A business conference in Cabo? Sure…

This was the response I received from many of the people that I told about my recent trip to Mexico for a conference. While humorous, my experience was much more than margaritas on the beach. I had the awesome privilege to spend five days in Cabo San Lucas at Chris Lema’s CaboPress. Chris has put together the top minds in several different verticals and disciplines inside of WordPress and created a truly unique and insanely helpful experience in the WordPress community. Having launched one Software as a Service (Saas) product in 2016 and preparing to launch my second in early 2017, I was ready to start attending conferences that would help me grow as a business owner and not just as a developer or WordPress community member, which has been my focus in the past. CaboPress was a truly transformative experience for me in regards to my business. Here are a few of the reasons why:

The host

Chris Lema, in case you didn’t know, is a fantastic leader, conference organizer and all around good guy. I read Chris’s blog long before I ever met him. My first real interaction with him was to say hello awkwardly at WCATX in 2014. Just a year later I would be interviewing with him to join the team at Crowd Favorite as I came to trust his skills as a leader and was excited to work with and under him as a developer to grow my talents. While neither of us is at Crowd Favorite anymore, working for Chris elevated my respect for him and the knowledge that he can bring to growing companies. So when he put out the call for CaboPress and then accepted my application, I was floored. Having now spent five days with Chris at his favorite resort and getting to speak to him one on one about life and business, I can say that I can think of no greater person than Chris that I would want to head up such an amazing conference. I only travel 3-4 times per year for business and anything from Chris in the future is on my list.

The sessions

The sessions were overseen by “hosts” whom Chris had brought on to lead conversation in a general direction. While anything was up for discussion, there was a specific topic for each hour and a half discussion. Ranging from hiring to branding, the discussions were a place to ask scary questions, hear from industry experts, and offer advice on things you had been through that were pertinent to other’s lives and businesses. Each discussion was needed by at least a few people in the group and most of the time they were fairly even in attendance as the topics were desirable and helpful to most everyone in some way. Each session left me with actionable intel on what to do in certain areas of business. On top of that, how easy is it to talk about business while hanging out in a pool?

The people

Wow. To say that Chis lined up an extraordinary group of business owners would be a massive understatement. People came from all over the United States and the world to grow and learn. There were agency owners, freelancers, product makers, podcasters, and bloggers. Each person was there to learn, but also to share. Rarely do you meet a group of people that pay that kind of money to grow and invest their business who are so willing to listen as much as share and truly care about helping the person sitting across from them reach the next level without ulterior motives. I was paired with two amazing couples for lunch the entire week and cannot say enough how encouraging and smart they were. To have face time with such awesome people and to listen, talk, encourage, and share with them was an experience I would have paid 3-4 times what I did. Thanks to the Danner’s and Levesque’s for being so welcoming, encouraging and real. Thanks to all the other folks that took time to sit down, learn my name, and just talk about life, business, and struggles.

The Resort

The Fiesta Americana resort is one of only two five star resorts in Cabo San Lucas. The rooms were spacious, well decorated and the beds were comfortable, even for a big guy like me. Having spent a lot of time in Latin America growing up, I didn’t feel like I was anywhere but the highest quality resort. The staff at the resort were some of the best staff I’ve ever encountered. Whether they were desk concierge or hedge trimmers, the attention to detail, friendliness and passion for their work spoke volumes about why the Fiesta Americana is awarded so highly. The restaurants were amazing and there were plenty of places to choose from everyday. The food was a healthy assortment of flavors and palettes from throughout the globe and I didn’t have anything that I didn’t enjoy. Part of the experience is that everything is included. So food and alcohol were available to you any time day or night and came with a friendly “can I get you anything else?” from the staff. My wife and I are considering vacationing at Fiesta Americana ourselves in the future based on my stay at CaboPress.

Chris, I want to say thank you for this incredible opportunity. CaboPress 2016 changed my business in so many ways before I even got back. It changed my thinking, my priorities and my community. I built new friendships, revitalized old ones, and came back with a renewed vision on what my business could be. If you’re looking for a way to change your business for the better, CaboPress is a great investment and definitely a must have. Here’s to seeing you there in 2017!