In early July, I saw a post in one of my blogging Facebook groups about how they were going to have a mastermind retreat at Walt Disney World. I figured I would apply because why not. I had nothing to lose but I didn’t think I would get picked because why me? But I filled out the application to the PTHDisney Mastermind Retreat anyway and kind of forgot about it afterwards.
Imagine my surprise and shock when I received an email from Vera and Audrey a couple of weeks later inviting me to this retreat! I rubbed my eyes in disbelief thinking this email must be sent to me by mistake but there it was in black and white!
I spoke to my husband and we figured out a way so that I could go and made plans accordingly. I had to pay for the retreat fee and airline tickets but Walt Disney World would host our stay and give each attendee a 3 day park hopper ticket! This would be my first time visiting Walt Disney World! The end of August couldn’t come sooner!
Permission to Hustle
As an Asian woman, I have always been taught to follow rules and not be confrontational or aggressive. Growing up as a Christian only reaffirmed those things because I grew up in a conservative environment where women were to be submissive. Christians are to turn the other cheek, be humble and make sacrifices. There’s nothing wrong with those things but when you grow up that way, it’s hard to change your ways.
So when I decided to start a blog and make my blog a business, I brought those ideals into my business which resulted in me doing a lot of things for free and undervaluing my work and talents. (It feels odd to even say the word talents because I feel like I’m bragging and not being humble.)
Anyway, things worked out and I was able to go to the retreat and meet so many incredible women who HUSTLE every day. Who don’t need any one else’s permission to do it but to just work and share their talents to the fullest. Those three days in Orlando were exhausting, exhilarating, inspiring, and so FUN. I mean- we were at Walt Disney World. How could we not have fun?!
So, did I learn anything? Now that I’ve had some time to process the PTHDisney Mastermind Retreat, here are some of the things I learned.
No One is An Island
This whole social media world is really strange. Sometimes people are so competitive and catty. They see you doing something or working with a certain company or brand and they want to do it too. Which is fine but the way some people go about is sometimes not the best way. Nothing has ever really happened to me personally but I have many blogger friends who have had things happen to them. I try to just keep to myself and lay low because I am not a fan of drama.
But going to the PHTDisney Mastermind Retreat- I was reminded that no one is an island. No one can do this alone. You need to find a tribe of blogger friends who “get it”, who you can trust, and who have your back. The tribe doesn’t need to be big but you need to find people who truly celebrate your wins, who don’t have FOMO because you got invited to something that they didn’t, and who will help you and give you ideas without trying to steal your ideas from you.
You Don’t Need to Agree With How Someone Runs Their Business
Everyone runs their business the way they see fit. You don’t need to really agree with how they do it because honestly, it’s none of your business what they do unless they ask for your opinion. Obviously, don’t be unethical and shady because I truly believe you reap what you sow and if you’re being fake, it’ll come back to bite you.
During the mastermind portion of our retreat, people shared different things they’ve done to grow their business. Some strategies might work for you, some might not. Ultimately, you have to do what works for you and your audience.
The word “authentic” gets tossed around like salad at Souplantation but it IS really important to be real. Does it mean you share everything with your audience? NO. It just means that if you feel like you’re being inauthentic and disingenuous, then they can probably see it too. Be true to who you are and what your brand stands for.
Know Your Brand Identity
Branding in blogging or in this influencer space is another word that’s always thrown around but sometimes hard to define because people get confused as to what it is. The simplest way I can describe it is what are the things that represent your business. For example- the women who were at the PTHDisney Mastermind Retreat all love Disney and post or write about it. That’s part of their brand- their love for Disney. Some are also food bloggers or travel bloggers. I’m not either of those. So for me- if I were to post about food, it wouldn’t make sense because that’s not part of my brand identity. There’s so much more that can be said about this but to keep it short- know what you want your business to stand for and those are the things you will write about/talk about to your audience.
Get To Know Your Audience
Knowing your audience is key because they are the ones who are listening to your stories, commenting on your posts, liking your posts and engaging with you. So get to know them. Even if you have one person or 100 people listening to you- that’s your audience. My friend LaShawn talked about how we as bloggers should be figuring out how we can serve them and find out why they are following you. What do they want from you? Tips? Fashion advice? To be entertained? If you don’t know why they’re following you, ask them! Because anyone can buy fake engagement or have blogger friends swipe up and like posts but honestly, what’s the point of that? (I’m all for supporting my friends but we should also have an audience that we are serving.)
Cut Yourself Some Slack
I’ll be the first to admit that I am WAY too hard on myself. I need to learn to cut myself some slack. I do that for other people but I am always so hard on myself. We are all trying to do the best we can as we balance our side hustle with family and real life. If you have deadlines on projects or campaigns, obviously those need to get done. But other things that are not as urgent- give yourself a break. Be kind to yourself.
What do you get when you put a bunch of women together in a room? Often times DRAMA– but not during the PTHDisney Mastermind Retreat. I knew 5 of the women that were there from previous conferences or from interacting online. But throughout our whole Orlando trip, everyone was professional. No one started drama. People worked and hustled. They got up early and were on time for our scheduled meet ups. No one was a diva or acted like an entitled influencer. People helped take pictures for each other. They were supportive. If only all conferences and press trips were like that!
You’re Probably a Badass But Don’t Know It
At the end of our mastermind, we were all crying because we realized how hard this business is. Often times you feel alone because your in real life friends think your nuts for wanting to take the same picture of those Mickey Mouse Ears in front of the castle. But we also realized how everyone is amazing, hard working, talented, creative, and a badass. But sometimes we need to be told that by others who see us as we are and not what we think. We also realized we need more moments like these where we get to do what we love with other people who love what they do too!
Each person I met at the PTHDisney Mastermind Retreat had a wealth of knowledge and were experts at something or many things. I only wish we had more down time to learn more from each other.
There are so many more things I’m processing and mulling over but these were some of the things that stood out the most to me. I know that the lessons I learned and the friendships I formed will last a long time. A huge THANK YOU to the Walt Disney World PR team as well as Vera and Audrey (Permission to Hustle.) I remember reading about them and seeing their names float around in the blogosphere because they’re two OG mommy bloggers before mommy blogging became a thing. It was such an honor to be a part of this mastermind and I am so grateful for the opportunity.
I’ll be sharing more about all the things we were able to experience while we were at Walt Disney World. In the mean time, be sure to check out my post about Walt Disney World in the Fall and about Disneybounding at Galaxys Edge. There’s more to come!
Have you ever participated in a mastermind retreat? Do you have a core group of friends to bounce ideas off of? Remember friends- you don’t need anyone else’s Permission to Hustle other than your own.