had, as well as work through a few things I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but knew I needed to clarify in my work. This was really special, and I think everyone felt the same.

So, overall, a very cool experience. And did I mention we had a personal chef? Jason from Homespun was amazing! It was very sad to wake up to my own cooking the next day. 😉

If you feel like you’re part of the target audience for this retreat, I’d definitely tell you to consider it. Or maybe come to the conference as a start. They have even launched an online curriculum now as well. Yes, any and all of them are quite the investment, especially for someone like me who is only in month three of my business. But I am really glad I kicked things off this way. I know it will help me going forward. In fact, I’ll get a follow-up in a few weeks because we all had 30-day action steps to take. Gotta get moving…

But before I go, I wanted to introduce you to my fellow retreaters. They are doing some really wonderful things you should know about.

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Yellow Conference Notes & Quotes

IMG_1555.JPGLast week I had the privilege of attending the Yellow Conference in Los Angeles for the first time. If you aren’t familiar with it, the event is for creative and entrepreneurial women who want to do good things in the world. This is only the third year of the event, and there were about 500 of us present. It was a lot of fun, a great time for learning, an opportunity to make new friends…and perhaps even land a few new clients.

You can see their photos here, and read their event recap.

And below you’ll find many of my highlights. I hope to be there next year, and see you there too!

Jess Eckstrom, Headbands of Hope

  • Because I know I can ___, next I’m going to . . .
  • Achieving a dream isn’t a finish line. It’s crossing a border into a new territory.
  • Gamble on a possibility of “yes” rather than buckle into the safety of “no.”
  • The fear of failure versus the feeling of regret.
  • Passion must outweigh your fears to move forward.
  • Just because something is not your job doesn’t mean it can’t be your responsibility. Inspire a solution.
  • It’s not about what we do when we dream. it’s about what we do when we wake up.
  • Every expert was once a beginner.
  • A bucket list is a dream so vivid that it inspires action.
  • Life’s most defining moment is when you discover what you want and what you do about it.

CJ Casciotta, Creative Director in Nashville

  • Hosts “Like a Movement” podcast
  • Movements are started by weird people with audacity.
  • 1. Find the weird. 2. Write the story. 3. Gather the weirdos. 4. Hack the normals.
  • Movements are “me too” machines.
  • Weird ideas explode when they case to be the authors and start becoming the readers.

Kirsten Dickerson, founder of Raven + Lily

  • Live SLOW, and thoughtful.
  • Check out her mini house tour outside of Austin!
  • S – Simplify
  • L – Live in the moment. We all still have to avoid the tyranny of the moment. Don’t check email for a while after waking up. Leave space in your life to respond to the needs of others.
  • O – get Outside.
  • W – be Willing to ask the who, what and where of everyday choices.

Jedediah Jenkins, travel writer

  • Your dream for your life is the thing you were meant to do.
  • Your goal is a version of your dream, but not the big thing.
  • What do you want to spend 10,000 hours doing so you can be the best at it? (Gladwell’s Outliers principle)

Elle Luna, #ChooseMust

  • The crossroads of should and must.
  • Make less art. Become art.
  • “Should” comes with a lot of expectations. Should is from the outside in.
  • “Must” is the truth of who you area.
  • “Should” is a “must” in training.
  • The first thing a prisoner needs to understand is that they are in prison. 🙂
  • Fill your canvas. Choose your story.
  • TED Talk – job vs career vs calling
  • Find your “must.”

Krysta Masciale (krysta @ bigdealbranding.com)

  • You can kick butt from a gentle place!
  • There is nothing more powerful than a brand who owns it.
  • When were you last functioning in your sweet spot?
  • Don’t choose to be a replica. Choose to be yourself.
  • Intersection of values and talents, and where the market exists = that’s where each of us needs to be.
  • No one buys the knock-off without wishing they could afford the real thing.
  • Identify your top five values. The people with those same values will find you.
  • Is the thing you want for the world also the same thing you want for yourself?

Tim Harris, Tim’s Place

  • Live an awesome life.
  • 1. Love people.
  • 2. Work hard.
  • 3. Believe in yourself.
  • 4. Believe in others.
  • 5. Think happy and show it.
  • 6. Use your super powers.
  • 7. Don’t complain about the darkness. Be the light.

