Last Saturday I was one lucky gal attending my second MomCom Austin Conference. My friend, fellow blogger, and all around event planning-mom-ninja-badass Trish Morrison is the brains (and beauty, I might add) behind this operation, and I have to say, this time she may have outdone herself. I came away with a lot of inspiration, a new girl crush, and a whole lot of laughs with my blogging and social media gal pals.
The day started off with a bang with first speaker Tiffany Harelik. Tiffany is the author of the Trailer Food Diaries, which started off as a blog, and gained enough popularity that she published a cookbook sharing recipes from some of Austin’s most beloved food trucks. She now also has a Portland edition in the works. Check out her Kickstarter page and help her reach her goal so she can publish it!
Tiffany’s great grandfather started a banana cart, which grew into a fruit stand, which led to him eventually owning three general stores. So food trucks are kind of in her blood. She found herself in a job that she hated, affecting her health, life, and relationships, so she quit (actually, they said if she didn’t quit they’d fire her. At least it was mutual?).
I love stories like Tiffany’s — true, honest to God testimonials about the American Dream. Not starting a business and making tons of money, but finding something you love and running with it, seeing where it takes you. And what I love even more is that in telling the stories of others who have risked everything for a chance to do something they love, Tiffany found her own American dream. She’s making her own way, trekking around the world, eating some amazing food, living her life, and loving it. And she is just so dang cute and nice.
Tiffany reminded me of what I know in my heart, but all too often forget: that it’s not necessarily about the money. It’s about your dreams and doing what you love. And I truly believe that if you do what you love (and you’re good at it), the money will follow.
“If you dare to dream, you get a chance to do it” — Roy Spence, owner of Royito’s (and the “S” in GSD&M Advertising)
The keynote speaker of the day was Sabrina Parsons, owner and CEO of Palo Alto Software. Sabrina spoke a lot about the importance of pricing your product or service effectively, but what I found most interesting was her tidbits on work life balance that crept into the presentation. She’s a hard working career woman with a demanding job, but that didn’t stop her from interviewing one of her prospective employees while nursing her newborn (with a cover!). Why are we sometimes surprised to learn that a high powered executive is also a devoted mom who took her child on a business trip because it was his birthday and welcomes all three of her kids in her bed at night because she doesn’t get to see them during the day?
Sabrina urged us all, in whatever field we’re in, to value our time. Don’t be apologetic for being assertive about your price (freelance writers, I’m talking to you!). Work hard, and bring value to the table.
“Your wingspan is never going to be wider. You just have to figure out the juggling act.” — Sabrina Parsons, Palo Alto Software
On the topic of Enteprenuership and Family was Marissa Vogel, founder of local non profit Little Helping Hands, an organization that strives to get children involved in volunteer work and community service at a young age, building a strong foundation for life long respect for those in need and the environment around us.
I likened Marissa’s story a lot to Tiffany’s in that she had a light bulb moment and an idea that she couldn’t stop thinking about that led her to where she is today. She pursued this idea, knowing that it had potential to be something big, even if it meant quitting her job to start something that wouldn’t necessarily guarantee an income, and many, many difficult conversations with her husband. But in the end, she had the support system she needed to follow her dream, and she wakes up every morning completely in love with her chosen path.
It wasn’t a fairy tale. Marissa admits it was, and still is, a lot of hard work, with little sleep and personal time in the beginning, but in the end it was necessary and worth it to work towards her goal. And communicating with your family about your goals is key in making it all work.
I’m honestly in love with the opportunity Marissa has created, and my blogger friends and I hopefully have an event in the works to volunteer as a group with our kids. So I’ll keep you posted on that!
Finally, the last lady of the day was none other than local writer, humorist, Parent’s Magazine award winning blogger, and all around sassy blonde, Wendi Aarons. You’ve heard me talk about Wendi before, as she is also the producer of Listen to Your Mother Austin, who may or may not have had something to do with that fluke of me getting into the show.
I absolutely adore Wendi, and it’s not just because she’s so funny. In fact, she kind of pisses me off because she’s so effortless about it. But she’s also kind, generous, and incredibly humble. You’ll get a bit of a surprise when after reading her work, you expect a loud, brazen broad to step up to the mic, and instead you get a soft spoken, sweet sounding blonde who spits out her killer one liners like the rest of us breathe air.
Okay, enough of me waxing poetic about Wendi; you want to hear what she talked about. Wendi gave us a little rundown on how to be funny, straight from the source — like getting cello lessons from Yo-Yo Ma or something. No one wants to hear the play by play account of how you woke up, fed your kids, drank your coffee, and now everyone’s bored and whining (or even worse — playing happily together). Take the little things, the nuances in your life, and add a little humor, make it interesting.
“Being funny will occasionally get you into trouble, but if you make people laugh, it’s worth it.” — Wendi Aarons
And she’s also a brilliant mathematician:
Tragedy + Time = Funny
I had a blast at my second MomCom, and I look forward to attending another. If you’re in Austin, the Austin area, or need a good excuse to come to Austin (seriously, who doesn’t?), I highly recommend this event for moms who are business owners, enteprenuers, freelancers, or who just need a good dose of inspiration and fun. Keep up with all of the MomCom updates at momcomaustin.com or on the Facebook page. And mom up!
In other, unrelated news, over at This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff, I shared a simple, easy as pie way to turn those stacks of paintings your preschoolers have done and turn them into legit art that you actually don’t mind looking at. ‘Til next time!