Over the weekend I attended the Big Hearted Business conference; put on by the absolutely delightful Clare Bowditch.  As BHB, put it…

“In a nutshell, the BHB Conference is a live event for anyone who wants to learn how to build a successful creative business, AND make a significant contribution to the world, AND have an amazing time doing it.”

It was a weekend of amazing speakers and also a chance to get to meet likeminded people working in other creative areas around me that are struggling with the same things I am struggling with and want to DO STUFF. Several times over the weekend, someone would say something along the lines of “I feel like I’ve found my people!” – and that was exactly what it felt like. The women I met were warm, funny, dedicated and creative and it was amazing to see how well everyone got along.
The tagline was “Do what you love, make money, save the world.” Is that too much to ask? Apparantly not! The speakers over the weekend kept reinforcing the idea that it was ok to take the time to work on your own art and its ok to want to make money from your art.

The speaker lineup included Kemi Nekvapil, Jane Martino, Natalie Harker, Darren Rowse, Kylie Lewis, Isobel Knowles, Catherine Deveny, Rachel Power, Lucy Feagins, Pip Lincolne and a few more

The pages upon pages of scribbled notes I have after the weekend is testament to how inspiring these people were. Two in particular spring to mind as being the highlight of the weekend for me.

Kemi NekvapilThe first was Kevi Nekvapil from Kemi’s Raw Kitchen. The raw food movement was something I was first exposed to back in 2005 when I was at uni in Sydney. A girl I was in a circus group with went from being a vegan to raw vegan and I remember thinking she was completely insane. Food is amazing and why would you put those restrictions on yourself?
Kemi told stories about how including raw food in your diet can be as simple as adding one salad a day. That’s all! I can do that. I’ve been having some health problems lately, so this seemed way more achievable that what other doctors had been telling me lately (No grain! No sugar! No garlic! Some fruit but not all fruit!). She made me realise that it doesnt have to be all or nothing. I can add a salad a day and feel better. She still eats some cooked food, alcohol, cake etc – Hurrah! A raw foodie that isn’t crazy! The takeway from her talk was that the power is in your personal choice. It sounds simple, and maybe it is. I find it difficult to allow myself to make those choices though.

The other speaker that really inspired me was Catherine Deveny, speaking about “Criticism, Narcissism and getting over yourself”.
I found myself scribbling so damn much that I had to set an audio record on my phone halfway through to stop my hand from cramping up. Catherine was very matter of fact about the idea that we need to make mistakes and to expect that you and/or other people will always have negative things to say about what you’re doing.  For every positive thought, there will be 17 negative thoughts as well. The trick is expecting these 17 and when they turn up, to say “Oh! You’re here. I’ve been expecting you. Go and sit in that corner”
Catherine asked whether we’d made mistakes before. Then she asked whether we’d died.  This kind of blunt realisations was exactly what I needed. Things will go wrong. So what?
A few other points I got from Catherine were
– Don’t be a perfectionist. Be a competitionist.
– Aim to achieve ‘fuck off’ status – that point where you are self sufficient and have the ability to make choices because you’re not tied down.
– When you don’t know what to do, do anything.
– It’s only crazy if it doesn’t work.
– “I never ordered hummus until I knew it existed”

Of course, Clare Bowditch’s talks about how to find the “bingo spot” of where your values, passions & market need lie, as well as how to think in business and profitability terms was immensely helpful and I’m still digesting as to what that means for me and how I’m going forward with my business.

I met some amazing people who are all so passionate about what they do and how they can make it work. Being able to voice out loud the problems I’ve been having and get some amazing suggestions was amazingly helpful (Sorry (and thankyou!) to those at my lunch group who saw me have a bit of a teary moment.

As for now, I have ideas for where I want my business to go and how I want to go about getting there, but there is so much info to sink in that this may take a little while. This blog will be part of it though. I have taken Catherine’s advice and this is the first thing I’ve done today. Once it’s posted, I can get dressed and start on my client work.

To finish, here is the song that summed up the weekend – “The Ship Song” by Nick Cave. We used this song as a creative break moment throughout the conference; learning to sing it acapella (and sound damn good doing it!). At the end of the weekend, we all sang it in a beautiful church (for the incredible acoustics) on the grounds of the Abbotsford Convent. I have a phone audio recording of this and playing it back brings me back to the elation I felt in that moment.


For more info about Big Hearted Business, go here http://www.bigheartedbusiness.com