Megan Martin 0:00
This is talking small business with Kat Schmoyer and Meghan Martin, a podcast for creatives who like to keep it real about what it actually takes to grow an online business.
Kat Schmoyer 0:09
We’re competitors turned to biz besties, who chat daily, and now we’re bringing you into the conversation.
Hey, y’all, we are back with another episode of talking small business. And this one feels a little closer to home for me, since we’re talking specifically about creative at heart round 10. If you’re a new listener, and unfamiliar with my background, I host a conference called creative at heart. And we recently got to have our 10th round, postponed in 2020. Because of all the 2020 things, but it was back 2021 and still feels a little surreal that we actually got to have it. So Megan, and I thought it would be fun to do a little BTS. Megan was there naturally? Um, and yeah, we just thought we would talk a little bit about behind the scenes of hosting the conference, and give you all a little more details about what it has looked like in the last few months leading up to around 10.
Megan Martin 1:16
fountain was so much fun. I loved it. And I’ve been to thankfully, I have been invited to what was that? My fifth time at creative at heart? I think so. Right? I
Kat Schmoyer 1:27
think I was trying to remember math is hard, but I’m pretty sure.
Megan Martin 1:32
Yeah, that’s hard, especially when you have children screaming in the background like they are now. Yeah, so it was my fifth time. And I feel like every time has been different, I’m sure it’s been different for you in different ways. Round 10 was smaller in the sense that, you know, it had to be because of the 2020 things, you know, really endemic, it had to be smaller. And I honestly thought it was a great group of people. And the smaller atmosphere didn’t change the value of creative at heart for me. And I feel like almost actually, some attendees really liked the fact that it was smaller so that they could actually connect with more people.
Kat Schmoyer 2:08
Yeah, I was nervous, I was really nervous about this size, it was literally half the size of 2019. So in 2019, we had 180 people in the main room, like that was how many we planned for in terms of our swag and our food, and now rentals and all the things. So 180 was like stuck in my brain. And for this one, we plan for 90 total. So still bit like so when we say small week, 90 people it’s still like a hefty amount of people in it. Yes. But as as like the host, I was a little bit nervous about what that would be like and feel like, but I was also like, really pleasantly surprised. And I feel like I actually got to talk to every single person there. Or at least it felt like, you know, I was really getting to have conversations and make connections with more people. And from an attendee perspective, it was almost a one to one ratio of in person attendees to in person educators, which is really cool for the attendees to have that.
Megan Martin 3:09
Yeah, such a huge value. I know, for me personally, like there were moments the entire time that I was at the conference that I was connecting with attendees and able to talk to them and hear about their businesses. And I feel like that is such a huge value. For someone who’s going to a conference. I’ve never been to one of these actually, I lie I have been to one. I’ve been to one conference, where it’s like 2000 people in attendance, including educators. And it’s wild to think about 2000 people in one space with one similar mindset. And one similar goal, right? So wild, so crazy that people are able to draw that kind of crowd. But at the same time, I felt like a sea like one in a sea of a million like, and I didn’t I will tell you at that conference, I went to like that I didn’t speak to one other person.
Kat Schmoyer 3:58
It’s really overwhelming. It’s it’s, that’s I’ve never been to one that big. I can’t imagine going to one that like and like logistically I can not imagine. Like, oh my gosh, 2000 swag bags and what does that even look like? Yeah, no, that’s crazy. That’s I mean, good for them. That is incredible number, right. That’s a lot. That’s a lot. But
Megan Martin 4:22
that’s a creative at heart because it is that smaller, like intimate environment and round 10 definitely have that. So what are you about to say?
