My heart is absolutely BURSTING with gratitude and joy after last weeks’ 1st Annual Fireside Retreat! I was joined by 13 incredible, female entrepreneurs at Windrift Hall in Coxsackie, NY. I honestly can’t put into words how much joy I feel in my heart. I couldn’t imagine a better group of women – everyone (including myself) cried when it was over, and the girls are already all planning trips to visit each other and stay in touch! OH MY HEART!
At the retreat, we discussed everything from systems and workflows to business & personal priorities to outsourcing and SO MUCH more! We had 10 talks that built upon each other, and a few guest speakers popping in to bring even more value to the attendees. Today, I want to spend some time giving an extra special shout out to all of our amazing sponsors – who without – I could not have executed this crazy pipedream of mine!
It is a true honor to feature each and every one of you here on the blog today! Community and support are what keeps us all afloat in this industry. And for your support and guidance, I am eternally grateful!
First and foremost, I want to thank my incredible team.
I am incredibly grateful for finding Rock Solid Virtual Assistants as my source for the highest quality virtual assistants in the industry. Their mission is built on relationships. Each client-VA match goes through a thorough onboarding process, ensuring that you are both the right match for each other. And best of all, their team cares about you and your business’ success. I’ve been working with the Rock Solid team for over a year now and I could not be happier with their services! I can honestly say that this retreat would definitely not have happened without them.
In addition to Rock Solid as a whole, I will be eternally grateful to my UNBELIEVABLE assistant, Bridget for helping to make this retreat a reality. I can guarantee you that this retreat would not have happened without her endless support, encouragement, knowledge of event planning, huge heart for the attendees, and amazing attitude and grind to push through and get anything done perfectly that I threw her way. I am grateful to the point of tears to have Bridget as a part of my team and am so excited to see what the future holds as we dream and achieve more major projects together.
Bridget – thank you for being my friend, sidekick, right-hand girl, killer assistant and overall an amazing light and inspiration in my life. I am truly eternally grateful for you.
Terry Neff – my INCREDIBLE mother and our chef for the week!!
My original plan for the retreat was to have it catered, but after looking up what that cost, I told my mom my dilemma and she offered to be the chef for the week. The fact that she hates cooking (but is absolutely incredible at it) shows what an incredible person she is. I knew that I wanted her to be there the entire retreat, in whatever capacity I could because she has been a detrimental part in making it happen through her endless support of my business and my dreams. We cried together of joy when it was ending, happy danced as tickets were sold over the last 6 months, and stayed up to the wee hours of the morning, too excited to sleep during retreat week.
The attendees were able to enjoy her incredible cooking morning noon and night for breakfast lunch and dinner and I’ve never heard so many rave reviews over food before in my life. She COMPLETELY outdid herself and I’m so unbelievably and eternally grateful to her for blessing us with the gift that brought 16 incredible people around a table together.
Mom, thank you for the last 27 years of support, encouragement, and confidence in me and my dreams. I love you and I’m so glad you got to be a part of this. I could never have done it without you.
Next, I want to thank the INCREDIBLE Behind the Scenes Team That Brought the Fireside Retreat to Life!
Steph of Tone Media
When I thought about documenting and recording the retreat, Steph of Tone Media was the first person who came to mind. Her work is breathtaking! She is able to take all the small, special moments and string them together to create a beautiful, moving final product. I cannot tell you how excited I am to see the finished retreat video. I’ve seen a few clips so far and let me tell you, they are AMAZING! If you are not familiar with Steph’s work, you have to head over to her website and watch some of her featured videos. Don’t forget your tissues 😉
Rosemary of Rosemary Green Photography
Rosemary and I have been colleagues and friends for at least 3 years now, and I am so grateful that we get to photograph weddings together often, and celebrate and share so many dreams and life moments together! She has become such a close friend and confidant over the last few years, and when the retreat planning was underway, I reached out and asked if she’d be interested in photographing and attending it. I always felt like this content was MADE for her and she was a dream attendee, but I also ADORE her pictures and knew she’d be the perfect person to capture my vision.
And let me tell you – she knocked it out of the park! She sent me her favorites gallery soon after the retreat was over and I just cried going through her pictures, which all allowed me to relive this incredible week!
Rosemary, thank you for being a friend and for donating your talent, time and heart to bring my dream to life through your incredible photographs. I’m so incredibly grateful for you!
Austyn of Austyn & Brian Photography and Design
The brilliant design skills of my dear friend Austyn are what brought my dream Sales page to life. Austyn was able to format and design the page to fit the exact idea I had in my mind. Not only that, but she stuck with me through all the tweaks to make sure the finished product was exactly how I wanted it. On top of her amazing design skills, she has become one of dearest friends in the world. I came home from the retreat to the doorbell ringing and opened up the most BEAUTIFUL flowers ever from her, congratulating me on my first retreat. I am blown away by her love and support (and design skills) and for anyone in the market for a new website, look no further! Austyn, you are a rockstar, thank you!!
Lyndsay of Lyndsay Rush
Lyndsay of Lyndsay Rush is the amazing and talented copywriter who helped take my jumbled, heart filled language about the retreat and turn it into an incredible web page. I could not have asked for a better, more authentic product. Lyndsay, thank you for channeling your heart and talent into this retreat with me!
And finally, thank you to the incredible guest speakers, guest bloggers, and sponsors of the Retreat for helping me take my dreams to the next level, offering incredible resources, insight, and knowledge to the attendees, and being huge supporters, encouragers, and inspiration to not just me, but the entire creative industry.
