Have you ever been up at a point in your life where you feel stuck or don’t know the next move? That was me in the spring of 2022. I will share with you how I got myself unstuck with the help of the PINK Creatives.
Let me back up a little bit here and share how I became an entrepreneur at the ripe old age of 55. In the spring of 2021, I decided to start a little “side hustle”. After living in the Texas Hill Country for three years, I decided I wanted to share my love and affection for my adopted home with others. I was constantly seeing potential visitors post questions on Facebook about what they should do when they visit. Let’s face it, planning trips can be overwhelming.
Many people come to visit the Hill Country and are at a loss of where to start. Which wineries to visit and which restaurants are a must are a few questions I continued to see. This made me realize that this niche was open to a concierge service. The Hill Country Bon Vivant was born.
I hired my daughters friend, Molly, to create a logo and I worked with a local woman to build a website. The intention of this business was just to do some thing on the side, have some fun and hopefully grow over the next five year. My goal was to leave my job in five years. I would do this part time, so my husband and I could travel. I continued to build some infrastructure. My social media personal accounts converted to business accounts, I was handing out business cards and having conversations. Slowly but surely, I started to work with clients.
In November of 2022, I found out that I was going to be losing my W-2 job within the next couple of months. The saying about God laughing when you are making plans is not lost on me!
After talking with my husband, we decided that I was going to take advantage of this time and try to make a go of my own business. We met with to our financial advisor and after having a frank discussion about what that would look like, I jumped in with both feet.
No, I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t scared out of my mind because I was and quite frankly still am. For many years, I owned a catering business, but it was very different this time. The landscape of being a creative in 2022 was unknown to me. I didn’t quite know which direction to go.
Shortly after I found out I was losing my w-2 job, I had an epiphany. One night at bookclub, my friend Tina Melcher, told me about her friend Sara’s business. Tina had worked with Sara when she was a teacher and Sara sold education tools. She said Sara and Wendy, of Chair Whimsy, were holding a retreat in Round Top, Texas. Tina said she had an email explaining all about this retreat and I should look into it.
I asked her to forward the information to me and I will take a look. When I got home that night, I started following both Sara, of Simply Southern Cottage and Wendy, of Chair Whimsy on social media. I dove into the details of the email. As I’m reading the description of the PINK Creatives retreat, I had an overwhelming feeling that I needed to be there.
My husband and I don’t have very many rules in our marriage but one of them is we speak to each other about large purchases. There was one spot left and I didn’t want to take a chance, so I signed up. I immediately went to go tell my husband what I had done and apologize. My husband, being the wonderful, supportive cheerleader that he is smiled and said “of course you did honey you need to go”.
Because I was losing my job, I immediately went into panic mode. I was no longer in control of this bus, and I did not want it to crash. I have a pretty large skill set when it comes to hospitality, entertaining event planning, teaching others to cook, so I threw it all on my business cards and listed it on my website. I was going to be everything to anyone that needed it and more!
I had a few months between losing my job and going to the retreat. I started teaching cooking classes and sharing, cooking travel and entertaining tips on my Facebook and Instagram pages. My husband and I traveled to Mexico and spent three weeks there totally immersing ourselves in their culture. We enjoyed the break but also spent a lot of time writing and taking photos.
When we returned home from Mexico, I was ready to hit the ground running. I had thrown a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and was hoping that some of it would stick because, let’s be honest, I needed to make some money.
I started teaching my cooking classes, writing my blog, posting on Instagram every single day. Then I got hacked.
I was getting ready to go to the PINK Creatives retreat in April and a week before I left my personal Facebook account was hacked. It was attached to my business Facebook account and my Instagram. While I was making one dinner one night, I received a text. My friend asking if I posted something obscene. Immediately, I got a notification from Facebook asking if I had logged in from a country on the other side of the world. I could no longer access my accounts. Here I am a few weeks after launching a full-time creative business and it was gone. To say I felt a bit deflated is an understatement
When I arrived in Round Top, TX a week later, I had no idea what to expect. We are taking over the Frenchie Boutique Hotel, an adorable spot just off the main square. I was surrounded by women or excited to be there and I could feel the creativity and love in the air.
