3 Things that Almost Stopped the Yellow Conference from Happening


I came up with the idea for Yellow Conference while in the shower. I’ll never forget it. It was December 2013, and after getting caught up in a competitive, catty, self-centered culture I was left in a not so great place emotionally and creatively.

I knew I needed to get out of my funk. I knew I needed to surround myself with positive women who were using their creativity, businesses and skills to make a difference in the world. Women who were actively caring about things bigger than themselves.

A place where we could hear from women who were using their businesses for good, hear their stories, why they do what they do and how they got to where they are today.

Where we could be surrounded by like-minded women, connect and collaborate to spread good throughout the world, and through that, come alive and bloom.

I needed a place like that, so I decided to create it.

Yet, as we all know, ideas are a dime a dozen, and if we really want to bring change to the world, we need to learn how to execute. It’s scary, and it takes VALOR.

Execution is the hardest part, especially when you’re starting with nothing, Which is why I’m here to tell you about the things that happened that almost made the conference never exist in real life. I tell you these things so you can know that you’re not alone, and learn how to press on, be brave and continue to move forward when the same things happen to you.


When you’re a freelance graphic designer who spends her days rarely leaving the house, working from home in her yoga pants, and having very few bits of human interaction throughout the day, and then you tell your friends that you are going to put on a conference, you get some strange looks.

“I saw you post this thing online, you’re starting a conference?? Why? How are you going to do that? Where are you going to get the money? How are you going to get people to come?” There were a lot of questions asked, and honestly I didn’t have the answer to most of them, which made the questions even more intimidating.

Ladies, people aren’t always going to get it. They’re going to question you, they’re going to ask you things that you have no idea how to answer, they’re going to doubt that you’re the right person for the job. Guess what- THAT’S OK.

If you believe in what you’re doing enough, you’ll learn to let the words slide and continue on with your mission. For me, the questioning fueled me. I felt like I had something to prove- I wanted to show my friends that I COULD do this.

I knew deep within myself I was capable, I just needed to show the world.


About 2 months into planning the conference, I started to lose steam.

At the beginning of planning I was super excited, rolling through my to-do list, making decisions and progress left and right. Then, things started to get a bit boring. I lost that initial inspiration and wondered if I should even continue this idea.

I thought to myself- “eh, maybe this isn’t really something I want to create, why was I doing this in the first place?”… I stopped making decisions (decisions = progress) and started to really slow down.

Honestly, I got lazy. Things weren’t rainbows and butterflies anymore, so I got kinda bored with it. The beginning is always fun, right? There’s so much potential. You can dream, you can choose fun colors and put together something you’ve always wanted to make. Then things get hard. Not really fun anymore, and you wonder if you should keep going.

THIS is the place ladies, where you lean into that tension you feel, admit that it’s real, breathe in the boredom and KEEP GOING DESPITE HOW YOU FEEL. If you can make it past this point, you’ve won half the battle.

The only reason I kept going and picked up steam again was because a person I had asked to speak had Tweeted about the conference with a link to the website (which was not perfect and not done and I was horrified people saw it like that) and I started to get emails from people asking what this was and if they could be apart of it.

This kicked me into gear. I finished the website and started putting the word (timidly) out. I was terrified at the world seeing my idea, but at the same time, it fueled me to keep going.

What do you need to put in place to make yourself stay fueled? Do you need to schedule a Tweet to go out a month from now so people will see your website whether you like it or not? Do you need to ask a friend with a large following to post about it in one week to kick yourself into gear?

Figure out what motivates you, and put it into place so you can trick yourself into staying motivated.

Laziness is a real thing ladies and if we don’t learn how to trick our brains, we’ll let it get the best of us.


Ladies, this is still a hard one for me. That first year of Yellow, I at first tried to do everything myself. I thought it would be easier that way. I thought since I didn’t have money or a large brand name behind me, no one would want to help me out. Boy was I wrong.

I learned through trial and error that friends really want to help, the hard part is just asking and accepting the idea that you aren’t capable of doing it all.

If you don’t have money to pay someone, what skills do you have that you can offer to trade for? I still to this day do a ton of graphic design work in trade for other’s skills or services. It helps me and it helps them, it’s a win win!

I can’t even tell you (and this is something I’m continuing to learn) how much better the conference was (and is) because I invited other people into the story, into the vision I had, and allowed them to be apart of it.

It’s so easy to get stuck in your own mind, thinking you can do it all, and do it all the best. But I’m here to tell you today that that is simply NOT TRUE.

Just because you thought of the idea does not mean you’re the best person to execute every part of it. Stick to what you’re good at and let others help you out with what you’re not so good at. Your product will be better off because of it.


The truth is, there are a lot of things that will get in your way, but the hardest roadblocks to get over are the ones in your own mind.

If you know deep down that you are more than what you do, that you are not your ideas, and you learn to find your identity in something BIGGER, you can’t fail, you can only learn and grow in character. That’s what it’s all about ladies. Being brave enough to know that you have the freedom to play, to experiment and to fail. It’s all about the process ladies. Stop overthinking it, put your head down and cross those to-do’s off of that list. You got this. I promise.

Also, tickets are still available for this year’s THIRD ANNUAL (I can’t believe it’s been 3 years now!) Yellow Conference happening next month in LA.

If you’d like to join us and see what this is all about, take 15% off your ticket by using the code: SUMMERSALE at checkout.

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I’d love to see you there! For more info on the conference, head here.

Happy Tuesday ladies. Enjoy it and embrace it. You never know what tomorrow will bring.


Joanna Waterfall

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Joanna Waterfall

Founder at Yellow Co.

Joanna is the founder of the Yellow Conference, a gathering for creative, entrepreneurial minded women to be equipped, inspired, and connected for the greater good. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her hubs and cat, loves coffee, and sometimes goes days without washing her hair.