The Many Hats we Wear
Every small business has to have organization and everyone who helps out the small business has a title. At Limonade Inc, I am the Head Creative and that can mean many things. As a group we create solutions for our clients that help facilitate their projects. At times, the hat of Head Creative gets passed from one person to the next and that is inspiring. I have always been fascinated with how someone can come up with an idea, execute it, and see the results.
In order to continue to be creatives for our own projects and clients, Raul and I invested time in our professional development and traveled to the Midwest of the United States for a one of a kind conference known as Misfit Con 2014. I even opened up an Instagram account to document our trip from Puerto Rico to Fargo, North Dakota.
The Journey to Fargo
First Raul told me that I was going and he had squared away most of the details. When I was finally convinced to jump on board, we worked on getting things scheduled for clients because we could not totally be off the grid. That meant that for the rest of April into May, we were working even more on weekends than usual.
All along our trip we stayed with a close friend and brother in Chicago. We met up with many friends who took time out of their day to meet with us. We drove to Wisconsin, Minnesota, and finally arrived in Fargo, North Dakota.
We tell our clients that they have to be personal with their on and offline community and this is exactly what I saw when we arrived. Since Raul had journeyed the year before to Fargo, he reconnected with all of his friends again who were more like extended family members by this point.
The Misfits raise the bar
I attended the morning session of the first day of the conference. Let me preface this by saying that there was a start time and I had no clue who was speaking or what was going to happen. After breakfast, I said goodbye to Raul and our daughter, who was along for the trip, I headed out with our cousin Berni (who we met for the first time in real life) to listen and take notes.
Claudia Alick awakened our curiosity with a spoken word poem and had us on our feet as soon as the conference started. On our feet, at a conference, where I thought I would just be sitting and listening?
Jonathan Fields opened up with a meditation and reminded us to find like minded people to connect with, create our own things, and figure out what our strengths are and build them up.
Nathan Clark turned a simple gift for his wife into a passionate business and reminded us that love is a gift. Amos Kennedy said that we are not misfits but perfect fits. Sue Ann Reed overcame adversity and is doing what she loves, she is awesome. Clay Hebert offered insight into how to get people to fund your projects. If you don’t have one of these, you basically need to create one now.
Raul spoke to Joshua and Ryan and he told them how they inspired him to let go of the clutter in his life. He spoke to Erik Proulx about how his movie inspired him to start Limonade Inc. and how his journey to Misfit Con 2013 changed much of our small business.
We also met the talented Kristen Runvik who designed our Christmas gift mugs to give to our clients and folks who have helped us along the way. Jackie Shelley had done a watercolor print of our daughter and when I saw it in person, I was truly touched and amazed by her talent to capture our daughters emotion in the photo.
In between we got to hear from AJ and Melissa who also had us listening to Jillian a harpist, a Shakespearean performer named Shane, and a violinist who was graduating the very next day from the high school in Fargo; they provided us another level of intellectual, inspirational, and musical stimulation.
A Retreat for the Professional Soul
I have been to many religious retreats and this being my first conference, it felt more like a retreat but for the professional soul. The main affirmation I heard was that it was hard to do what you do, are doing, want to do, but to do it. Not only was I letting the speakers words sink in on a professional level, but I was also letting it sink in with our decisions as parents.
I was standing, clapping, shaking my head, sayings yes; all the things I remember from going to a retreat or listening to an inspiring testimonial of someone in church. We were involved in the presentations with the speakers not just listening and taking notes.
Since being back home, our friends have asked me how the conference was and I kept repeating it was like going to a retreat, a church, and Raul said yes, it is like being with a tribe. As a small business, we needed to refresh and regroup, and this was a good place to do it.
Thank You Misfit Family
After hearing so much about Melissa and AJ from Raul and seeing how they got Raul and Bianca and 28 other people from around the globe to help with the windmill in Gambella, Kenya, I finally got to met these two amazing people. I saw how their brothers Tony and Cheeze, cousin Geni and her husband Mirko worked together as a unit to accommodate us.
The volunteers who were serving us food, picking up after all of us, the people of Fargo that I met and talked to like Greg, Nichole, Ashley, and Annika; they all made us feel like we were part of their town and their extended families.
At times, you will not be supported by family members or friends and they will not understand why you have chosen to be a creative, a troublemaker, a game changer, or a misfit, find the community who will rally around you.
And if you can’t find the community, start building one.