My business Aura turned 10 in November and I went to New York to learn and celebrate

Running my own business for 10 years hasn’t always been easy. No-one said it would be. If you want to find out what I learned in this time, head over to my Aura blog. It’s an outline of mistakes I’ve made, learning things the hard way and how I’ve used them as opportunities.

Instead of throwing a lavish party, I decided to celebrate by heading to New York, to the Girlboss Rally. Thousands of women attended across two days, led by the powerhouse that is the true ‘girl boss’, Sophia Amoruso. She has a fantastic story and if you’ve not ready the book #Girlboss, I suggest you buy a copy. You can also read my blog about it here.

I had a wobbly start, as my flight out was cancelled, moved to the next day, cancelled again and eventually, I booked new flights out via Iceland. In addition, my travelling companion got a virus and wasn’t allowed to fly, so I went solo!

So, flying solo (literally), to New York and what I got up to.

Day 1:

Arrived at 11.30pm US time and went to bed after a crazy day of travelling and hours of delays

Day 2:

Up at 5am, got ready and headed for Breakfast to the Starbucks under the Empire State Building. I got some amazing sunrise pics!

Girlboss Rally, day 1 – I met some super people. Hugely interesting stories and work, plus I got to hear from some amazing speakers and panels. The vibe was electric, everyone was excited and there was a lot of passion for learning and networking.

I found the pitch workshop excellent – not for learning to pitch for investment, but I’ve come up with some ideas for how I can help start-ups pitch. It’s all about relationship building and there’s a lot to be said for personal brand, before the product or service is pushed.

I hung out with someone I met in the queue at the start of the day, Hana. She’s a graphic designer from Boston and we got on like a house on fire. I also met two marketing execs from Xbox who have been to Dundee before! It was ace to hear they’d been to Scotland and people I might meet in the future.

I got a lot from the day but the biggest thing was reinforcing that you need to believe in yourself and surround yourself with great people. People who are better than you in some areas, to complement your work and to keep you thinking differently.

That evening, I went back to the hotel, got changed and went to Bryant Park (a five minute walk from my hotel). I love it there when the Christmas market is on! I had a nice dinner, went to my favourite little bar for mulled apple cider and of course, I met some people and chatted for a while.

I was in bed for 9.30pm!

Day 3:

Photoshoot at Dumbo in Brooklyn

As part of my planning for New York, I looked for a photographer who could do a quick shoot with me. I found one who was from London but lived in New York. I organised a shoot with her in Brooklyn, so I could get great content for my social feeds but also so I could remember my celebration trip.

Lauren and I got on so well, even from the first initial emails, to our Skype in preparation and she naturally made me feel at ease. I wrote her a really detailed brief and she did an amazing job!

I was supposed to go back to the Rally after, but we spent so long doing pics and chatting that it was lunch before we finished! I decided to head back to Manhattan and chill, so I headed to Tavern on the Green in Central Park. I love it there. Such a perfect location and the food and cocktails are ace! I sat at the bar and got my notebook out and started to map out all the things I wanted to action when I got home. Naturally, I met some people when I was there and chatted away before my burger arrived, with a side of pickled vegetables. YUM!

I then headed to a high point in the park so I could get some shots of the famous bridge, the pond and the two towers in the background – the ones from Ghostbusters!

That night, I headed down to Terra in Tribeca. A place I found in 2016 when I was there, almost the same time of year. I sat at the window bar and had two small plates and a glass of red. It was so good. It was also nice to be somewhere familiar as I was on my own.

Day 4:

Final day. I had a meeting in the Financial District, at the New York Stock Exchange. Just like every other morning, I got up at 5.15am, showered, ready to go. I checked out, left my bags at the hotel for later, then got an Uber down to the south of the island. It was so quiet and peaceful and I got some pics of ‘the bull’, before the tourist queues built up!

I headed for breakfast in a local bakery and then went down to see the mist surround the Statue of Liberty.

Had my meeting, then headed back up into mid-town. I decided to visit Macy’s and grab some coffee when I was there. The sale was on but to be honest, there’s no point in shopping in NYC. The pound isn’t strong, the sales aren’t that good, you can buy everything online and I wasn’t for adding weight to my suitcase!

I then had the best steak tartare I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant close to my hotel. I was truly the best ever. Accompanied by a glass of red, obvs!

Then it was time to head home, via a traffic jam on the motorway, heading to the airport… Thankfully might flight back was only slightly delayed.

Here are some of my highlight pictures…

Thanks for reading my blog. I’ll be talking more about my learning and how I’ll be using it in my business over on the Aura blog. If you enjoyed this, please feel free to leave me a comment, ask any questions, and share away! 

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