Alexis Jones, I Am That Girl

  • Passion is the audacity to get back up.
  • Insecurity will destroy you.
  • When were we as women convinced that we were competing against each other?
  • Surround yourself with people who are crazy enough to believe in and share your dream.
  • Con you sit in discomfort? Comfort will drain creativity.
  • Connect your dots. What got you to this place?
  • It’s your job to teach people how to treat you. You are the only common denominator in your relationships.

Julia Woods, Beautiful Outcome

  • You have to learn to value yourself first.
  • Your impact is valued by those closest to you. Impact those closest to you first, then go bigger.
  • You need to make the biz side of your biz your friend, not your enemy.
  • Friends are fun. Find time for them. You understand each other. You need each other.
  • Find time: education. Weekly investment. Set aside dedicated time.
  • Understand each other. Love without judgement. Scarcity/abundance principle.
  • Social media is the running conversation around your brand.
  • Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.
  • Understand each other. Be a generous listener. What do you need? What does it need?
  • If you can’t do what you do profitably in 40 hours per week, it’s not a practical business. But you can also give it a year or so to get there.
  • Make sure you have an accurate representation of what goes into creating and delivering your service. Cost of sales includes what it would cost you to replace you.
  • Taking care of each other’s needs:
    • How do I know what to charge per client?
      • Desired salary x 2.5 = gross sales
      • Desired hours worked / average time per job = job production
      • Job production /  sales = average number of jobs needed
      • Dived “desired hours” by 1/3 due to 1/3 admin and 1/3 marketing
      • Include 11 months instead of 12 for vacation/holidays
    • How do I price per product?
      • Total cost x 4 = price needed

Wilkinson Mazzeo Law

  • Work with a lot of creatives, entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, startups, causes etc.
  • Offer one free hour of legal advice for women business owners.
  • Based in San Diego, but work all over.
  • Why have a Creative Services Agreement?
    • Professionalism, clarity, guidance, ownership and exit
    • If you have clients under a previous CSA and then revise it, you must use language that the old one is void with new CSA.
  • Copyright 101
    • Necessary for copyright protection:
      • Fixed in a tangible medium (written, recorded, etc)
      • Original (originated with the author)
      • Minimal creativity (low threshold)
    • Automatically applies:
      • No registration necessary, unless you want to bring a lawsuit.
      • Takes 6-8 months to obtain.
  • Trademark 101
    • Rights are created through first use, not registration.
    • Must act as a “source identifier” for your goods/services.
    • For registration:
      • Must be distinctive.
      • Must be likely to cause consumer confusion.
      • TM for unregistered and circle R for registered.
  • Ownership
    • Work for hire (They own it.)
    • License (They use but you own.)
  • Exit
    • Includes what happens if you reach an impasse with your client and can no longer work together.
      • Kill fee or 30 days, etc. Includes options for both sides.
      • Also include right/option to use for other things.
  • CSA should include
    • Payment
    • Timeline(s)
    • Point of contact
    • Rounds of revisions (usually two, then fee)
    • Ownership of work product
    • Satisfaction clause
    • Indemnity
    • Expense reimbursement
    • Severability and non-waiver
    • Termination
  • Resources on their website

Meg Long, KnowYourMoneyHoney.com

  • Why money stuff matters:
    • You won’t know when to celebrate win.
    • You’ll be paralyzed by decisions.
    • You won’t know how to solve business problems.
    • You’ll have a scarcity mindset.
    • Your creativity suffers.
    • You’ll default to anxiety.
  • Managing your money is part of good self-care.
  • Deep down, money is really about identity.
  • Money is inherently tied to emotion.
  • Find a friend you can be real about money with.

Lindsey Witmer Collins, Create Your Compass

  • Track your cash.
  • Track your time.
  • Track your agreements.
    • Do what you say you’re going to do.
  • Honor yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
    • Trust yourself.
    • Listen to your body.
  • Honor your process.
    • Be cool with the ups and downs.
  • Be someone with a solutions mindset.
    • Be helpful.
    • Opportunity for learning and leadership
  • Get community.
    • Invest in it.


