ConvertKit Craft + Commerce Conference 2017 #craftcommerce #Bloggers

Usually I attend Science Fiction conferences. I love traveling and attending them all over the country. But when a big entrepreneur conference like ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce comes to my town, well I couldn’t pass that up. ConvertKit was started right here in Boise, Idaho by our own Nathan Barry. Go BOY-see!

This conference was a couple of weeks ago – over the weekend of June 24th. Why has it taken me so long to write about it? I’ve been asking myself that question every day since. The answer I finally came up with is that MY BRAIN WAS OVERLOADED. Yes, it was such an amazing, diverse, energetic, entertaining, inspiring, and intellectually stimulating weekend that it has truly taken me this long to wrap my poor brain around everything. And I’m still not sure I’ve really processed it all.

I’m sure that everyone of the 250 attendees gleaned something different out of every speaker, workshop, or social gathering. So, let me share some of my personal highlights of the weekend here in this blog.

I’ll start with Chase Reeves from fizzle.co. I learned three main things from his talk. The first is that we need to define our own success. Don’t compare other’s successes to what you should strive for. Figure out how YOUR success should feel to you. This is especially important when we tend to compare ourselves to others. Don’t do it. “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Secondly, always practice gratitude. Feel good about where you are right now and journal the gratitude daily. Lastly, Chase talked about courage and how scary it can be to follow your heart, and how you should work toward that passionate goal a little at a time. Since the room was full of crazy excited entrepreneurs, this one hit all of us hard. Some of us are just starting out, some have had several businesses going, but each and every one of us has had those moments of fear, of doubting ourselves.

James Clear spoke on habits: “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.”  With habit formation, James told us that even if we strive for as little as 1% improvement everyday, it can add up to a lot of success in the future. I especially loved when he reminded us that we can be the architects of our own environment. This is a powerfully empowering statement, especially to someone like me who feels trapped and blocked from attaining dreams and goals. I don’t need to stand by and wait for something good to happen to me or for me, I can set about creating habits to change my environment in ways that will help me succeed.

Two speakers impressed upon us the idea of niching down, narrowing our business or blog focus. Mariah Coz started out doing something she was passionate about, but wasn’t sure if anyone else was. She restored vintage campers. Her blog became wildly successful, and now she enjoys, with the help of several blogs, to help others succeed in their businesses. She stressed the three perks of getting into obsessive niches (like vintage campers) and becoming a pioneer in it: 1) You’re a big fish in a small pond 2) You are accessing an untapped market and 3) Everything is exciting!

Cassidy Tuttle is another amazing woman who used a small, obsessive niche to grow her business. Her niche is focused on succulents – you know – those water conserving plants that are to some of us, the only plants we don’t kill off on a regular basis. Even after growing her business with something as niche as succulents, she showed us how focusing it down even further helped increase her business.

See what I mean? I’ve only covered a fraction of the amazingness that I experienced at this conference. Stop by next week for another blog post of wise and inspiring speakers and some fan-girling on my part!

-Heather

 

 

 

Boeing: a Seattle Adventure


One of my goals is to visit as many space museums and launch centers that I can around the United States and worldwide. It’s just a passion of mine, and a great motivation and inspiration for my writing.

I lived north of Everett, Washington for many years and never realized what an impact the Boeing company had on our state, our nation, and on air and space travel. In April I visited the Future of Flight & Boeing Tour in Mukilteo. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I knew they made airplanes. I knew that it was one of the main employers in the area.

What I did not expect was just how fascinating the history of the company is, and just how immense the Boeing campus is today. Unless you see and experience it in person yourself, it really is hard to imagine.

Last year was Boeing’s 100 year celebration! July 15, 1916 two men started a company because they believed they could build a better airplane. William E. Boeing and his friend talked the pilot of a small propeller plane (a one-seater) to allow them to hang on to the wings while the plane took off and flew around the Seattle area. They were thereafter addicted to air flight and decided to learn more about building airplanes.

I highly recommend the Boeing Tour to anyone interested in air or space travel or engineering, or just interested in a mind-blowing experience.

