In my first few weeks of business, I raided the company piggy bank. But not to pay for business cards, a working phone line or even the rent; I rallied the spare cash I had for something so much more indulgent – to send myself to a conference.
As I look back on that decision, I am so ridiculously proud of myself for even then, at the very beginning of my business journey, I had the foresight and guts (going totally against the ‘rule’ that paying the rent is far more pressing in those early days than softer needs like PR and networking) to put the best weapon I had – my brain – first.
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It’s important to point out that I’m not exaggerating here – at this time in my business life, I had barely any semblance of a client base or steady income. I was right at the beginning, with a huge smile, lots of ideas, about two clients, a mobile phone the size of a football, and some technology held together by Band-Aids.
“I rallied the spare cash I had for something so much more indulgent – to send myself to a conference.”
I still remember the moment I wrote the cheque for $1,200, where I was standing and even what I was wearing – not because I’m into fashion per se, but because of the significance of the moment.
Everyone seemed to be talking about this one particular business expert who was revolutionary – a real disruptor and thought leader – so I looked into him and discovered he was about to have a two-day conference. But the ticket price was $1,200. Obviously, this was out of my reach by about $1,199. But, after labouring on it, I eventually thought, ‘Stuff it; I need this’. On the cusp of expanding my thinking – it was time to think big – I bit the bullet and sent off the cheque (and no, it didn’t bounce).
At the conference I discovered hundreds of learnings; really meaty ones that I could take home straight away and implement. The thinking challenged mine, some of it frustrated me, angered me, some inspired me and some definitely empowered me… but, above all, it threw me into a room with smart, innovative people that lifted my entire being. What happened over those two days changed me forever.
“At the conference I discovered hundreds of learnings; really meaty ones that I could take home straight away and implement.”
On a practical, revenue-generating level, that event also threw me into a room of my business’s exact target market, and I was able to convert a handful of them immediately to clients, each bringing in around AU$50,000. It was the start of many new clients, and the people from that room and their networks formed the basis of my business foundation, from which Collective Hub would later grow.
For that one little conference ticket, I’ll be forever indebted.