Hi all! We hope your intro to Spring has been going well.
We've been very busy prepping for Spring/Summer markets and workshops. However, we were lucky to be able to fit in a great business-focused event this month. We attended the Next Big Thing Conference in Calgary on March 16th.
Next Big Thing is an entrepreneur-focused educational conference for small business owners. Next Big Thing is for freelancers, those with a side hustle (us!), busy parents who run a business (also us!), people in the midst of a career transition or simply individuals who have a great idea that need help getting it off the ground.
Because we work full time and are raising kids, dedicating time to work on our side business as well as develop new skills and further our learning can be difficult. When the Next Big Thing event came up, we knew it was something that we should simply just do as a treat/business expense as part of a growth mindset and explore possible new ways of doing things. There are so many new events popping up across cities in Canada that are entrepreneur-focused which is really great. (PS: We have our own events coming up this Summer & Fall - stayed tuned for the announcement!) The Next Big Thing was a one day event so it was feasible with our schedules and affordable. We are also keeners so you know we scored early bird tickets and saved some cash! This event is specifically catered to people like us, where our business is new, small-scale and not full time. It felt like the perfect fit.
We arrived at the stunning New Central Library in Downtown Calgary at 8AM. We met up with a freelancer friend, and fellow ACAD alumni, and snagged our swag bags that had a couple of our favourite YYC/Female-owned products inside: Limited Edition Drizzle Honey and Energy Balls from Little Tucker. We had some time to mingle, grab coffee and pick our seats in preparation for the Keynote Speaker, Lauren Toyota - Influential YouTuber, author, & social media multi-tasker. (Oh, and a former Much Music VJ! If you're 90's kids like us, this is kinda a big deal.)
From there we were treated to in-depth presentations from business owners across Calgary all doing super exciting things - expanding their businesses, and sharing tales of growth, setbacks and struggle. Some major takeaways that really resonated with us were talks from Dawn Bradley Hair and Beverley Theresa. Dawn's talk was super personal (tears were shed) and openly shared the struggle of entrepreneurs trying to "do it all" and how this affects your life in many ways - even your health! On the more technical side, Beverly, a Social Media Strategist & Consultant, talked about growing your social media audience. Her presentation was done in an informative and really fun way that we absolutely loved and related to. There was also a panel discussion that broke up the talks that was engaging and covered a ton of topics that any business, at any size, would be able to benefit from.
Everyone was so positive and inspiring that it was just a really great space to be in even if a particular presentation didn't quite fit our skill set or type of business.
The day was spent absorbing info, taking notes, sharing ideas and throwing back the caffeine! Totally our style. We finished the night off with a buzz through the post-event networking party at CharBar in the East Village. We also booked a reso at CharBar and spent a couple of hours chatting in detail between us and our friend on the days events. Feeling full from delicious food and drink and inspired about continuing to learn more, I'd say we ended the day on a high note.
If you're interested in attending this event next year - check out the website here.