My Notes and Takeaways from Craft + Commerce 2018

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

So much information was shared and consumed this past weekend in Boise at Craft + Commerce 2018.

The Convertkit (now Seva) team did an incredible job keeping each of us entertained, engaged, surprised, and inspired throughout the entire weekend, and it really doesn’t surprise me considering the company culture they’ve created.

The best part of the weekend however, was the connections I made with other entrepreneurs in a similar line of work.

While some of us had nothing in common in terms of personality, simply being on a similar journey can create powerful relationships.

I don’t usually meet people who understand what I’m doing, so it was incredibly refreshing answering the question of “what I do” with confidence, all weekend long.

On top of this, I met people who travel hack, use YNAB, practice Krav Maga, and engage in other random hobbies I obsess over on a day-to-day basis.

This was super-cool for me, because none of the people in my real life have much interest in any of these things.

So in the interest of giving you prospective Craft + Commerce attendees some substance, let me share some of my notes and takeaways from this excellent conference for online creators.

And who knows, maybe some of you who attended the 2018 conference could chime in with your notes in the comments section below. I think it would be helpful to consolidate as many ideas for the weekend as possible, especially while it’s still fresh on our minds.

Meetups

Early-bird dinner & drinks meetup

This dinner was my introduction to the conference and the moment I realized I had found my people.

Holy shit.

Amongst those at my table, there was so much intersection between the things each of us do. On top of this, everybody was humble, friendly, and helpful.

Early morning pickup basketball

This was the meetup I hosted at 6:30am on Friday.

I was the only one to show up, but I didn’t take it too personally since I figured most people at the conference: a) did not bring basketball shoes b) did not want to wake up at the asscrack of dawn c) did not like basketball, or d) had not arrived in Boise yet.

Still, I had a great time hooping it up with a bunch of locals, and I plan to host the meetup again next year, regardless of whether anyone at the conference actually shows up.

But you should show up next year 😛

YouTube creators meetup

Before the conference began on Friday, I attended a YouTube creators conference organized by one of the conference attendees, Charlie King.

There were over 20 people at the meetup, which was both awesome and unexpected!

I got to sit at a table with several experienced YouTubers, as well as a couple folks who were looking to get started on YouTube.

The first huge piece of information I got out of the meetup is that if you want to schedule a video to publish on a certain date and time, but not right when you upload it, you can set the video to “private” instead of “unlisted” (which is what I typically do) in order to have it published at a future date and time.

HUGE! Thanks, Paul!

I was also curious to know how others deal with updating their poorly created videos of the past, because I have several of them.

The burning question for me was: do you delete the old version of the video once you create it?

Several people chimed in to suggest that I keep the old video up, but link to the new video with a card and a URL in the video’s description.

A couple other notes I took:

  • The content subject matters more than the production and editing
  • Live video is good training for being more efficient

Thanks to Charlie for putting together such a useful, organized meetup! Honestly, it felt like a well-organized workshop.

If anybody else has notes from this meetup, please share in the comments below and I’ll add them in.

Convertkit (Seva) Feedback Workshop

After the YouTube meetup, I headed over to the Convertkit (now Seva) feedback meetup, where we got to provide direct product feedback to Nathan, Seva’s CEO, and other members of their team.

A few of the suggestions I made:

  • Allow users to add a broadcast email to the front (or end) of a sequence after it has been sent.
    • The intention behind this would be to create an evergreen newsletter more easily
  • Allow users to exclude subscribers from broadcasts if they are part of any sequence
    • The intention behind this is to ensure that those subscribers who are part of a current email sequence, are not bombarded by additional broadcast emails.
  • Provide live classes on the web
    • Since Seva has somewhat of a steep learning curve, I suggested that live webinars may be helpful for those who are looking to learn the software.
  • Notifications when a rule breaks
    • The automated rules are great, but they can be intimidating to work with. It would be great if users were notified when a new rule or automation breaks another rule/automation.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember what else we discussed beyond the notes I put down.

If anybody else has notes from this meetup, please share in the comments below and I’ll add them in.

It’s weird not writing Convertkit anymore.

Kinda like how I’m now going to have to refer to Google AdWords as Google Ads.

Ugh.

Main Stage Talks

Below are my notes and takeaways from the main stage talks throughout the weekend. Sorry, I realize I didn’t get everything.