Kat Schmoyer 4:29
I was gonna say I feel like the virtual aspect of the conference like we have to talk about that in this conversation. So y’all, we did a virtual ticket for the conference. And so Okay, a couple a couple of my like pros and cons to virtual, we’re just we’re getting real is behind how cat really felt about it. All right. I was really excited because of everything that happened in 2020 with a pandemic and with some creatives I knew did not feel comfortable attending something in person. So we absolutely wanting to be able to offer a virtual option. So I was excited about that part of it like, yes, let’s open this door, let’s have a virtual option. I was also really glad that we hired our videographer. So we’ve had the same videographer since round one. But we like added on to our package, we were like Ty, we cannot do this without you. You were in charge of like, all the virtual things, because that was not something I wanted to DIY. Like, I was really nervous. So the con for me was that nervousness was this like, Oh my gosh, why fi Ethernet cables, zoom calls, Megan ended up, bless her sweet soul. She was our like virtual concierge. And she sat back there. And we I wish this was like a video and we could show you all the picture, she looked like she was gaming, like in the back, it was just like monstrosity, this like massive computer. In the back. She’s like staring up at the screen. Like it was like three times the size of her head. It was massive. It was bigger than that. It was so big. It was like a little widescreen TV isn’t that great. Um, but there’s, you know, that part of it is we have to have like all of the tech needed. And I don’t know about y’all, but like tech is really scary to me. Like, I don’t feel like a tech savvy person. And so to add this other element of planning from like a host perspective, I was really, really nervous. And I didn’t necessarily realize how nervous I was until literally the day before, when like Ty’s there with all of his equipment. And he’s getting set up. And we’re testing and I was like, I think I’m gonna vomit. Like I was literally so scared. And I just had so many butterflies that I was so worried about that whole part of it. Praise the Lord, it went well. And I mean, I’m really proud of like our team. I’m so proud of Megan for like sitting back there. But I mean, and Megan told me, like, tell us, I guess more thoughts on how you felt like with the virtual attendees, and with what we did for the virtual ticket.
Megan Martin 6:55
Yeah, I will, I’m going to be straight up with you. I was nervous as well about the virtual. I wasn’t nervous about my role. And so essentially, just to like, give clarification, so the virtual attendees got to see the keynote sessions live in real time. And so I was sitting back there, like very last row in front of this, like 35 inch computer screen, making sure that they could hear the the keynotes, they could see them, I was chatting with them the whole time. So I wasn’t necessarily so much afraid of like my role in that. But more that I wanted to make sure that if I was sitting in that seat, that I was going to make sure that those attendees felt like they were in this experience. And that was what I was nervous for, for you as the host was, how are you going to make sure that these attendees feel like they are actually a part of this experience, and not just like watching a recording that is just a recording, they could listen to, you know, your age, right. So I feel like, like I said, the whole time, I felt like I was being super distracting to anybody in that room. Because Ty’s keyboard was so ridiculously loud. You know, like, there’s just some keyboards that are like, that’s what I felt like, but they were there. And they were engaged, like the whole time. And it was really fun, because I got to actually like, chat with them during these live sessions. And I felt like it really did add to the experience for them to be able to talk to someone back there. And I felt like you did a really good job of constantly including them, like when you were up there and seeing you are always including the virtual friends like Hey, how are you doing or checking in to make sure that they were well taken care of. And I think if you’re listening and you’re thinking about hosting some sort of event where it’s going to have this like dual concept of in person and virtual, you really do need to think strategically about how you are incorporating the virtual attendees. So they don’t feel like they’re just left out or they’re like your afterthought. I feel like you did a really good job of making sure from the get go that they were priority as much as the in person people work priority.
Kat Schmoyer 9:11
Thank you. Well, it was really helpful for me. I, Megan sat back there because I’m in my panic moment. So it’s like Megan, I need somebody back that this was like, I guess, like about a month prior. And I’ve asked a few people. And it’s scheduling issues like I couldn’t get I wanted like a virtual concierge I wanted I knew Ty was handling the back end in terms of how we were hardwiring in and like getting a live stream to happen. But I knew that he couldn’t sit at that computer during every single keynote. He needed to be mobile, and moving things around with the other cameras and so I wanted somebody to sit there and to be able to love and serve them. So like, thankfully, I’ve got friends in high places. And Maine was like, awesome. I loved it. It was really hard and it didn’t ruin our friendship. Like we’re still really good. Last weekend.
