Keynote Talk at Haven Conference — OLD BRAND NEW - David Watkins Designs
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Keynote Talk at Haven Conference — OLD BRAND NEW

Keynote Talk at Haven Conference — OLD BRAND NEW

Recently, I held my first keynote talk at Haven Conference in Atlanta. I went into it with a very clear, calm and collected attitude. I’ve been preparing for weeks. The old me would’ve needed a shot to ease the nerves because public speaking was terrifying. I’ve shared how I grew up very shy and introverted. But in the past five years, I’ve learned to lean into my extroverted Aries side by practicing public speaking, going to conferences and trade shows, speaking on panels, doing commercials, listening to podcasts on how to be a better storyteller, interviewing with producers, doing TV chem-tests, and talking to a therapist. I can proudly say that at this keynote, I’ve never felt more relaxed on stage in front of hundreds of people. I had forgotten that I was even on stage. It felt like I was truly speaking with each and every single person, intimately, one on one. I’ve finally blossomed into the confident, extroverted person I’ve always wanted to be. A big thank you to the whole team at Haven for making it so easy and fun! Ashley Wilson for being so sweet during our conversations. Love that we showed up matching unintentionally! And Mollie Suratt for giving me this opportunity. It was very special for me to be able to share my creative journey. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, I recommend checking out Haven next year. It’s a wonderful community of creatives who you can vibe and connect with. Plus, there are informative workshops you can learn from and big brands sponsors like Home Depot and Amerock who you can explore possible partnerships with.

Below are some takeaways from my talk.

  1. Ask yourself why and what you want out of this creative path. Be intentional. What’s your goal. What are you chasing after. Work on a plan. 

  2. Know your worth. DIY and design influencers are badass. There is always wiggle room when it comes to negotiating contracts. Ask for more and protect your career trajectory. 

  3. Branding is crucial. Develop your your voice, style, and signature color palette. 

  4. Don’t fall in the p-trap: don’t be precious or a perfectionist with your work. Promote and share your process.

  5. Build lasting relationships with brands and parlay content creation into product design. Initiate it.

  6. Network and flirt your way to landing partnerships. Sprinkle and plant those seeds. Something will eventually grow and blossom.

  7. Invest in education. Take an intro course at a community college or online seminars. Shadow a photographer. Be an assistant. Intern. 

  8. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify your income. Start a blog if you haven’t done so. 

  9. Find your creative partner in crime, your work boo, your bff bestie. Ask for help. Celebrate your wins together. 

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