Pat Flynn – The Riches are in the Niches

Serve First

I’m a huge Pat Flynn fanboy, even if I didn’t necessarily show it this weekend (I was too shy to have any in-depth conversations with him). Not getting past my shyness was probably my biggest regret of the weekend, but my guess is that we will someday cross paths again and I’ll have a chance to redeem myself.

Pat, if you ever read this, let’s get some hoops going at the next conference!

Anywho…

Pat had an entertaining opening presentation on the power of “showing up”, “serving first”, and “staying weird”.

The presentation was titled “The Riches are in the Niches” on the conference agenda, but I don’t recall any specific references to this mantra he often cites in his content.

He opened the talk by reading a children’s book called Llama Llama Red Pajama, before eventually showing the audience Ludacris’ rendition:

The point I think Pat was making in showing this video is that we all have our own unique voice and there are people out there who want to hear it.

“There are no unique messages, only unique messengers.”

“Put more you into your creations”

“Creations aren’t for us, they’re for who we serve”

The anecdotal anchor of the talk was the God Bless You Man, a homeless man named Dwight who used to panhandle around the UC Berkeley (B-town represent!) campus, saying “god bless you” to every passerby.

Dwight exemplified what Pat believes is important to creating a powerful online business.

He showed up. He served first (by offering kind words to strangers). And he put his unique spin on his work.

Overall, the talk was well-executed, even though the takeaways weren’t necessarily new to me (did I mention I’m a Pat Flynn fanboy?).

SmartPassiveIncome.com

Jay Ferruggia – Superconnected

Jay’s talk had a lot of good advice in his talk, despite not using any slides or other interactive elements.

My notes:

  • People skills is the #1 thing in business
    • Make people skills your #1 priority for the next 90 days
  • Shift your focus from an internal focus to an external focus (similar theme to Pat’s “serve your audience”)
  • Entertain, inform, persuade
  • Treat your passion as a business
  • Always follow-up within 48 hours
  • Take improv classes
  • Set goals and track your personal record
  • Act your way into thinking differently
  • Always take the reins
  • Always end the conversation
  • Get someone’s info, and set up a date
  • When speaking to someone, focus on pitch, pace, tone, melody, and volume

Jay is clearly a guy who has overcome a lot of adversity to get where he is, and he delivered his talk with a good balance of wisdom and humor.

JasonFerruggia.com

Oneika Raymond – Living Life with No Regrets: How I Turned my Passion for Travel into a Paycheck

Oneika Raymond gave an inspiring talk on her transformation from full-time teacher to full-time traveler.

Though she was getting paid well teaching privileged children abroad, she was tired of living her life on a countdown, staring at the clock, waiting for Friday to come around.

Now she gets paid to travel the world, and the following is what she said helped get her there:

  1. Identify your gifts and strengths
  2. Monetize & identify a need
  3. Identify trends, upgrade skills, and learn new ones accordingly
  4. Create content like crazy & build up a portfolio
  5. Be your own PR
  6. Create content with your customer in mind
  7. Entertain, inform, persuade
  8. Treat your passion as a business

OneikaTheTraveller.com

Corey Willis – Who Says No to Happy Hour?: How I Took Back My Life When My Business Was Taking Over

Prioritize tasks based on ROI

Corey Willis had one of my favorite talks of the day, perhaps because a lot of what she talked about specifically addressed some of my biggest challenges.

She told the story about how she grew a blog about interior design while juggling her commitments as a mom.

  1. Focus your content
  2. Define your brand promise
  3. Focus your time
  4. Create work hours
  5. Prioritize tasks based on ROI & Batch Your Work
  6. Schedule in weekly catch-up time

I found Corey’s advice especially useful, because I have a particularly hard time prioritizing what to work on and batching out various tasks.

I have a feeling she is a fan of Cal Newport’s Deep Work, though she didn’t explicitly cite it.

#5 on her list seems to be especially important for me.

HeyThereHome.com

Maya Elious – Being “Fearless” is a Myth: How To Use Fear To Level Up In Business

I loved Maya’s presentation – the message was both simple and powerful.

Sometimes you need to take on opportunities before you figure out how to actually get the job done.

At each stage in her growing career, Maya took on new problems before she actually knew how to solve them.

One example of this was getting hired to build a website before she even knew how to build a website.

