The Creatives Meet Business Experience (CMBXP) begins next week, so if you haven’t bought your tickets already, there is no time to waste.

What is CMBXP you ask?

It’s a conference/workshop series/themed happy hour/skill building/community extravaganza all packed into three days. It’s a creative entrepreneurs’ getaway and it’s unlike any event I have been to in Austin before. Each day is full of hands-on workshops touching on topics that help creatives, artists and entrepreneurs pursue their passions. Your daily schedule may have you attending a storytelling class in the morning, switch gears to self care in the afternoon and round out your day learning PR skills and event marketing.

This year is my second at CMBXP and because this particular event only takes place annually, I am determined to get the most out of every minute. That’s why I have laid out my most useful tips and advice to remind myself and everyone how to do the same.

Before CMBXP

Plan Your Schedule

If you’re anything like me, then you succeed most with a fully formed schedule. Not only does this quell my anxiety, but it gives me time to balance out the workshops to ensure I hit various topics.

Though you are welcome to pick up workshops (provided they are not full) as you go, it’s best to read about them beforehand to know what you are getting into. Before jumping in, you can view the full schedule of workshops including their description, information about the guide, time and location, all available on the event’s website. You can add up to 14 workshops before the experience, which still gives you some time to fluctuate your schedule.

Keep in mind that these workshops fill up quickly! If you don’t have a chance to register, you can wait to get a space after everyone that has signed up is in. However, you are not guaranteed a spot unless you sign up beforehand.

Have an Open Mind

There is much to delve into about this, as I did in my previous reflection of last year’s experience. The best way to go into CMBXP is with an open mind.

CMBXP is the most helpful when you are introduced to new concepts and ideas that you are unfamiliar with. That’s why I make sure to attend workshops that are challenging for me. Though internally I may be freaking out about the possibility of speaking up or trying something that I will likely not be good at, I know that there is a reward in delving into the unknown.

You will have ample opportunity to face these challenges during all three days so embrace it!

During CMBXP

Participate

I constantly have to remind myself to participate (a piece of advice I received early on from Steven Chobsky) in everything I do. If you think of filling out your schedule and showing up as the first two hurdles of CMBXP, then participating is the third significantly taller hurdle that many people trip over or avoid altogether.

Photo by: Manny Pandya

For many of us introverts, participation is not something that comes naturally. However, it is something you can get better at with practice.

Unlike a lot of other conferences, the workshops at CMBXP are meant to be hands-on. Even without trying, there will be opportunities for you to share and collaborate. Honestly, it’s impossible not to participate. However, even in these moments you can find ways to put yourself out there beyond what the Guide (aka speaker) asks of you.

For example, you can:

  • Ask questions

    • If you’re confused, chances are that someone else is right there with you. Don’t brush it off. Ask questions for clarity and better understanding. I noticed a lot of people asking questions last year that focused on their business or situation so that the answers were more personalized and direct.
  •  Sit next to someone you don’t know

    • This is one of the simplest things you can do, assuming that you’re not already friends with everyone attending.
  • Step out of your comfort zone

    • This is your time to be outgoing! The atmosphere of CMBXP is the closest thing to an entrepreneur’s summer camp you’re going to get. The energy is different there. Everyone is buzzing, ready to learn and ready to meet new people. It’s like the first day of school and everyone (including you) actually want to be there.

Happy Hours are Essential

The carefully planned out happy hours are also a crucial component to the entire experience.  In addition to being a time to network and talk with people more openly, the happy hours are creative feats in and of themselves.

Photo by: Annie Winsett

Last year during my first happy hour, I had the chance to hold and pet baby kangaroos, lemurs and monkeys while eating Lick ice cream. During another happy hour I decorated a cookie, potted a succulent and learned how to make a cocktail.

During CMBXP, consider the happy hours part of your daily schedule.

Don’t Miss the Mentorships

One of the most helpful portions of last year’s event for me was the mentorship. These in-person sessions, which usually last about 20 minutes, allow you to connect one-on-one with professionals in a variety of industries in Austin.

This is your time to ask questions, listen to advice and take notes. The mentorships are a very intimate component of the entire experience, and they are definitely worth penciling in. Just make sure to sign up fast! There are a limited number of slots each day and signs-up are available on-site.

After CMBXP

Keep in Touch

Post-CMBXP, I had a lot of energy and motivation to immediately apply everything I learned. One of the things that helped me sustain this drive was continuing to attend the Creatives Meet Business workshops throughout the year. You can stay involved by signing up for the newsletter or joining the Facebook group to keep in touch with all of your cool new friends.

Figure Out What You Missed

You’re only one person, so there will likely be a lot of workshops that you could not attend. Luckily, most of the time Guides share their presentations after the experience so that you can go through them and still benefit from their advice. You can also exchange notes with friends you made while attending CMBXP.

If you’re eager to gather the notes yourself, I recommend asking the guide for their contact information after the workshop.

Buy Your Badge for CMBXP 2020

There’s no doubt that you’ll want to attend again so why wait to sign up for next year’s experience? As a current attendee, you will get the opportunity to purchase badges at a discounted rate for a limited of time. Take advantage of this and buy your badge! You won’t regret it.

CMBXP is What You Make It

Photo by: Manny Pandya

Of course, there is a lot more I can share with you about CMBXP, but truthfully, this is your own, individualized experience. Take that to heart and choose the classes that you want to go to, challenge yourself and get what you want from it.

We’ll see you there!


Written by: Natalie Earhart

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