Megan Martin 9:58
I was nervous at one point. I’m like, oh, No, I’m gonna mess up this is gonna ruin
Kat Schmoyer 10:03
like your workflow besides your your checklist or like, is there was like y’all like I had I wore my educators wear mic, and then we had to have mics for the audio, but then also mics for the speakers in the session, there were multiple mics, it was there was a lot, there was a lot of things. So the title was, goodness, we’re grateful for the experts. Um, I feel like something else I wanted to bring up just whether this is somebody who’s just curious about the conference, or someone who’s thinking about having like, their own event to something that was a pain point for me this round. And so this is our 10th. So I feel like you know, I’ve done it a few times, I have my workflows, I know what I’m doing and, and what I like to do and how I like to, you know, run the ship and all that. But this year, in particular, a pain point for me was not having my assistant, my assistant, Emily has been a part of the conference for several conferences now. And it’s just so incredible, and so intentional with her role. And she’s on maternity leave right now. And so we stopped working together several months prior to the conference because of that, and I’m so glad she’s like getting to take that time. But I drastically underestimated what she did for me. Like, I always knew she was wonderful. But then you’re like, in the thick of it a month before the conference, and I’m texting her like, you are incredible. I miss you like, Oh, um, because it was just a lot more on me, I felt like and so that was just a really interesting thing to walk through the conference of not having her and feeling like I didn’t necessarily have like a true right hand woman to like, pass off certain things still. Now granted, again, like friends in high places, Megan was able to step in with like virtual attendees, we have an awesome alumni volunteer team that we put together for every conference. So I don’t want this to sound like I was literally doing every single thing like that is not true, we absolutely, like leaned into friends. But I didn’t have like that one girl, or that one person, like right by my side. And so it was a big learning experience for me of like how much I value her and her role and her as a person, but also like what I need at a conference. And so for anyone else, like thinking of hosting any sort of event, whether it’s like, super small, like 10 person retreat, or like a 100 plus person conference, I think having a right hand person is really helpful. You need somebody to just help you when you’re like, if I’m in a conversation with someone, you know, and I don’t want to stop this, like heartfelt conversation. But oh, I got a task list. I got a timeline. I gotta go run off. Like, that’s where I would have been nice to have that person I could really fall back and like lean into.
Megan Martin 12:48
Yeah, so one thing I remember you talking about also is that as a conference host, it’s hard for you to emcee a conference so hard and also run a conference and this time you did have to emcee
Kat Schmoyer 13:00
Yes. Cuz my our MC girl also was arbitrary. It will show you the week of the conference, but it was so sweet, like so she knew, you know, I’m having a baby. I can’t be there. Yeah, all the babies this.
Megan Martin 13:13
But I actually liked that UMC. I know it’s hard for you. But I also like that it’s you emceeing because it felt more like not not that this is your conference, but it was able, I was able to, like regularly see you and be reminded that you are leading us here and you are like, and I loved your final keynote session for anyone who wasn’t there. Cat is I mean, hopefully you realize from this podcast, like cat is the planer girl but she’s, you’re also like the dreamer girl like you love isn’t dreaming or something like that, like high up on your strings Lister
Unknown Speaker 13:47
Megan Martin 13:51
Like it’s dreaming is what I call, but you’re really good at helping people see future visions and make them into reality. And so your final keynote was about, like what type of dreamer personality you are, as well as, like, really practical next steps to take in order to take all the information that they learned there at the conference and move forward. And I felt like it was as hard as it was for you to MC It was like, it made that final keynote even stronger, if that makes sense. Because I kept getting to see you on the stage, introduce the next person, the next strategy, the next tactic, and at the end, you helped lead me to how do I take this forward from creative at heart, so I thought it was pretty cool.
