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In October I attended the Social Media on the Sand Conference (aka Beaches Moms) for the third time. I won my spot at the conference with the photo that is shared below.

Grand Prize Winning Photo

Attending the Beaches Moms conference is always a pleasure. How could it not be? Whether you are in Jamaica or Turks and Caicos like we were this time, you are in paradise at an all-inclusive resort eating incredible food and meeting wonderful people. Believe it or not, the conference is also about growing as a person and a business.

I have learned something new at every Beaches Moms conference, but this year seemed to have more valuable tidbits for me than past years. This year, I believe that has more to do with my own personal experiences than the messages being shared because they’ve always had great speakers and subjects. Since I needed to hear the lessons at this year’s conference, they resonated more than in the past. Here are the most valuable lessons I walked away with this year.

STARTING SMALL

Starting small doesn’t necessarily mean you are thinking small. It is okay to start your business with one product or in your basement, and see where it takes you. Rebecca Minkoff started her business with one t-shirt that she sent to a celebrity who ended up wearing it on television and mentioning Rebecca, bringing in multiple orders. Drybar started out with just Alli Webb, her hair dryer and her need to manage her naturally curly hair. Butch Stewart turned one run-down hotel into the Sandals and Beaches empire. That first step needs to be taken, no matter how small.

IDEAS ARE EVERYWHERE

We all have ideas. Some of us dream up life hacks, others have creative stories growing in their minds, some have apps that they believe could change the world, and then there are business ideas. There is no idea shortage in the world. However, there is a shortage of follow through. We allow people to dim our lights and tell us why our ideas won’t work, or our own internal voices shut down the creative process. In order for a great idea to become something more, we need to put it in motion.

THE TRIBE

The “tribe” is often discussed in online business forums, particularly those that involve female entrepreneurs. Your tribe is the people you surround yourself with, who you bounce ideas off of and who cheer you on. They don’t have to be business partners or even people working in the same field, they just need to be supportive and honest, without stomping on your dreams. How do you know if you are in the right tribe? Your gut will tell you, along with the atmosphere around you. Conversations with your people should leave you feeling energized and ready to forage ahead, not discouraged or drained. Alli Webb mentioned how replacing one staff member can change the entire atmosphere in one of her shops. We all know what she’s talking about. We have all worked with that one person who made the job unbearable. Like it or not, we don’t always get to choose our tribe. If you are running a business, be aware of the entire tribe and how they work together.

DO WHAT YOU LOVE

Debbie-Ann White is the Senior Vice-President of Public Relations for Sandals. She said something at the conference that really resonated with me. I’m paraphrasing, but she said that in her job, work and play look a lot alike, and that makes it easy to love her job. It is obvious that Debbie-Ann loves what she does. She has an easy smile and sweet demeanor. If you don’t truly love your job, it will always feel like work.

In terms of blogging, this left me contemplating some of my editorial content. Do I write because I want to or do I do what I believe I “should”. I believe that the most engaging writers focus on topics that they truly care about. I decided to stick to those things in the future.

IT’S OKAY TO START OVER

Being in my forties, I occasionally feel like it’s too late to think about changing my business model. However, I know that it’s never too late or the wrong time to re-evaluate what you are doing. I’ve admired Maria Bailey for going back to school to get her MBA. As someone who went to college with a baby, I know how challenging balancing motherhood and school can be. I respect anyone who does it, particularly beyond the “normal” college ages.

Alli Webb, the creator of Drybar spoke about dropping out of college before going to beauty school. Her family wasn’t sure about her decision and where it would take her. She stuck with her plan to start over doing something she loves and grew a successful business.

Rebecca Minkoff had a growing fashion design business when someone asked if she makes bags. She said she did, and agreed to design one for an upcoming television show the person was appearing on. Rebecca then proceeded to learn how to design and create purses. Even though she had no experience, she took on the challenge. In this case, she wasn’t able to make the deadline and the bag didn’t appear on the show. However, she carried it and received enough interest from people that she pursued bag design.

This year I left the Beaches Moms conference feeling renewed and motivated. Recently I secured a publisher for my upcoming book 100 Things to Do in Canada Before You Die.It has always been my dream to be an author. I revamped how I will continue as an influencer and I’ve taken risks that I had avoided previously. I’m open to any changes and opportunities that may come along, in part due to the uplifting speakers at this conference.

As a licensed travel agent, I can book a Beaches vacation for you and your family! Email me at sheri@stonetowntravel.com.

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