8 Life and Business Lessons I Learned at The Southern C Summit

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Exactly one month ago to the day, I was walking into the Cloister Ballroom at Sea Island for the first day of the amazing Southern C Summit. It’s been exactly one month since the conference, and each day I am still reflecting and processing all that I learned during the three days packed with speakers and events.

As many of you know, this was my 3rd year to attend the conference, and I returned home as fired up as ever about blogging, business, and life after spending three incredible days learning from and hanging with hundreds of the most talented, passionate, driven, kind, and encouraging entrepreneurs, business owners, influencers, and creatives from across the country.

I learned so much at TSC Summit- more than I could ever write out and put into one blog post- but today I want to highlight 8 of the biggest life and business lessons I learned. These are the lessons that keep replaying in my head over and over and the ones I know will have an impact on my life and business in the year to come.

Some of these lessons are more business related, but I believe so many of these business lessons translate into everyday life too. There is such a bigger picture and story to be told for many of these. Also, in blogging there is such a fine line between life and business for me because so many parts of my life are a part of my business too. Without further adieu, here are 8 life and business lessons I learned at TSC Summit!

ONE // Instagram follower count does not accurately reflect the number of people you are impacting or influencing anymore. While many brands used to put a big emphasis on the amount of followers one has, that is becoming less and less the case. Because Instagram has become so saturated with so many users, people are following less and less new people. And because people are following less new accounts, many people’s accounts are growing much slower or not at all. But just because people aren’t following new accounts doens’t mean they aren’t still discovering new people/ products/ brands through Instagram. A few years ago, it would not be out of the norm to get tagged in a photo and instantly gain 100s of new followers just from that one tag. That is no longer the norm today, because people are already following so many people and people’s “feeds are full” to an extent. People are not interested in following tons of new people, because they’re already following so many accounts. Just because people are not clicking “follow” on your account doesn’t mean that they don’t know exactly who you are and are not following what you are doing. Today people may not be gaining followers but they are still gaining influence. Someone may be purchasing items from your site, watching your Insta stories, and keeping up with you daily without ever hitting “follow". All this to say, bloggers and businesses should not be putting so much emphasis on their “follower” number but focus on the content you create and how you can help/impact/inspire others through your work. I promise you are impacting and influencing more people than you think you are!

TWO // Be able to define your brand in 3 words. This is always such a great reminder to hear. I love branding- all the little details (colors, imagery, logo, etc) that are a part of my business and create the bigger picture of what I love, what I do, and what I stand for. I think it is so important to be able to sum up your brand in three words and really focus in on what those three things are. As a blogger or brand, you cannot be everything to everyone, so you should narrow in on the things that are most important to you, things you are best at, things you are known for, etc. These three words can really be a guiding light and help you keep all your content/ products consistent and “on brand.” For example, when you are posting to Instagram, you can ask yourself is this photo A, B, and C?

THREE // The three C’s to success are community, content, and commerce. I won’t elaborate too much here, but each of these pillars are so key to a brand or blogger’s success. Creating a sense of community and trust is invaluable to a brand. When someone feels like they know you and are a part of your community, they trust you and are more likely to support you and buy into whatever it is you are creating/ selling. Creating beautiful content that inspires and educates others is also huge. And without commerce, there is no business. To make a profit, you must be selling something! Be passionate about your community, consistent with your content, and creative with your commerce.

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FOUR // Stay on your tippy toes all the time. As an entrepreneur, you have to be flexible and open to change. You never know what is next or what may be around the corner tomorrow or in the next year. Always be open to trying new things and exploring new ideas. There is so much to be learned from trying new things and being agile with your business … and life. Be ready to take that next step, next leap, or next turn- you never know where it may lead you!

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FIVE // Own your category, no matter how small. Something I hear from smaller brands and boutiques quite often is how discouraged they are from being “small.” I think there is so much VALUE in being small. You are able to try new things, adapt, and change so much easier. You probably have a community that is more engaged. And you have the whole world and so many possibilities ahead of you! Never focus on how small you are but instead on how you can create content or products that impact and influence others’ lives in a positive way. Also, numbers on social media always seem so much smaller than in real life. On Instagram, one follower sounds crazy small, but in life… if you could change just one person’s life today, that would mean the world. You may not have the “swipe up” feature on Instagram with less than 10k followers, but don’t get discouraged. Can you imagine having a room filled with 5,000 people listening to what you have to say?! That’s incredible!! Own your category, find your niche, and think- how can you help someone? How can you brighten someone’s day? How can you teach someone something new? How can you encourage someone? How can you inspire someone?

SIX // Disrupt yourself before being disrupted. Stay one step ahead of the curve. Try to think of the new thing before your audience does. Surprise them and keep thinking of new ways you can be more creative and efficient with your content/ products. What can you do that nobody else is doing right now?

SEVEN // Use analytics as a resource not your North Star. Don’t get so caught up in the numbers, because if you only create/sell the most popular content/product, your business may fail. You don’t want to be a one hit wonder. Create a more dynamic brand. Many say that “best sellers” can be both the best and worst things that happen to brands. Use analytics as a way to determine what your readers/customers are interested in and what they respond to, but don’t let them be the end all be all to what you do.

EIGHT // Set impossible goals. Attainable goals tend to lead to more procrastination, while impossible goals really force more action. Dream big, shoot for the stars, and you will be more likely to push yourself and reach heights you never knew were possible!

*All images taken at beautiful Sea Island.

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