It's Monday, and that means it's time for #InspiredMakerMonday! Every Monday, we catch up with a past attendee of the Inspired Retreat and see what they are up to. This week, we talked with Christina Sloan of Christina Sloan Events, who specializes in wedding planning, event styling and floral design. Read on to find out more about what Christina has been up to since she attended Inspired!
When did you attend Inspired Retreat? Fall 2014
Where were you in your business journey when making the decision to attend Inspired? I was 2 years into my business, trying to be everything to everyone and my business (and personal life!) was suffering. I knew I needed a change but was unsure what that was or what direction I needed to take my brand.
Knowing what you know now, what would you tell yourself on Day 1 of starting your creative business? That my business isn't going to look like anyone else's and that's okay. It doesn't mean I'm not succeeding or that I'm not exactly where I'm supposed to be. Don't fall into the trap of comparison and do what you think you "should" be doing just because it's what others are doing. Stay true to yourself, your vision, and your values, and know that what you see of other businesses is only part of their story. There's a lot of messy, uncertain things behind the perfect lens of social media and it's in those messy moments that real change happens. Don't be afraid of them, and don't be afraid to share them with others. That's what has made you - and your brand - who you are.
What is one action item from your Inspired Retreat experience that has changed your business and/or mindset? Do what you love, what you're good at, and don't try to do all the rest just to keep up. It's okay to be small. It's okay to have a very specific direction for your brand. After Rhiannon Bosse's session on Client Experience, I had a huge "Aha!" moment and it completely changed my business.
With the abundance of noteworthy creative workshops offered, why would you recommend Inspired Retreat over another? Inspired truly is a retreat where you get away from life, surround yourself with like-minded creatives and inspiring surroundings, and focus not just on your business, but on building intentional relationships, which is so important in the creative industry. You walk away feeling inspired, refreshed, and ready to make big changes. The variety of sessions and topics is something you don't find at most conferences or workshops - everything from actionable business advice to hands-on creative sessions. One of the things that most sets it apart, though, is that the speakers are also attendees. They are learning along side you in other sessions and are always so approachable. The relationships built at Inspired are so meaningful and intentional!
What is one thing you have implemented that has helped you to streamline or help manage your creative business and family/personal priorities? For the longest time, I was trying to do it all. And with that came a lot of stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. In trying to be everything to everyone, I wasn't being my best self for anyone, especially those most important in my life. Hearing the speaker's talk about how they struggle to balance it all helped me to see that I wasn't alone and that I could implement changes to make things different. It wasn't long after that lightbulb moment that I was in a session about creating systems and it all clicked. I've since implemented systems and processes in my business that allow me to focus on what is important, and outsource those things that take time away from what matters most.
What things do you do to stay creative/be inspired? The biggest thing for me is getting out from behind work and really living life. Staying off social media, not checking emails - just putting it all away and spending time laughing and living with my family and friends. Attending workshops and conferences with other like-minded women is a huge source of inspiration for me as well. I try to attend one large retreat or conference per year.
What is your daily routine like? To sum it up right now: crazy. My husband and I are in the process of adopting, so I am using this season of waiting we are in to spend a lot of time working on my business so that when we have a little one at home, I will be able to spend a lot of time with him/her. Right now, I wake up at5:30 to get ready for the day and am at my desk working by 7:30. I start by checking emails and checking my to-do list to see what is a priority for the day. As a wedding planner, my days rarely look the same. Mondays are for working ON my business. This is when I work on bookkeeping, marketing, planning for big upcoming projects, and setting goals. Tuesdays and Thursdays are client and vendor meeting days. Wednesdays I spend the day at my desk working on timelines, design plans, confirming details with vendors, sourcing decor items, tackling my inbox and planning all of the details. On Fridays I spend the morning at my desk working, and if it's not an event week, I end the day at noon. The wedding industry is anything but routine, but I do try to implement as much structure as I can throughout my week.
What is your favorite business book, magazine, or podcast? Jon Acuff's Quitter is a book I think many creatives should read. For me, following my dream of owning a creative business did not come with a "take a leap of faith" mentality. I did not quit my full time job when I started my business and this book was instrumental in helping me navigate and succeed between the corporate world and owning a creative business. I'm currently loving the podcast She Did It Her Way. It's all about female entrepreneurs (many creatives!) starting and running their own business. Every week features a different person and the wealth of knowledge I've gotten from that podcast is amazing!
So, what's next for you? I'm currently going through a brand refresh and spending this time really focusing on the details and my client experience. I have big plans for my brand in the coming years, so right now I'm focusing on continuing to implement systems and processes so that I can grow the brand, as well as my family. I have just added an Associate Planner and an office assistant / client coordinator to my team, which is going to help keep my business growing while my husband and I focus on growing our family and bringing home a baby (we're hoping 2017 is finally the year we get the phone call!).