Now I don’t want to spill the tea on everything that I learned. Most of it you need to experience for yourself. What I can tell you is I walked away with the acceptance and understanding that being hacked was not the end of the world. I started to look at it as an opportunity to start building this brand in a new way. Immediately, I started a new Instagram page and did my best to start building a new following.
Also, I learned that I had thrown way too much spaghetti at the wall. I really need to dial in and focus on a few things. No longer did I feel the need to be everything to everyone. A community of people is what I want to build. People who want to learn from me, help me inspire and empower them like Sara and Wendy had done for me. Lightbulb popping moments.
Probably my favorite thing that I got out of my first PINK Creatives was a group of women who were now my cheerleaders. They were a resource to ask questions, watch how they did things, and celebrate each others successes.
Sara and Wendy are so great at putting together the retreats. One of the things that they did for us was a put together fantastic gift bags. One of my favorite giveaways was a free consultation with my Business Coach, Laurel Emory. I immediately jumped on the opportunity, met with Laurel and fell in love with who she is, and what she preaches. I hired Laurel to be my business coach and started a relationship with one of the most supportive and smartest women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Even though I have learned so much at the first retreat, there were still some things that I had questions about. I have no problem putting myself out there and asking questions but I really enjoy the perspective of Wendy and Sara. They are two very different type of entrepreneurs and they share both of their Insights. I found this extremely helpful because I find that I am kind of in between the two of them and how I think.
I had reached out to them and asked if they would consider doing a part two of PINK Creatives. They replied that they were thinking about doing it. Whenever I received that email saying that they were doing Pink Creatives 2.0 in Minden, Louisiana, I had to sign up.
This time I did discuss it with my husband and he said “if it’s Sara and Wendy you’ve got to go”! I reached out to some of my friends from the first retreat and found out some of my fellow Texas ladies we’re going.
I signed up and was looking forward to heading to Minden, Louisiana. This is Sara‘s adopted hometown and she has created quite a life for herself there. She was involved in getting Minden on “Hometown Kickstart” on HGTV. The love and affection she has for this community shines through on her social media platforms. She was doing a huge project, renovating some villas to turn into Airbnb’s and I could not wait to see the finished product. In my mind, February couldn’t come fast enough.
PINK Creatives 2.0, brought together the groups of women they had met in both April and October 2022. Our first night all together was a time of getting to know each other. Some of us already followed each other on social media, and we felt like we knew each other. Being in person to me, is always the way to go. Chatting with these women fills my soul.
Over the next couple of days, we got to know each other, learn about each others creative businesses and grow as a group. Our support and respect for each other and our creative businesses is a huge value to me.
I adore Sara and Wendy. They dive deep and are vulnerable about things going on in their worlds. They share so we can learn and grow from their challenges and opportunities. I so appreciate that about these women. Sara and Wendy are a resource for me, that I do not take for granted. They will answer a DM in a heartbeat.
I was also blessed with the opportunity to have a photo shoot with Dennah. Creating a brand takes a lot of work. Having the opportunity to create photos that capture who I am as a person and as a business is super exciting to me. Dennah took the photos of me while we were outside of the Villas at Spanish Court. I love how they turned out.
The brand photos that she took of me are inside the Cottage on Fort, one of Sara’s other AirBnB properties. It is gorgeous there and you need to check them out.
Investing in yourself as a creative, as an entrepreneur and as a business woman is extremely important to me. My friend Charla always says “you need to spend money to make money” and she is 100 percent correct.
If you are a small creative business I urge you to invest in yourself. Whether you are just starting out or have been around a while and want to step up your game, attending the PINK Creatives retreat is your answer.
I highly encourage you, to consider doing do the same thing I did. If you are interested in attending the next PINK Creatives retreat, (April is full but October has openings) sign up for their email list. Questions? Please feel free to comment below or send me a DM on Instagram.
If you make the decision to attend, please know, you are joining an exceptional group of women and you will not regret one second.