Kat Schmoyer 14:36
That’s really encouraging. Well, something that I have told. So sometimes I’ll have people inquire with me who wanted me to host a conference and so we’ll do like a coaching session or something like that. And something that I like frequently tell them is I think that they need to be somewhat of the face and no, the conference, it doesn’t need to have their name by it, you know, creative at heart doesn’t. It’s not the Kat Schmoyer conference. It’s called creative at Harvard. Reason. But I do think it’s important for there to be a leader that is leading them through sessions and through content. So that’s super interesting that emceeing really helped with that structure and that like messaging for you. Yeah,
Megan Martin 15:16
it did Kat, tell us what some of your favorite content from the conference was.
Kat Schmoyer 15:23
I Oh, my gosh, okay. I know this sounds biased. But like every single keynote was a mic drop, like every single keynote was so good. I was a full Lord. I also was really proud and happy that it all built off of each other. That’s something like I stress a lot like I literally get anxious over our keynote speakers and the order of the keynote sessions. And I care a lot about walking attendees through a process and whatever that process, you know, is going to be I’m not I don’t know, until I start sourcing educators and really determining like, what is the big message from the stage? So like our keynotes, yes, they will share practical content, but they get to the heart of the matter. So it’s much more heartfelt motivational from the stage, and then the super nitty gritty practicals and our breakout sessions. So with our keynotes, I really want to build from the opening keynote all the way to the closing keynote, like what are we walking through what is the heart and I also just a really floored that I felt like they did that they really built off of one another and they pulled things from previous sessions to like filter into theirs. Ks will forever. Like right now, like the crock pot. We all talked about the crock pot, all three days of the conference. We kept coming back to that. Yeah, I’m just I was so thrilled with the keynotes.
Megan Martin 16:49
Yeah, I loved Kay. Kay. Helman is her last name, right? Yeah, well, we will link her for sure. Go follow her Kay is so great. She was in my panel. But in her keynote, she talked about this crockpot concept, meaning that, you know, we we tend to see trends and, and tactics pop up. And we feel this pressure that we need to like hop on and immediately adapt these trends and be successful at them and want to go viral, or, you know, whatever the tactic or strategy may be, and she really encouraged us to do this crockpot strategy in our business where you pick one strategy to focus on focus on or add to your business. And you focus on that one thing for a long time. And she even like went to the, to the like, stretch of like, at least six months or a year before you try to add another strategy. And I feel like that one, like you said that one, like concept of the crock pot and letting like strategy simmer so that you can actually grow and make roots in your business was so popular. I know, it got brought up multiple times in my panel group, where people just it like allowed people the freedom to like think, Okay, I’m going to learn so much information, which you do at a conference, like the information is insane, and your brain like almost explodes. But that was like the perfect permission slip to say, Okay, I’m going to have all of this stuff in the back of my mind. But I’m going to pick one thing to walk away from creative at heart to really focus on cultivating in my business.
Kat Schmoyer 18:25
Yeah. And I mean, that’s just really great advice for any education in our business. Like, let’s let things simmer before jumping into something new. And then just feeling overwhelmed by the longer list. Versus Okay, wait, let’s take that step back. So, yeah, I will do that advice. I also was really appreciative. So we have an keynote educator that unfortunately couldn’t be there. So we did an impromptu marketing panel, Megan was on panel and Natasha, Tyler, again, will link these people and that I felt like that was so great. And also for from a host perspective behind the scenes. I was nervous, like, oh, gosh, I find out that physically at the conference, like up or down in Keynote, what am I gonna do? Like, I need to, I need to fill 45 minutes on the mainstage. What can I do here? And it was really encouraging to be able to like strategize a little bit on what could we fill in that time with and then have educators willing to say, yeah, I’ll sit up there for 45 minutes and talk about marketing. And let’s bounce ideas back and forth and have open, you know, q&a with both virtual attendees and in person, attendees. So that was like a proud host moment for me and just gave me like the feel goods that we had, you know, you guys willing to sit up there and have that impromptu time.