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I’m Headed to The Yellow Conference

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 8.38.45 PM

I’m excited to be heading to The Yellow Conference this week! It’s my first time at this event, which is dedicated to creative and entrepreneurial women. And as an added bonus, it takes place in my self-adopted second home of Southern California. Should be an awesome event!

Follow along with me:
Instagram

Twitter

I’ll have notes and quotes for you next week!


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Plywood Presents: Notes and Quotes

FullSizeRender 11This is a conference I look forward to every year. It’s fun, I’m able to see old friends, and it’s locally-focused. The last item is what makes it truly unique. The people who speak are not only inspiring, but most often, they’re doing something remarkable in the Atlanta area. So, while I love hearing big names from big companies, Plywood is really awesome because I can also usually say that the speaker or company is just miles away from me. It gives me plenty of chills and warm fuzzies.

Jeff Shinabarger, Plywood founder:

  • Sit with people that don’t sound like you.
  • Learn from people that you want to sound like.
  • Share with people that engage your advice.
  • Everyone has something to give. Everyone has something to learn.

Gregory Ellison, Fearless Dialogues:

  • Sometimes things have to break down to have a break through.
  • “The longest journey we have in life is from our heads to our hearts.” – a lady he knew growing up
  • “I don’t know how to change the world, but I can change the three feet around me.” – his Aunt Dottie

Hank Fortner, Adopt Together:

  • World Adoption Day
  • People who need love don’t care how old you are.
  • 19 million orphans in the world, 500K in US foster care, 25% of kids who age out of the system are homeless, 80% in jail, 30% are pregnant, 80% end up in prostitution and 56% wind up unemployed. The system is seriously failing these kids.
  • Family is the answer to almost everything.
  • Lots of organizations are doing great things, but they are all working piece-meal instead of in concert.
  • Barriers to adoption are finances, information and community.
  • Adopt Together allows micro financing for adoptions.
  • Lessons learned:
    • Always throw a party.
    • Never give up space.
    • Always remember the details.
    • Never get stuck in the details.
    • Always solve a problem.
    • Never burn a bridge.
    • Always tell your story.
    • Never lose your story.
    • Always give.
    • Never forget extrinsics.
    • Always make money.
    • Always say thank you!

Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy:

  • Met everyone of his neighbors and invited them to be a part of the work in this run-down, dangerous neighborhood. It took four months.
  • Passion. Innovation. Creativity.
  • When you bring good energy to a place, negativity leaves.
  • Your team determines your success.
  • Spend 15 minutes on an idea. Decide if it should continue, and then leave it or pour your heart into it.
  • Live like it’s your life!
  • Treat fairly, not equally.
  • Put your energy into the people that actually make a difference, not the negative slackers.

Brian Pape, founder of MiiR:

  • Buy consumer products, then decide where we want the money to be sent. We get follow-up info about the progress of the projects.

Andrea Sreshta, Luminade:

  • Add water to the vessel as the battery. Remove water for the light to go out. Great for disasters and places with little/no light.

Curious Katheryn, 10-year-old entrepreneur:

Patrick, Nisolo shoes:

  • Artisan shoes, ethically-made
  • Focus on work culture. A good culture attracts the right people.
  • They own their supply chain.
  • Check out the book “Essentialism”

Tripp Crosby, producer, comedian, sketch artist:

  • It’s easy to take yourself too seriously.
  • When you’re obsessed with expanding, you risk enjoying the process. And when you’re not enjoying the process, you risk the opportunity to expand.
  • What’s the thing you should be enjoying but you’re not?

Brent Trapp, Booster:

  • Lead with outrageous care.
  • Notice the good things.
  • Obsessive commitment to investing in people.
  • Act like a friend.
  • Live with ridiculous joy.
  • Outrageous care breeds outrageous loyalty.
  • How will you treat your people?

Ruthie Lindsey, speaker/stylist:

  • Love people well.
  • You can live a beautiful life despite your pain and circumstance.
  • Choose joy.
  • There is always hope.
  • When we are open and honest, it forces others to do the same.
  • When we live in our pain, it’s all we can see. We need to find the joy so we can live there instead.
  • Pain can make us better and more whole.

