It’s been almost a week and I’m still not sure I’m fully recovered from the Craftcation conference. I was scheduled to run three sessions in three days, but then added a fourth at the last minute when another speaker had to cancel. Having been a middle school teacher for six years, where you teach 4-5 hours a day, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but I was exhausted at the end of every day. I forgot how tiring it can be when all of your down time between sessions is spent networking, even meals!
Despite my exhaustion, I had a really good time. I love helping other creatives (especially women) get their businesses on the right track, and I got to spend a little quality time with other energizing crafty business ladies. I had one particularly raucous dinner with Steph Cortes from NerdJerk, Rosalie from Unanimous Craft, Marlo Miyashiro, Danielle from Etsy, Ashley Jennings, and Rena Tom that I will not soon forget. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.
I was really pleased to see such great attendance at Craftcation, though some of my sessions didn’t run quite as smoothly as I’d hoped. The session on pricing was so popular that the room became a fire hazard and we had to start turning people away. We also didn’t have a working projector, but the attendees all rallied their technology so that each table could view the slides on a shared iPad. The marketing session was also a full house and we ended up running out of handouts halfway through, but my helper for that one, Stephanie, was freaking amazing. I understand that you can never quite predict session attendance, and besides, shit happens, but I want to make sure that anyone who couldn’t attend or take home handouts has a chance to access the materials. Y’all paid good money to attend the conference after all, so here are the links to the materials from my three solo sessions (the panel didn’t have materials):
- Pricing your handmade goods (also see this article I wrote for Craftzine for more)
- Intro to small business bookkeeping (includes a very thorough excel ledger too — bonus!)
- Marketing on a Budget (handouts and presentation all in one pdf)
One thing I’m having trouble with is measuring the ROI of this conference to my own business. The benefits are so intangible for the most part that it’s tough to tell whether offering three days of (essentially) free teaching will pay for itself in the long term. I really like teaching, so there’s that intangible benefit right off the bat, but does it make up for the three days I couldn’t work on any of my own projects? Right now I’m leaning towards “yes”, but I couldn’t give you any hard evidence for why I’m leaning that way. Right now it’s just a gut feeling surrounding the concept of “networking”.
How do you figure out when to take on projects that are peripheral to your creative business, like speaking, writing and teaching? I could honestly really use some help with this one.