Creative @ Heart Round 9 Conference Recap


Let me just start by saying that I had absolutely no idea what I was about to get into by going to this conference. I had seen fellow photographers go and come out with having such success in their businesses and a drive to reach their goals. I wanted that. So naturally I signed up. Also…it looked like a pretty dang incredible event!

You know all of those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.
— Lara Casey

Once I signed up, being an enneagram type 8 I immediately booked a room at the hotel. I didn’t want to be without a room and I wanted to meet new people. So to force myself to make some friends I posted on the Facebook group that I had room available. Little did I know that the ladies I ended up rooming with would become some of my best friends (more on that in a minute).

I had my room and I was making my plans to make the 6 hour drive so I can for sure guarantee that I have some mode of transportation. Again the 8 in me wants control. As the date got closer things shifted in my business as well as my personal life. A lot was going down back home in Wisconsin and I wasn’t feeling as inspired as I was when I started my business. (You may already know this story and if you do feel free to skip ahead!) So after some much needed thought I shifted my business to ONLY personal branding photography, being a graphic design educator and having really cool passion projects on my Youtube channel. All of this happened at the beginning of June. The conference was at the end of June.

Vanessa Jordan Photography, Personal Branding Photography, Creative at Heart, Round 9
Vanessa Jordan Photography, Personal Branding Photography, Creative at Heart, Round 9

Flash forward to that Monday where I got on the road at 7am not 100% sure where my business sat with this new shift as well as not 100% sure what to expect for this conference. I had chatted with my roommates a bit before hand to finalize any details but otherwise…I was about to room with strangers. Little did I know….I was about to find MY PEOPLE. We all immediately hit it off like we were old friends. We sang show-tunes in the morning while we were getting ready (sorry to our neighbors), we stayed up late talking about anything and everything…plus one of my roommates is a HUFFLEPUFF!!!! What could be better than that?!?! It was great to always have people to talk to during the whole event and not to mention that we went to dinner together every night which was really special and meant a lot to me.


Vanessa Jordan Photography, Personal Branding Photography, Creative at Heart, Round 9

So day one started off with a bang. It was non stop learning and I didn’t realize how drained I was until the end of the day. I talked to so many people, connected with incredible educators and got to eat some good food (which if you know me, is VERY key). One of the biggest takeaways from the first day was from Kat Schmoyer’s opening speech. She challenged us to write down goals for the next 72 hours and check in on them each day. Little did I know that I would hit EVERY SINGLE ONE without even trying. Crazy right?!

Here were my goals for round 9:

  • Learn how to go full-time

  • Meet new friends

  • Have a REAL community of people to invest in and work with

I mean in reality seems pretty do able. Again, my expectations were low and I was open to whatever came my way!

We got to hear from Nancy Ray, who really broke down the barriers to show us that we are all starting at a similar place and it’s ok to be where we are. It was very moving. (There was a lot of tears but happy tears at this conference so be prepared!)

One of the keynotes was from Terri Baskin where she talked about our “icing” how do we stand apart from others like us in our field? This is something I CONSTANTLY think about. It was one of the many things during this conference that reaffirmed that my shift was the right one for myself and my business. Everyone I talked to told me that this was the right shift for me. I would explain my story and get so excited and passionate about this direction of my business that my new friend Katy had to stop me and say, this is what you were meant to do. These are the realizations you have here people!

Probably the biggest geek out moment of this conference was that I GOT TO MEET A FORMER DISNEY PRINCESS!!!! I had no idea who she was or her story but her first slide of her presentation was of the Walt Disney World Castle so I knew it was going to be good. When Laura Foote then said she was casted as Aurora I just about LOST MY MIND. She is such a wonderful down to earth person that I was able to chat with her a bit later! She was so incredibly kind, which is a trend for EVERYONE AT THIS CONFERENCE. Had to share my bit of Disney magic lol.

Vanessa Jordan Photography, Personal Branding Photography, Creative at Heart, Round 9


Day two was another whirlwind…big surprise! But it had nothing short of incredible content!! I was getting into the groove of listening to keynotes, going to my breakout sessions and absorbing ALLLLL of the information. It was like college but EVEN MORE FUN. At one point I kinda forgot that I had a full-time job to come back to!

Going into this conference I didn’t have a clue who most of the educators were so during Lara Casey’s keynote I had no clue who I was listening to. Everyone was so excited for her (which I now know why!). She is like the goddess of goal setting. She has this incredible goal setting agenda that is set for 6 months at a time. Which is great to then check in with yourself before you purchase another one. Because the conference happened to fall close to the half way mark in the year she gave all the attendees one of her power sheets books FOR FREE. It was really an incredible moment and I started it on July 1st and haven’t stopped. It is such a great tool to keep yourself accountable and keep track of your progress. It helps break down these big goals into doable pieces that before you know it, you are tackling your goals!

I have a TON of info from my break sessions from going full-time, to Pinterest strategies, to hiring to client experiences that I could do a whole other blog post on it! (Let me know below if you would like to see that!) All in all another fabulous day with good food, great people and ALL THE SWAG!

Later that night we also had a PJ party with sweet treats which was really a blast! People danced and I just about chatted everyone’s ear off but it just felt so nice to be in an environment that as Kat said in the beginning, truly felt like home.

Vanessa Jordan Photography, Personal Branding Photography, Creative at Heart, Round 9

Day 3

Day three was of course bitter sweet. It was the last day and I didn’t want it to end! I wanted to stay there with all my new friends connecting and inspiring each other. But as all good things do, they must come to an end. We started with our last few breakout sessions which my last one was watercoloring. I thanked myself over and over again because I truly needed this break for the end of the conference. I had a little time to recharge and get ready for the rest of the day.

We closed out with a keynote from Abby Grace (a wonderful human) talking about The Gentle No and Katlyn James talking about how to keep the passion in your business and life. There was not a dry eye in the house as Katlyn and Abby talked about their struggles which connected with all of us.

Lastly, we all surprised Kat with a video thanking her for everything she has done and making this conference possible. I’m so happy I got to be a part of it because this whole experience was one of the best business decisions I have ever made. We all watched the recap video and then hugged all our sweet friends goodbye.

I must say that it was an incredible experience. I know I keep say it but it really was. It’s so hard to put into words unless you go. I definitely planning on going again next year for Round 10! I hope to see all of you there! I couldn’t be more grateful for this whole experience and I can’t wait to go again. If you have any further questions about the conference, feel free to message me! I would love to talk about it more!