Her point: you may be fearful of growth and the next stage in your business, but this fear is the exact thing that will help get you to the next level.

Fear is a feeling that should be sought out.

MayaElious.com

Casey Neistat – How to be Heard in a Noisy World

Casey needed no introduction to most of those in attendance.

He has a massive YouTube following and has arguably one of the most successful channels out there.

I need to go back and review his actual talk, but if there’s one thing I took away from it, it’s that we need to show up consistently if we’re ever going to create high-quality content.

Casey is prolific, to say the least.

But he also creates every one of his videos from a place of passion. And without this, it’s tough to get where you want to go as a creator.

Casey Neistat on YouTube

Nathan Barry – Why the future belongs to creators

Nathan Barry, Convertkit’s founder and CEO showed off some new features and announced that Convertkit is officially changing its name to Seva, which means “selfless service”.

You can learn more about the change here.

NathanBarry.com

Charli Prangley – From 0 – 100k in 5 Years

Another one of the highlight main stage talks in my opinion came from YouTuber, Charli Prangley.

Her advice was not only practical, but she delivered it in a humble and entertaining way.

My notes:

  • You don’t need to be a video pro
  • Set aside time every week to produce, edit, and upload (~3 hours)
  • Write a mission statement for your channel
  • It takes time to get people to care
  • Make a human connection
  • Serve your audience first
  • Stay true to you
  • It’s easy to get started, harder to keep going

Charli Prangley on YouTube

Mary Shenouda – Inspiration is Bullshit

I didn’t jot down too many notes from this talk because I was pretty focused on Mary Shenouda’s story.

The one thing I did write down during Mary’s talk though was very impactful for me:

“What an honor for your clients to get to work with you

PaleoChef.com

Bob Clagett – We can’t all be brain surgeons

This guy’s YouTube channel is awesome, to say the least. Inspiring to see what he’s built by staying true to his interests.

My notes:

  • Collaborate with other channels
  • We need both specialists and generalists
  • You have permission to be a Swiss army knife
  • Find your “why”

ILikeToMakeStuff.com

Cathryn Lavery – Building a Global Brand From Zero to Eight Figures in 24 Months

Another highlight main stage speaker for me was Cathryn Lavery.

She used her own company and others as a case study for how to build an unforgettable experience for your customers.

The examples were excellent, as she cited how major brands like Apple and Starbucks have capitalized on optimizing the customer experience to catapult themselves to the top of their respective industries.

The cherry on top was that Cathryn generously shared her slides with us after the conference.

Best Self was a sponsor of this year’s conference, and quite honestly, it felt nothing of the sort. They provided us with a ton of value not only with Cathryn’s great talk, but our own copies of the SELF Journal in our swag bags.

BestSelf.co

Chad Collins – Why Now is the Best Time to Create a Live Event

I had the chance to meet Chad Collins and his wife at breakfast over the weekend of the conference, and their story was amazing to say the least.

They organize massive live events for families with interests in things like LEGO and Minecraft.

The more he shared about the business, the quicker I realized what genius marketing is involved to pull it off. In fact, if I tried to reiterate here I’d probably butcher it, so I’m not gonna even try.

How to Get Lucky – Courtland Allen

Courtland closed out the conference with a great talk on how luck should not only be acknowledged for its arbitrary nature, but also accepted as something that we have the ability to control more than we may think.

I mean, I could be completely off the mark, but it seemed Courtland was not trying to completely downplay his accomplishments in selling IndieHackers.com to Stripe, as humble as he may be.

The talk was excellent, but for some reason I didn’t take any notes.

I do however, remember his story about emailing everybody he interviewed on his podcast, Indie Hackers, asking them to share the episode with their audience when it went live.

This alone was a huge piece of marketing advice delivered in an overall very entertaining presentation.

Indie Hackers Podcast

Workshops

Some of the workshops of the weekend were interactive, while others felt more like full-on talks. Still, I think I was able to get a lot out of each workshop I attended.

Claire Pellertreau & Tony Rulli – How To Have Your Facebook Ads Pay For Themselves: Creating an effective tripwire Facebook ad campaign (Workshop)

This was the first workshop I attended at Craft + Commerce 2018, and it was excellent.

I originally attended the workshop with the intention of learning more about how I can potentially expand my Search and Perch service offerings to Facebook ads, but I left with a great blueprint for a funnel I can create for Coffee Concierge.

