So you’re headed to PartnerCon this year and it’s coming up fast (seriously, I thought it was still September yesterday) – how can you prepare?

I know this time of year is crazy busy for a lot of us.  It’s either wedding high season or we’re buried in the mountain of post-processing from high season just ending.  For portrait peeps out there, Christmas is just around the corner – yikes.

Take a deep breath and five minutes for a coffee break.  Go pet your cat.  Watch the October rain outside.  And then remember to prepare for PartnerCon.

PartnerCon is meant to be a big influence in the life of your business, and if you let it, it can even be a game changer.  Here’s what Jeff and I do to prepare for another year of PartnerCon goodness.

Before You Leave:

1) Create a short list of specific goals. What do you most want to learn?  Where does your business need to grow?  What kind of relationships would you like to build?  Create a small list of two or three specific goals for the conference, and then keep them nearby in a notebook to remind you of them.  Attend the seminars and shoots that most closely relate to your goals.  Ask questions of those you meet.  This kind of specificity will help you manage your time and efforts.  Also, these kinds of lists will also determine if PartnerCon was a good investment for you at all.

2) Get in touch with friends beforehand.  Do you have friends you’re excited to see?  Get in touch for carpools, roommates, and even dinners before you leave.  Schedules get crazy, so it’s always nice to touch base with those you most want to see and spend some extra time with.

While You’re There:

1) Be Authentic. Be-ee Authentic. Leave your ego at the door.  Seriously.  Be open and honest with where you’re at in your business – your successes, your struggles, your fears.  We’re all in this together, and we’ll all grow together too.  I can’t say it enough – you’re not alone!

2) Strike up conversation with those around you – at lunch, during seminars, in the hallway.  We’ve created some of our closest friendships in LIFE, not just in the industry, this very way.  Go out to dinner, head to a jazz club, grab some beignets at Café Dumonde (we totally will) so don’t be afraid to stay out a little late and create some new friendships.  This tip is coming from an introvert by the way…

3) Remember to give. PartnerCon is a time to learn, grow, and receive valuable information, but it’s a big community that needs some give as well as take.  Be just as willing to give information to others, as you are to receive.

I hope these suggestions are helpful to everybody!  And seriously, if you ever see Jeff or me in the hallways, don’t hesitate to say hi!  I’ll be the one in the corner trying to get up the nerve to talk to people…


Written by Erin Youngren

Jeff and Erin Youngren are international wedding and lifestyle photographers running one of the fastest growing boutique studios in the competitive Southern California market. Although based in San Diego, their deeply emotional style and passionate partnership has taken them from the streets of San Francisco to the canals of Venice to the family suburbs of Chicago to photograph extraordinary weddings and incredible couples. As leaders in the photographic community, they are passionate about helping other photographers build viable, authentic businesses, while building a photography community built on integrity and honest leadership.

On another note, Jeff & Erin will be leading a shoot at PartnerCon 2010 all about connecting with your clients. To learn more about their shoot and add them to your personalized PartnerCon schedule click here.


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