Part mastermind, part vacation, and part WordPress business summit… this was an event unlike all others I’ve been to.
Disclosures: This is my personal CaboPress review, and I’m not an affiliate of CaboPress or being compensated in any way for this review. I do use affiliate links for some of the software plugins I mention.
Let’s dive into my experience, and why you might consider applying the next time Chris runs it.
The right mix of conference participants
My litmus test for a good conference or event is the people in attendance. If I feel like I’m surrounded by people who are going through similar things in their business as I am, then I know I’m going to learn a lot.
The reason CaboPress was such a great fit for me is that Chris Lema personally curates all of the attendees… so it’s a good mix of service providers and product creators.
Plus, with the combination of WordPress, SaaS, and agency businesses there was a ton of opportunity for cross-pollination to help everyone grow.
I felt like each person could contribute and get something in return, which is not always the case for larger events where you’ve got a wider range of business experience.
For me, there were a few familiar faces like Erin Flynn and Brennan Dunn, that I’d met at previous events and loved catching up with. I also got to meet the creators of Beaver Builder and Ninja Forms, which are WordPress tools I personally use and love.
Then there were the amazing folks behind Brainstorm Force (of Astra theme fame!), and the incredible Shannon from Purple Finch Studios who was familiar with AccessAlly but enjoyed getting a more in-depth look.
Sunshine, great food, and no conference rooms
The other thing that makes CaboPress stand out (and that has ruined me for other conferences!) is the location.
The resort is gorgeous, with stunning views and vistas. It’s right by the ocean, and since it’s not the most swimmable area… you’ve got your pick of amazing beachside pools to choose from.
Of course, Chris Lema doesn’t do anything halfway… and this is a 5-star resort with impeccable food and service.
I’m not kidding when I say that we probably ate 5 sit down meals per day (or at least my husband and daughter did!).
Not having to worry about making breakfast, lunch, or dinner was just another way of freeing us up to think about our businesses without the usual daily demands. (Plus, who can say no to fish tacos and pina coladas!?)
But there’s one more thing that sets CaboPress apart… and that’s the actual sessions themselves.
There wasn’t a stuffy conference room in sight: all of the training and mastermind sessions were done in the pool!
Pool side learning and what I’m taking home
I loved being out of my usual element and learning from other businesses in the WordPress ecosystem.
Taking a break from conferences run by companies like Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ActiveCampaign, Drip, and ConvertKit gave me a chance to see things in a different light.
Speaking with business owners who do the work of setting up membership sites for clients, creating courses themselves, and who understand the WordPress world… it was truly inspiring.
I also got to hang out with the guys at LifterLMS, Sandhills Development, and SkyVerge. Even though some of what these companies do overlaps with our own offerings, it was helpful to be in such an open and sharing environment where we could talk business.
Here are some of my biggest take-aways from the event:
- Allison Fallon shared the brain science behind what makes us more creative when writing and why efficiency and productivity aren’t the key when trying to produce creative work
- You may need to have a meeting about the meeting (when you have team meetings – this makes a lot of sense!)
- Facebook ads are constantly changing, but the basic text + image format still outperforms the new options, according to Justin Wise
- You have to kill your darlings and retire products, to make space for innovation and what’s next
- WordPress’ Gutenberg is not the end of the world, but we do need to make sure it continues to improve to meet the demands of the marketplace
- Plus lots of insights on hiring, being on the same page with your team, and anticipating what’s to come in the WordPress ecosystem
So there you have it…
That’s a quick summary of my experience at CaboPress 2018. I got to bring my husband and daughter, so for me it was part business and part vacation.
Luckily, the format of the event is very open ended after the morning sessions – if you want to take a nap in the afternoon or spend it with other attendees eating a 3rd meal or talking shop… it’s all good.
If you’re considering CaboPress, trust your gut and submit an application. Chris Lema takes care of his people, and the event felt very welcoming to me as a new attendee, even with half of the attendees being alumni.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be sipping strawberry daiquiris with you in Cabo next year!
P.S. Now that we’re a few days out of the conference, I can also add that this has been one of the few conferences where it’s been easy to follow up and keep connecting with people I met… because there were only 30-50 of them instead of hundreds or thousands!