The workshop walked us through coming up with several “tripwire” offers that we can start pitching to our ideal audience, with the intention of moving them down the funnel towards higher level products and services.

The workshop was especially helpful for me because it forced me to really think about who my ideal audience is, what their interests are, and what their #1 problem is that my eBook solves.

I came away from the workshop deciding I would sell my current eBook at a lower price as my tripwire offer, and then offer an accompanying video course down the line as a higher level offer.

We also came up some other potential “higher level” offers I could sell down the line.

Super-helpful workshop…thanks, Claire & Tony!

Mariah Coz and Megan Minns – Building a Framework and Launch Plan for Your Online Course

This was an extremely detailed presentation on how to launch an online course.

Mariah and Megan were incredibly generous with the actionable framework they provided.

They opened with a useful quote:

“Launching is a dialogue”

You can’t launch a course without communicating with your prospective customers, so keeping the dialogue open is critical to your launch’s success.

Start the conversation with your audience, and keep it going throughout.

At the end of the launch, you’ll want to use two genuine scarcity tactics to spring your prospects into action:

  1. Increase the price
  2. Close the cart

They call their launches 5DL, which stands for “five day launch”. Here’s what it looks like:

Five Day Launch

Email 1: What’s Your Why?

Ask your prospect what their why is. Why do they want to solve the problem that you offer the potential solution for?

In my case: why do my readers want to make better coffee at home?

Are they tired of wasting money at Starbucks? Do they want to cut back on their sugar intake and learn to drink their coffee black?

Ask at the end of the email what your prospects’ “why” is after sharing your own personal “why”.

Email 2: Why Now is the Best Time to Start

Explain to your prospect why now is the best time to address the problem they face.

What makes this the right time to learn to make better coffee at home?

Email 3: Milestones: How I got from A to B, One Step at a Time

Share your story of how you transformed from someone like your prospective buyer, into someone like yourself (the expert).

Email 4: Cart Open

Announce that your course is now for sale, and outline exactly what your course offers.

Email 5:  Why You Sucked at This and Failed Before

Describe a familiar situation that relates to the failure of solving the problem your course looks to solve.

In my case: the reason you were unable to stop adding sugar to your coffee before is because you were buying new coffee makers expecting them to automagically fix the problem.

The truth is, coffee makers are not the reason your coffee is tasting bad.

Email 6: A Case Study

Share a story of someone successfully solving their problem by using your course.

Email 7: Mistakes I See People Make, and How To Avoid Them

Share the common mistakes and misconceptions of your audience, and how to avoid them.

This seems like a more detailed version of email #5, but maybe somebody can chime in with the distinction by leaving a comment below.

Email 8: Last Chance for Early-Bird Pricing

This email simply serves as a final reminder to act now before the price goes up.

Email 9: Where Will You Be 6 Months from Now?

Describe the full transformation of your prospective customer.

“You’ll be drinking black coffee at home every single day, wondering how you could have ever spent so much coffee on Starbucks, and consumed so much unnecessary cream and sugar.”

Email 10: What’s Holding You Back?

Start the email with what held you, the course creator, back from making your transformation.

Then ask: what’s holding you back from getting started?

Email 11: Last Day FAQ

Compile and answer all of the frequently asked questions from your audience regarding this course.

This happens on the cart-close day.

Email 12: Final Reminder – Last Chance to Enroll

This is the last email you will send during the launch itself. It’s a final reminder that the cart will be closing at X:00 on Friday, the day the final reminder email is sent.

Recap

So again, this was an incredibly detailed presentation (albeit: not much of a workshop) on course launches.

Mariah and Megan not only gave us a complete template for a course launch, but they happily answered everyone’s questions as well.

There was also a lot of information on providing live videos as a component of the overall launch sequence. In other words, you are expected to go on Facebook live (or your platform of choice) to supplement the launch’s emails.

Ultimately, I had a ton of questions about the pre-launch (validation) and post-launch (what if they don’t buy), but I understand that these could easily be their own topics for other workshops.

Alexis Gay – How to Launch and Grow A Membership Business: The Key to Financial and Creative Independence

Alexis Gay from Patreon put together a very informative and engaging talk about the benefits of using a platform like Patreon for monetizing a creative business.