Megan Martin 19:43
Yeah, I loved the panel. I felt like it was a great. So if you’re listening and you’re thinking about hosting an event, like I loved the variation of the panel versus the keynote. Now granted, I know I was up there talking so I didn’t actually listen to it. I mean, I listened to them. Talk But just from a perspective of like, it can you’re already tired at a conference because of that information overload almost. And so sometimes like the repet, the repetition of the same thing structure over and over, can almost add to that tiredness, do you agree with that? Totally. So the panel almost like shook it up in a new way. So yes, I’m sitting down listening to another keynote quote, like, quote, unquote, but it was different. It felt like a conversation. And so I loved that, like change up to kind of, like, again, like just give people almost like a refresher instead of feeling like they’re sitting in on the same exact thing again.
Kat Schmoyer 20:43
Yeah, absolutely. It’s definitely been marinating for me of like, Hey, we should potentially have some, like planned keynote panel sessions for future conferences. I’ll be curious to hear what people think in the surveys, we’re going to be sending out our like, post conference survey very soon to everyone. So that’ll be in there, you know, and getting feedback on what they liked and what they didn’t like.
Megan Martin 21:07
Yeah. What what was one thing cat that you felt like really excited and empowered by from creative at heart mountain,
Kat Schmoyer 21:17
I felt really proud that we conquered the virtual aspect of it, just because that was something so new. And so that was really encouraging. I also, and I know we already touched on this, but I also really loved the size. And it made me y’all enneagram three here, right? So like, bigger, stronger, faster, like give me all these like big, high achieving numbers. And so part of me felt a little bit like a failure like this is the smaller like this is smaller than what we’ve done before. This is our 10th round. It’s supposed to be the biggest biggest one we’ve ever done. But man like God really shook those walls for me and like what I measure my success being and I love that it was small and I I really did get to have heartfelt conversations with attendees and educators and I loved seeing the heartfelt conversations that it looks like you know, from the outside looking in walking around seeing those conversations taking place and seeing things on Instagram like it looked like that was happening all across the board and so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved this small number and even even giving myself a permission slip for like future conferences like hey, we can keep it small like we can start to do that. And again, not small as in like five people. There is a time and a place for those really wonderful like small intimate events but small for creative at heart standard, and it can still be business changing and life changing. Yeah,
Megan Martin 22:39
I love it. I love it so much. Is there anything you want to say cat to the attendees that came to mountain?
Unknown Speaker 22:44
I love Yes.
Kat Schmoyer 22:46
So at this conference was cool because Instagram like social media has changed so much since 2019. So we like we’re getting tagged and reals and tik tok video people are saying tik tok videos and like, more like, I felt like Instagram stories were like stronger around it. And that was just really fun. Because I mean, I have no time to like, look at my phone, the whole conference. But one of my favorite things to do all for all my attendees, listening like this is literally one of my favorite things. At the end of every conference to wind down at the end of the night, Matt and I lie in bed. And I look at my phone and I look at all of the tags and I see oh race and I get to see people’s yalls responses to stuff like I love it makes me love social media. Because that’s what it’s for is like really getting to connection really getting to see that and so every single post like I love reading them, I love seeing them. It really is me like I am the one on the creative our Instagram like liking and commenting like you know. And it just it means a lot that people invest in creative at heart because it is an investment, whether it was in person or virtual. I know that it was time away from your business money, you know, hopefully well spent on your part. But it just is really humbling to get to be the host.
Megan Martin 24:03
Yeah, well, you’re amazing at it. Friends if you joined round 10 It was so fun getting to see you in person. And I hope that if you’re a virtual attendee, you’ll come to maybe around 11 I don’t know yet. But yeah, so I just want to encourage you if you’re listening, that if you have been considering creative at heart, it is such a great conference, especially if you really value learning and growing in your business, but also getting that time to really get to the heart of the matter of your business. It’s such a perfect blend of the two of those things so friends, round 10 was so fun, and I cannot wait for hopefully around 11 But till then we’ll catch you in the next conversation.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai