My Experience: QuickBooks Connect 2017, San Jose, CA

My journey with QuickBooks Self-Employed started when I first began using the program for my business in the fall of 2016. When my accountant complimented me on how organized my business finances were during the 2017 tax season, I immediately counted it as a point of pride that I was able to organize my finances easily with the assistance of an online app that I loved.

PIN this for later!

PIN this for later!

That’s when I had the idea to do some sort of simple online course for creative that would revolve around the subject of small-business finances! Well, in a funny turn of events, that course hasn’t actually happened yet. But, one funny thing did happen! I ended up creating a relationship with some of the employees on the QuickBooks Self-Employed team because I had to get in contact with them to ask for a “sandbox” version of the program to use for my course.

They helped me set up a second QuickBooks Self-Employed account I could use for my online course… which I sadly haven’t done anything with yet (oops, so sorry)! However, in August they emailed me again asking if I would want to attend the QuickBooks Connect Conference that would be happening in San Jose, CA in mid-November. I mean, it was a pretty easy decision to make if I say so myself. My answer was a huge YES, and they started planning on how they would get me out there to attend.

Full disclaimer: My travel expenses, conference ticket expenses, room expenses, and food were all covered by QuickBooks Self-Employed! That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. And even if they hadn’t have done that, I would still be writing this because that’s how much I love the QuickBooks Self-Employed program and the hard-working people behind it.

When I was first invited to the conference, I truly had no idea what to expect! I have never been to any sort of conference or retreat before, much less one that would have thousands of people! As a small-business owner (and one who works from home, for that matter) I’m not familiar with events that are packed with people. And, to make matters even more interesting, I’m an introvert, which meant that two full days of intense people-time and networking was going to take some mental preparation for me. Luckily, I had plenty of time to wrap my mind around it, and plenty of quiet plane time before the big event!

I flew out of Atlanta on Wednesday, Nov. 15th and arrived at the San Jose airport in the evening around 9:00pm. After getting picked up from the airport by my Dad (funny story, he was there for business too for completely different reasons, so we had both planned to go without originally knowing the other would be there) I got settled in at the hotel room and promptly fell asleep! My alarm was set for 6:00am the following morning since I wanted to curl my hair, do my makeup, and all that good stuff ;) Thankfully my wonderful husband helped me pick out some business-casual outfits when I had packed for the trip. After working from home for more than a year I had practically forgotten how to dress in business casual attire, and irony not lost upon me since I feel like owning my own business has required me to be more professional than ever before.

Julie Rice, Co-Founder of SoulCycle, had some great insights that I loved! Photo posted on my Instagram story Nov. 16, 2017.

Julie Rice, Co-Founder of SoulCycle, had some great insights that I loved! Photo posted on my Instagram story Nov. 16, 2017.

The following morning I was up and out of the door bright and early to head to breakfast. The food they had at the conference was great the entire time and I was definitely impressed! I was also finally able to meet with the wonderful ladies that had coordinated everything with me (thanks so much Alaina and Sarah-Maeve) and we talked over breakfast about what the rest of the day would look like. At 9am we headed into the Main Day Kickoff event that would feature a couple of key speakers! My favorite that morning was Julie Rice, the co-founder of SoulCycle. At one point she said, “There are no mistakes that you can’t recover from,” and it was a huge AH-HA moment for me, especially because (as small business owners) I think most of us are absolutely terrified of making mistakes!

Sasan Goodarzi, the Executive Vice President of Intuit, also talked about how they are introducing AI to the QuickBooks Self-Employed app. Y’all, I can’t even tell you how cool this is! Now, if you use QuickBooks Self-Employed, you can ask the app questions like you would ask Siri or Alexa, and the AI will answer you and respond to you; you can ask if questions like, “How much money did I make in October 2017,” and it will give you an answer. Seriously, SO COOL. If you want to try QuickBooks Self-Employed and get 50% off for your first six months, click here. I use it and I love it!

Speaking on the QuickBook Self-Employed panel was so much fun! Photo was taken Nov. 16, 2017 and posted to my Instagram stories.

Speaking on the QuickBook Self-Employed panel was so much fun! Photo was taken Nov. 16, 2017 and posted to my Instagram stories.

After the key speakers wrapped up, I got asked by Alaina if I would be willing to speak on a panel called “Top 5 Survival Tips for the Self-Employed” because one of the speakers had an emergency that morning and couldn’t make it. My answer was HECK YES! The coolest part about this was that it was one of my goals for 2017 to speak at some sort of conference, which means that getting asked to do this last minute helped me achieve one of my goals – I’m still smiling about it! I thought the panel went extremely well and, if you have any desire to watch it, they recorded it and you can see it on their Facebook page HERE.

Anyway, the rest of the day was absolutely amazing. It’s hard to put into words how much I enjoyed my time at the conference. I got to take a picture with Tyra Banks, I went to a session called “How to Curate a Great Online Reputation”, I ate more amazing food, and at the closing session that evening I got to hear a couple keynote speakers, including Nate Berkus, speak… he is possibly one of the most down-to-earth people considering how successful he is. And then, as if everything else wasn’t amazing enough, they throw a big party called Connectfest! My Dad and I headed over there together to (once again) eat more food, make our own candles (I’m super proud of mine), watch people dance like crazy, and just relax and enjoy ourselves. I think my Dad and I spent most of our time there asking when they would be serving dessert.  

Nate Berkus, probably my favorite speaker of the whole conference! Photo posted to my Instagram Stories on Nov. 16, 2017.

Nate Berkus, probably my favorite speaker of the whole conference! Photo posted to my Instagram Stories on Nov. 16, 2017.

The next morning was a little more low-key and quiet, though I did get to attend one more session about Instagram! Which reminds me, if you did follow me on Instagram you probably had the opportunity to see all of the Instagram Stories that I was posting during a lot of the sessions. If you don’t follow me, I've posted a couple of photos throughout the blog with some of my favorite quotes! I also got interviewed for a new podcast that QuickBooks will be launching, so I’ll definitely update this blog post when that goes live.

There’s definitely not a neat and perfect way to wrap up the end of this post; it’s so hard to put and end to a story that was so great and an adventure that was so much fun. Mainly, I just want to thank the QuickBooks Self-Employed team that made all of this possible. Alaina & Sarah-Maeve were so much fun to work with and I’m sure I’ll be talking to them again in the future! I know they have a couple things up their sleeves for self-employed entrepreneurs and I can’t wait to see all of them come to life.

Seriously, if you are a self-employed like me and you need an easy way to track & manage your finances, QuickBooks Self-Employed is the way to go! I can’t say that enough. To try out the program and to receive 50% off your first six months, use the button below. If you have any questions about the program, please leave a comment or submit a question via my contact page. Thanks for reading!

Tired after the end of a long day at QuickBooks Connect 2017 in San Jose, CA. Photo posted to my Instagram stories on Nov. 16, 2017.

Tired after the end of a long day at QuickBooks Connect 2017 in San Jose, CA. Photo posted to my Instagram stories on Nov. 16, 2017.