The buildings where the 700 series airplanes are built are absolutely huge. After taking a bus to the buildings, we walked through underground tunnels and then took a cargo lift up to a viewing area that looked over the whole building. The main building is the largest building in the world, by volume. It is incredible to be up above the thousands of workers putting together the airplanes. You can watch as around TEN huge airplanes are being built. Can you imagine? A building that can hold that many 747 or 767 planes!

You can look across this field of partially-built planes, tools, and scaffolding and see several stories of windows that show offices, restaurants and coffee shops. I think they said there are three restaurants and ten coffee shops inside the building for the employees. And of course fourteen ping pong tables that are scattered around the area. Boeing is big on the importance of their hard-working employees getting exercise and taking breaks from the intense concentration that is needed to build these computerized flying machines.

A lesser known fact is that Boeing built the 16 ton Destiny Module (I’m standing in front of a model of it in the picture above), which is the American research laboratory now part of the International Space Station. It was launched to the ISS in 2001 aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

These are the places and things that you can experience today that years ago were only an interesting storyline in a science fiction novel. This is why I love science and science fiction and why I am passionate about teens and people of all ages learning more science and working toward a future in space. We are living in a rapidly evolving technological world, and we need more dreamers and innovators like William E. Boeing.

-Heather

Become a Tourist in Your Hometown!

I’ve been lucky enough to have lived in some beautiful places: the rugged high desert of Colorado, the majestic mountains of Montana, the lush Washington coast, and the amazing Treasure Valley of Idaho.

The past few years I’ve realized that although I’ve lived happily among the best nature has to offer in my Northwest corner of the United States, I’ve never really explored all these wonderful places I’ve called home.

So I took a vacation. A real vacation – no funerals or weddings or emergencies to respond to. I became a *gasp* tourist! I wanted to experience all the things I had taken for granted. Sometimes we get so caught up in just surviving in this life, that we forget that we deserve to enjoy our time here on Earth.

I was reminded of this as I got out of my comfort zone the last few years, traveled to SF Conventions, opened myself up to new experiences and met some truly amazing people! I got to know writers and creatives from all around the world, and they taught me to see everything around me with new eyes. Just imagine as you go to work, hike a mountain peak, attend an art class, take a vacation, cheer at a football game, visit a national monument – how those seemingly ‘normal’ activities would look through the eyes of someone who has never had the chance to do them?

My parents used to own an art gallery in Anacortes, Washington, and I worked at the local Safeway. I hated the ferry traffic (Anacortes is the Gateway to the San Juan Islands) and I hated the nearby Tulip Festival traffic, and of course I hated the Seattle traffic. I stayed in my own little life, never venturing very far.

I missed out on so much. So, for my vacation I drove back to the Washington coast.

I drove around the Olympic peninsula and enjoyed the amazing forests, although I didn’t go as far as Forks. For those of you who don’t know – it’s the town in the Twilight series. Seriously.

The ferries are an integral part of the Seattle area, and are always a fun experience. I chose the Port Townsend to Coupeville ferry this time, one I had never taken before. I then drove across Whidbey Island, and then across the expansive Deception Pass bridge to Fidalgo Island where Anacortes is located. It was a beautiful, yet chilly day. I enjoyed it immensely and stopped to take pictures frequently.

Of course I visited all the places in Anacortes that I had lived, worked, and hiked before. More picture taking!

I got up early the next day and drove to Mt. Vernon where both my boys were born. It’s also where the Tulip Festival is located. I drove past acres and acres of blooming tulips in every color. I even stopped at one of the farms and visited the gift shops. It was refreshing walking among the cultivated gardens overflowing with tulips.

I received a much-needed break from my 9-5 life, but most importantly I filled my creative tank. I’m joyful and hopeful and ready to take on my next creative endeavor.

I highly recommend becoming a tourist in your own town. No matter where you are there are natural wonders, amazing architecture, fascinating histories to learn, and new experiences to create.

In my next blog I’ll detail my trip to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing plant tour!

-Heather