This past Saturday I graciously accepted an invitation to Beyond Inspiration, a bite-sized gathering of female entrepreneurs looking for business insight. I won tickets to the conference–I never win anything so woop woop to that–but I can honestly say, after spending the entire day with 35 incredibly talented and warm women, that paying for the event would be worth every penny.  And because we’re all about advocating for excellent organizations and spreading the word on how to nourish your soul and business, I thought I’d share about the day.

Beyond Inspiration Los Angeles

Hosted by Stephanie Watanabe of The Girl Who Knows, Beyond was spawned after Steph realized there were few female-focused conferences that were 1) intimate and 2) left attendees with more than just inspiration. Beyond Inspiration banished both.

The atmosphere: Stephanie’s energy is unbelievable. She’s articulate, enthusiastic, ambitious and most of all, dying to help other women flourish in their endeavors. She created a calming environment that allowed you to focus on each speaker, take helpful notes and feel like you were heard, both in the group and during our one-on-one sessions.  It’s worth noting that the morning snacks–more specifically the donuts–were to die for.

My favorite business lessons: There was so much bad assery being spouted from the ladies on the panel that it’s difficult to pick the best takeaways from the day, but a few really stood out to me.

Wakako Takagi, owner of the store Baum-kuchen, spoke on building the perfect brand story. For Wakako, that meant establishing 4 values that her and her husband stood by and wove throughout every aspect of their brand, from logo to packaging to customer experience. It’s a brilliant idea that every business should consider.

In that same vain, Stephanie discussed creating an unforgettable customer experience. She suggested being conscience of how you’re presenting your brand and pampering, if you will, your clients. Whether great packaging, personalized notes, etc.

My favorite personal lessons: Ugh, again, utter brilliance was slung about the room.

This could fall under business advice as well, but I was enamored by Ellen Ercolini’s talk on bringing you into your business. She reinforced the idea of being your authentic self and making your business what you want it to be. Believe 100% in what you’re doing and channel your strengths into areas that help you prosper, whether professional or personal.

If you have a few minutes, head to her website and take her frequency quiz. It explains your frequency so you can focus on using your strengths to grow your business. I’m telling you, she was SPOT ON with me.

Best bonus information: We talk a lot about social media, and have already discussed what you’re doing wrong on Instagram, but Jennifer Puno killed it with her discussion on using Instagram to grow your business.

Because I don’t want to give away all of her secrets, she has a can’t-miss class on the topic, I’ll just say if you’re trying to figure out how successful your engagement is, think 10-20% for a small number of followers. As you grow that number will drop, think 1-2% when you start getting into 100,000 and more.

I can’t say enough about how grateful I am to have been in a room of such incredible women (I didn’t even get to gush about the amazing Ashley NeeseSarah Ehlinger and Anne Sage–you’ll have to check them out for yourself). Thanks so much to each woman who spoke and to Stephanie, for throwing a hell of a launch event. Here’s to more Beyond Inspiration events to come.