Chris Marlowe, Help One Now:

  • Doing good can be simple and easy. Love first.
  • Find your fight.
    • Find something(s) that you can really dig deep with. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Help where you can.
    • Stick around for the transformation.
  • Go far. Go the distance. Give your life.
  • Go forward. Innovate. Care. Solve.
  • Doing good can be simple and significant.
  • Do good. Do good well. Do good together.

John Lewis, activist and US Representative:

  • We must care for the spark of divine in ourselves.
  • Love may be a slow process, but it’s always worth it.
  • There is power in peace.
  • There is a price to be paid for the work of peace. You must decide if you’re willing to pay it.
  • Without music, the Civil Rights movement would’ve been like a bird without wings. We’d often sing to each other across our cells, both men and women, because we were separated by both gender and race.
  • When you see injustice, make a little noise. Don’t stay silent.
  • “Just love the hell out of everybody.” – MLK
  • Get into good trouble.

Safia Minney, People Tree clothing:

  • Check out her “True Cost” documentary about slavery in the process of making clothes.

Travis Mason, Public Policy and Government Relations at Google X:

  • Macro behaviors are derived from micro moments.
  • Reverse assumptions.
  • Combine domains.
  • Invite the novice.
  • Its the difference that makes the difference.

Kim Biddle, Saving Innocence project:

  • LA County  rescues from child sex trafficking.
  • Average age for trafficking victims is 12-14.
  • 100K children are trafficked per year in the US.
  • We are connected, and deeply affect one another.
  • We are all human. Empathy begins at that place.
  • Impact is relational.
  • Choose to love.
  • Know your season. Run the race. Rest when needed.
  • Keep yourself seen. Cultivate community. Get professional mentors. Find spiritual mentors. Redesign your failures.


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Plywood’s Social Entrepreneur Curriculum

Plywood FilmingA couple of weeks ago I sat in on another great Plywood People event. I always love seeing what they’re up to. And currently, they’re working on a curriculum for social entrepreneurs to be released at their annual event in August. It’s going to be great!

So, a few friends and I showed up to be audience members, and were able to hear from a number of experts on character and building a business.

Here are my take-aways:

Doug Shipman

  • Don’t just tell people your story, create a way for them to be a part of it.
  • Meet people’s needs.
  • Map out your conversations if you’re making an ask.
  • Make the ask about them, not you.
  • Make a small ask, then a bigger one. Start small with people and get them in the door.
  • Ask friends and family for connections.
  • Events build momentum and show people you can get stuff done. It allows them to have an emotional connection.
  • To invite people in, and make it relatable to them.
  • You cannot innovate by committee. Bring in few decision makers.
  • Your principles are your boundaries.

Ryan Gravel

  • Solve both current and future problems.
  • Think holistically.
  • Find people with the skills who both compliment and supplement yours. Multiple voices make a better project.
  • Define what’s special about your project, and protect that.
  • Think less about what your doing, and think about what you want to be.

Leroy Barber

  • Love your neighbor. Love the person in need along your roads.
  • Don’t take over a space in which you are trying to help. Provide dignity for those you are helping, or an exchange.
  • To evaluate your program, ask those who have gone through it first-hand.
  • If you’re getting bored on a project, bring in other voices to breathe into it. Don’t let it go stale.
  • There’s a big difference between ending something and quitting something.
  • Listen and learn first.
  • Celebrate the small wins.

Brad Montague

  • Your failures don’t define you, they prepare you.
  • Ask people, “What do you love about what you do?” instead of what they do.
  • Your life is a work of art.
  • Community keeps you grounded and on mission.
  • Define your mission before someone defines it for you.
  • Every person deserves to be celebrated.
  • “I hope what you do comes out of a deep sense of who you are.” – Fred Rogers

Andy Levine

  • Use the lows as learning opportunities.
  • Take care of your fans, so that it creates a gravitational pull for them to come back and bring others.
  • Craft a moment (above and beyond, make it right, hold the line—customer service)
  • Be a friend, not a fan.
  • Think about the “wake” you leave behind you.
  • Choose people who embrace your culture first. You can teach skills late.
  • Promise makers need promise keepers.

Callie Murray

  • First ideas. Then a plan. Finally, put it on your calendar. To make it real you need to get it on paper.
  • Have a plan for quitting so there is no impulse decision.
  • I am not my business, and my business is not me.