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I'm Ali Rae and I love building brands.
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2023…I’m not sad to see you in the rearview mirror.
Something about it just felt…off.
Don’t wanna speak too soon, but 2024…call it a come back. Starting with this year’s mini-business retreat with my friend and co-founder, Kassie.
Last year’s retreat was where ESC Conference got its start, so you know that we dive deep. We look at the bigger picture (which, quite frankly, is what I prefer to do all the time…but as a business owner, that’s not possible).
2023 hit us both with big challenges, both personally and professionally. Kassie moved across the country and was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Phew, yes, that is enough to take the wind straight out of the sails of anyone. I experienced a few transitioning pains around a previous business venture that didn’t pan out and we also lost our childcare provider, so I was navigating being a stay-at-home mom of three + business owner x3 and it was all just a little overwhelming.
Like I said, see ya, 2023. Let me quote Jelly Roll on this one: “There’s a reason the windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror.”
The 2024 retreat was a manifestation of that. We are looking through the windshield at 2024, excited to regroup, recover, and face the world.
Despite making marketing plans for other businesses, I had never sat down and made an explicit marketing plan for Ali Rae Haney.
WILD. Like how?
I realized I rely very heavily on social media to market my business, but recently, it has felt like a hamster wheel of just trying to create content in an unsustainable way. And that led to just throwing out what was on my brain at the moment with zero strategy attached.
So…for the first time in six years, I made a marketing plan for myself. And I am so excited about it. It includes a podcast, and I really think I am going to love this format of educating, interacting, and if I’m being honest–processing.
A whole new marketing spreadsheet was created that has dates and marketing tactics outlined with topics…and oh my gosh, it just makes me color-coded, type-A heart oh so very happy.
We needed to refocus on ESC to make this event everything it is meant to be.
Once Kassie was diagnosed with cancer, we went into [literal and figurative] survival mode. There was a lot of uncertainty throughout the September to November timeframe, and naturally, we prioritized her health and care. Very thankfully, she was able to have all cancerous tumors removed through an incredibly invasive and painful surgery and is now recovering; however, as you can imagine, recovery is not just physical. She was faced with big decisions (literally she had to decide for herself whether she was going to do chemo as a preventative measure…like how is that possible in the 21st century?), but ultimately she decided not to do chemo.
Throughout all of this, we put ESC on the back burner and dropped the ball on marketing this amazing conference as well as it should be. You just gotta do whatcha gotta do.
Because our ticket sales were low, we were faced with the decision of letting it fizzle and cancelling the conference…or rallying hard and marketing the shit out of it because we know how freaking incredible of an event it is going to be for all the entrepreneurs in attendance.
Because we sincerely believe in ESC and all it stands for–we are rallying. We prioritized attendance over profit and slashed the prices to the conference so we can get out there and prove this damn-near-perfect concept. It was a huge decision, but what we feel is the right one.
So if you’re a creative entrepreneur and you’re ready to grow your business, you want an all-inclusive educational experience with hard-hitting education, and you want to party a little bit while writing it all off…well, ESC is where you need to be April 15-18. Come join us and buy your ticket here!
Personal goals are important too.
Flashing back to our 2023 retreat, I remember Kassie encouraging me to read some books for fun. And I was all like, “YoU mEaN fIcTiOn?” So I tried–and I read 1.5 fiction books in 2023.
When you’re strapped for time and inspiration and let’s be real, income, personal shit is the first thing to go if you don’t have a solid plan in place. In 2023, I took care of my children, mowed a lot of grass, and squeezed business into the remaining cracks I could find.
So at this year’s retreat, for the first year since probably 2019, I focused on and built a plan for my personal goals before I did my business goals. And it honestly left me feeling much more steady with the foundation I needed to be able to succeed both personally and professionally.
Kassie and I both have a new mantra. It’s the R-rated version of “Shoot the shot.” Instead, we “f*ck around and find out.”
Mom, sorry if you’re reading this.
2023 made us introspective. It took a lot from us, but also gave us a shit ton of perspective. One nugget of wisdom we have gleaned is that you never know till ya try.
And once you try, sometimes you get the outcome you want, sometimes you don’t. But ya know what? A very simple reframe of failure is experimentation.
Even if whatever it is you’re trying doesn’t work out…cool, now you have another piece of data that is setting you on the right path to figuring out what does work. I think my high school chemistry teacher would be really proud of me for my use of the scientific theory (it’s funny because my mother-in-law was my high school chemistry teacher 😉).
Alright, 2024. I’m ready for ya. Let’s do this. 👏🏻
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