Want to win a free ticket to an amazing conference this June 23-35? Read to the end—details on how to win a ticket to the conference are below. Make sure you enter before June 5, 2017.

It was 2011, and I was living in San Francisco.

I worked my day job as a landscape architect working long hours at a big firm in Sausalito, and had night jobs as a high school tutor and weekend swim coach. I spent time writing my blog in the wee mornings.

I’d heard of a book and blog about living an unconventional life by a blogger who was pretty famous. Chris Guillebea talked about how much more there was to the design of our lives, and how we could make things happen in completely different ways than the world was telling us.

Minimalism, travel hacking, freedom. I was hooked.

I signed up with some big dollars to go to the conference — $499 was no joke on the salary I was pulling in. Friends from the internet and friends in real-life piled into a car. (Did I drive or fly?).

On a whim, I decided to put my own blog together more seriously. All those doubts that plague you? I had them: who was I to write? What did I have to say? But I stayed up late hacking together a WordPress site with zero knowledge for how to do it (Google to the rescue!), transferred all my best blog posts to the site, and printed out some personal business cards. Made my way to Portland for my first big conference.

I showed up to the conference knowing exactly no one.

But I showed up.

I stood outside by myself, willing. Open. Waiting. Nervous as all get out.

And then a two-year-old ran up to me and threw her arms up and I laughed and threw my arms out. Suddenly Adam Baker, Courtney Baker, and Laura Roeder and I were giggling and running around on the grass in a big line of people waiting for the conference to begin.

I relaxed, dropped my shoulders back, and started saying hi to new faces. I met Pam Slim, Scott Dinsmore, Leo Babauta, and Danielle LaPorte for the first time. I didn’t even know to be intimidated because it was all so new to me.

By the end of the conference, I’d had a macaroni and cheese date, driven around in a Volvo with too many other people, stayed out late making mischief in Portland, done yoga in the park with new friends, enjoyed hammock time, listened with wonder at people’s stories, and met people I’ve been in touch with ever since.

And I wrote up recaps for each day of the conference with those same wide eyes. (Here are the Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 recaps!)

That conference was the weekend my blog became a reality.

And my work took a new turn.

More than any course, metric, skill, or tactic, the people you surround yourself will make the biggest difference in your life and career.

Conferences can be transformative experiences. When you bring people together in one place, for one weekend, to celebrate, to learn, and to connect, you leave changed.

That weekend I met people who have since kept me accountable, people I text when I’m figuring out the next step in my business, and people I learn from on a weekly basis. These wonderful people are constantly introducing me to new ideas and perspectives, challenging me, and helping me grow.

Your network, your tribe, your connections are the lifeblood of your business.

Beyond just the speakers on stage, here’s what conferences provide:

  • Workshops and real-time opportunities to move through ideas.
  • A chance to unlock or break through a past mindset.
  • An opportunity to try out your new ideas, bio, pitch, or story. (What better way to get better than talk it out a dozen times?)
  • The chance to meet new people who can become business friends (and friends in real life!) for a long, long time to come.

The people you surround yourself with matter.

Next month, I’m heading out to Boise, Idaho for 4 days to join the crew putting on the Craft + Commerce conference with the team at ConvertKit.

I’ll be on stage on the last day, Sunday, giving a talk about my experiences in motherhood and entrepreneurship, and how becoming a parent taught me to level up (yet again) in my business life.

After six years since that day I decided to step in and join the fun, I’ll be back, on stage, telling my own story:

Beyond the adrenaline rush: How becoming a parent taught me to level up (yet again) in business

(And let’s be honest — I go right before Seth Godin. I’m definitely a little bit nervous about that, I won’t lie.)

If you want to join me for an unforgettable weekend, I’ll be in Boise to meet new friends and hang with old friends. I’ll likely teach a workshop or host a group yoga class, as well. A few attendees and I are looking to put something on the calendar so we can go to a yoga class together!

It’s been a while since I’ve been out traveling the conference circuit (becoming a mom was enough of a challenge for a while), and I’m excited to get back and say hi and meet lots of new faces.

And I have a special place in my heart for people who put conferences together. Conferences are really hard to execute, they require a huge investment of energy and capital, and they are, first and foremost, always about the attendees.

Grab your ticket to the conference here: https://convertkit.com/conference

See you in Boise in June!

PS: As a speaker at the conference, I get one free ticket to give as a scholarship / giveaway. Leave a comment over on this Facebook Post by midnight on Monday, June 5th with your answer to the following question:

What do you need to start sooner?