I can’t put into words how life-giving it is to let go of editing if you’re a photographer. When I struck up a conversation with Photographer’s Edit founder, Nathan, at a conference a few years back, I knew immediately that his heart was in the right place. And that place was getting photographer’s back to the things and people most important to them. Their mission is to help you get back to personal work, help you grow your business with new-found free time, and spend more time with the people you love the most. Give them a spin to see how life-changing it can be for you to let go of something as big as editing.
We were so lucky to have Nathan Holritz of Photographer’s Edit join us at the retreat for a live presentation on creating a “Big Picture View” for our lives and businesses. He generously took the time to pour into our attendees and share his personal and professional experiences in the industry and reiterated so many things we were touching on at the retreat – from defining our values, our strengths, our weaknesses and more, and building a business and life that fulfills us and brings us joy. His talk aligned perfectly with the content we discussed earlier that week – specifically our talk on priorities, values, and designing an ideal lifestyle and I was just blown away at how similar our missions are.
Not only did Nathan take the time out of his day to join us at the retreat for a live presentation, he has also been featured on the Laura Lee Creative blog THREE times this year. I am so, so grateful for all the amazing content and knowledge he has been able to share with the attendees and with the whole Laura Lee Creative audience. If you haven’t had a chance to read one or all of his posts on the blog, head over there today and dive in!
- Are You Doing the Right Things for Your Business
- Getting Things Done Quickly & Easily
- How to Organize Your Computer
Our breakfast and coffee set-up would not have been possible (or as yummy tasting) without the support of our sponsor ShowIt. Each morning the attendees were greeted with the smell of freshly brewed coffee and an array of yummy options to fuel our jam-packed days of content and learning!!
In addition to their contribution to the breakfast spread, ShowIt also generously offered a FREE, one-year subscription to one lucky attendee! The winner, Sara Fitzpatrick (pictured below), was SO SO thrilled. She cannot wait to get started building her new site on their incredible platform for her new Print Shop.
As many of you might already know, ShowIt is my go-to website builder! Their unique and COMPLETELY customizable designs provide an engaging experience for anyone who visits your site. I have been using ShowIt for almost 4 years now and I am in love with this program! It is simple to use so you won’t be spending hours building out your website, every aspect is completely customizable and NO coding skills are required. Yes, of course, saving you time and energy for other important parts of your biz!
You can read even more about why I think ShowIt is the best website builder out there on the Laura Lee Creative blog. My Thoughts on Why I ShowIt 5 is the Best Website Builder Out There.
Anyone who’s website header is “systematize your service beautifully” has my heart! Megan of Megan Martin Creative does just that. Her shop is full of goodies for the creative boss lady- templates, brand boards, guides, and more to systemize your business in style!
I am so grateful that Megan agreed to partner with me for the Fireside Retreat – and for Megan’s endless support of my business and dreams. One of our lucky attendees, Kristen Driscoll of Kristen Driscoll Photography, received a FREE template from Megan’s shop!! I know Kristen is SO excited to get on Megan’s shop and pick one of the amazing templates to apply to her business.
Paige Hulse, the owner of Shop Creative Law, is an attorney for creatives! Amazing, right?! She is an advisor and counselor to creatives, helping navigate the legalities of entrepreneurship so you have more time for what matters. Her shop is FULL of amazing resources and templates so you can get all your legal ducks in a row, quickly and easily!
Not only did Paige graciously agree to sponsor the Fireside Retreat (with a special goodie for our retreat attendees), she also took the time to write two amazing blog posts for the Laura Lee Creative blog. She has so much experience and expertise to share with creatives of all kinds. I cannot say enough about how her templates have transformed my business – getting all my legal ducks in a row! Trust me when I say, Paige is a legal life saver!!
To read more from Paige, head over to the Laura Lee Creative blog and check out two AMAZING and informative blog posts she wrote for the blog earlier this year!
So, you guys know I kinda like to talk about, teach, tweak, and master the art of workflows and systems! They are one of the biggest reasons why I dreamt up the Fireside Retreat in the first place! And without the help of my client management software, HoneyBook, I would not be able to have everything for my business dialed and systematized!
HoneyBook has been my client management software solution for almost two years now and I could not be happier with how it helps me streamline, save time, and provide an amazing client experience! From the inquiries to custom proposals, HoneyBook makes it so easy for you to book and communicate with your clients every step of the way. I cannot thank the team at HoneyBook enough for all of their support throughout the years. When I reached out to their team to tell them about the 1st Annual Fireside Retreat, I was met with overwhelming enthusiasm and support. To everyone at Honeybook HQ, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
Ashley of Ashley Gerrity Photography
After being in the same line up for presenters for the Happily Ever Growth Summit in May with Ashley, I knew I wanted to share her expertise with the Fireside Retreat attendees. Ashley is a fellow photographer and entrepreneur who has mastered the art of Profit First. She generously took the time out of her day to pour into our attendees and share her experience in the industry. I’m pretty sure notes couldn’t be taken fast enough and so many attendees were SO pumped about what she shared about running a profitable business. I cannot wait to partner with Ashley again in the future!!
My incredible attendees
To the INCREDIBLE group of women who attended the first Fireside Retreat, I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. My heart is full of gratitude for you all, and I hope our paths will continue to cross in the future!!! <3 You made this retreat better than I ever could have believed possible. You’re all amazing.
Phew! Okay – that is a wrap for now! I will be coming back to you next week to gush a little more about the Fireside Retreat and share with you some of the things I learned from launch advice to content creation to the simple joy of following and executing a dream! Stay tuned =)