The workshop did not feel like a Patreon pitch, so I definitely appreciated the information, as well as Alexis’ approach.

There was plenty of back-and-forth discussion to get value out of the workshop. For example: Alexis asked us to brainstorm 3 goals for having a membership business.

Mine:

  1. Recurring, predictable income
  2. Motivation to keep creating
  3. Discovering who my “true” fans are

She also asked us to write down 3 benefits to having a membership business.

Mine:

  1. Exclusive content
  2. Exclusive giveaways
  3. Discount coupons for various products in my niche

Finally, she asked us to think about marketing avenues for our potential membership businesses.

Mine:

  1. Business cards
  2. Text messages (eek, that might be too aggressive)
  3. End screens of YouTube videos
  4. Social media bio links

A few other important notes about Patreon specifically:

  • Typically there is a 0.5-5% conversion rate among your entire audience size.
  • Patreon takes a 5% cut of your total sales
  • Patreon does not currently offer a discovery engine (for potential Patrons to discover you)

Jennifer Quinn – Beyond the ‘Talking Head’ Livestream: Broadcasting to Convert

This was another useful workshop, specifically on how to master the livestream.

Jennifer was not only engaging, but she also provided a useful handout on developing a loose script for live video streams.

The main exercise of the workshop had us write an intro, 3 main talking points, and outro for our live video. This was actually an incredibly helpful exercise in helping me realize that live video may actually be an effective tool for my business.

Also learned about a few useful tools for livestreams such as:

  • Belive.tv
  • Rev.com (transcription)
  • Timmy.com (transcription)

I left the workshop a whole lot more comfortable about livestream than I had felt beforehand.

Summary

So there you have it, my notes and takeaways from Craft + Commerce 2018. I hope this was helpful to you in some small (or large) way. If not, I apologize for wasting your time!

If you have some of your own notes from the conference to share, please leave a comment below.

Questions about the Craft + Commerce conference? Leave ’em below and I’ll do my best to answer.

13 Replies to “My Notes and Takeaways from Craft + Commerce 2018”

  1. I loved seeing what you took away from the workshops since you attended different ones than I did! Thanks for sharing your notes. I think Charli’s talk was one of my favourites from the main stage too.

    1. Thanks for reading, Angela! Loved connecting with you at the YouTube meetup. If you ever get some notes on the interwebs about the workshops you attended, I’d love to see ’em!

  2. WOW! Ben, this is so comprehensive and helpful! It’s amazing how much information was shared in just two short days. I took notes like a fiend and still missed some of the information you shared. Thank you so much for taking the time to compile these and posting for us! Also, thank you for attending my workshop! Please let me know if you have any questions as you implement what I shared. Always happy to help!

  3. Thanks for sharing this Benji! I did something similar and spent best part of a day organizing my thoughts. So. Many. Takeaways.

    The course launch workshop was super helpful and I’m putting many elements of it to use for my own course launch next month.

    Great to meet you and hopefully we’ll hang out again in Boise next summer!

    1. You inspired me to get those notes consolidated, so thank you! I also had meant to ask you for a few of the pics you took that I missed. Would love to compare notes at some point in the near future.

      Oh, and I got my ticket for next year, so we’ll for sure be seeing each other in Boise. Looking forward to it!

  4. Hey, Benji great meeting you on the weekend. Some of the other things discussed at the feedback meetup on Friday with Nathan included:

    – being able to edit the audience on broadcast resends (my request)
    – more and better reporting (which he rolled out on Sunday)
    – folders or a way to sort rules and tags
    – a bunch of other stuff that was really good but I forget now – Nathan and Barrett took notes and listened. That’s why I love this company.

    1. Great meeting you too, Darlene – and thanks for sharing those notes. They really are a great company…and as I said when I left, I hope they never go down the same path as LeadPages (yep, calling them out)!

  5. Instead of using Rev.com for transcription, you might be able to leverage Google Docs in Chrome using the “Voice Typing” feature.

    It was amazing when I used it the other week as a test. Far better than Siri at dictation.

    I haven’t tried it, but I imagine you could just play the livestream back and have it type it out. I’ve spent $1000’s on rev.com, and it’s good, but it gets expensive.

  6. Thanks for typing all of this information up. I enjoyed being able to read about all of the different speakers and what you learned throughout your time there. I’d love to get to this conference at some point!

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