Prestige Business Conference - Strategies for Success.
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Prestige Conference

Designed exclusively for freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals operating in the digital marketplace, Prestige is an exceptional business building opportunity that will introduce concepts to create brand momentum, gain clients and customers, multiply revenues, foster new connections, and inspire you to reach farther and aim higher.


Our Speakers

We are bringing the finest business experts to speak

Linda Bates

Linda Bates is an independent graphic designer, who moved to Minneapolis from Chicago. She was formally schooled in design including print, branding, packaging, etc., with additional education in Psychology and Sociology, all tying together in a love of How To Solve Problems. Lately she has been specializing in WordPress websites, infographics, and high-end presentations for her clients.

johan aldermann

Johan Aldemann is the CEO of Crowd Favorite and Chairman of The VeloMedia Group. In the past 20 years, his career path has encompassed a variety of opportunities including founding startups, managing large clients and teams in multinational agencies and taking companies public. This wealth of experience in taking digital teams across the globe has provided Karim with the necessary foundation and institutional knowledge in leading Crowd Favorite into the growing multinational organization it has become today.

aldo gutenberg

Baseball, Netflix, Lego, Under Armour, Salesforce, the Green Bay Packers, and the United Nations. Aldo Gutenberg is a 2016 Finalist for EY’s Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2013 was named to Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 10 Emerging Entrepreneurs. John loves to cheer on the Minnesota Twins, spend time with his wife Paige and daughter Margot, and write about doing work that matters with a weekly newsletter called Point Letter.

Event photo gallery

Latest Updates


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Tips for Growing a Successful Business

In order to achieve greatness and success in today’s business market, there is a need for business owners to be as flexible and well planned as well. Moreover, skills such as organization are also crucial.

Many think that all one needs is a computer in order to make money, and these individuals learn through the hard way that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to actual business practices.

Hence, the need for critical planning is also crucial as steps need to be seen in advance. In this article, we’ll go through some tips that will help you become successful in business.

Successful Business

1. Organization

As previously stated, you need to have an organized business model to aid in the completion of tasks. Organizing also helps you be on top of things, and this can be as simple as creating a things-to-do list on a daily basis. Once you finish a task, make sure to cross it out. Doing so will help you remember the things that need to be done without fails. Being organized will also help the business thrive as well as survive.

2. Your competition

A competitive environment can help you bring the best out of your company and having competition can indeed, bring in great results for the company. Do not be shy when it comes to studying how your competition does financially as well as structurally. This will aid in making your business more successful. How you implement your competitors’ practices is up to you but no matter what, always keep an eye on them.

3. Record

Accurate and timely documentation is vital when it comes to any business as it will help you analyze your financial stance. Documentation will also help you anticipate upcoming or pre-existing challenges that you have. Therefore, you’ll be able to develop strategies in advance or come up with plans to overcome existing problems.

4. Creativity

As a businessman or a future businessman, you need to continually be on the lookout for ways with which you can improve your business so that you can make yourself seem unique when compared to your competition. Having a mindset where you think you do not know much can help since you’ll be more open to ideas and approaches that are new.

5. Consistency

You need to be as consistent as possible when it comes to money. Take appropriate measure, be it weekly, monthly or even daily so that the consistency isn’t compromised. You may not see results immediately, but you’ll reap massive rewards in the future.

Tips to give a great presentation

Presenting to a crowd of people can be nerve wracking. Public speaking is not something that comes naturally to many people and it’s why many universities offer classes, and sometimes full majors, on public speaking. Presentations can be given to one or two people or crowds of thousands. While the most important thing to convey is the message, the most important thing you can do to make sure that message gets across is prepare for your presentation. Going into any presentation unprepared or underprepared will most definitely be dire for you and anyone else you want to receive the material you are trying to get across.

The first thing you want to know in any presentation, is everything. You should know everything. What I mean by this is that you should know your material, front to back. You are the subject matter expert on the topic you are presenting. Whether or not there is an interactive part of the presentation, such as a question and answer session, you should still be prepared to answer any question that could possibly be asked. Having this much knowledge around the subject you are speaking of will ensure that you won’t stumble to explain something, should you end up going off-book. This amount of knowledge will also instill a high level of confidence in the material and confidence is the second best thing to have for any presentation, big or small.


When you are speaking to a room of people, or an auditorium of investors, your level of confidence sits on a teetering meter, constantly being scrutinized and ridiculed by each and every audience member. Someone who portrays confidence is someone you want to listen to and give your attention to. When speaking softly, stumbling over material, and posturing yourself with an obvious lack of confidence, the audience ends up caring very little for what you’re saying and you open yourself up to terrible outcomes, including the loss of the audience. Knowing your material and giving yourself pep talks can significantly boost your confidence and radiate your presence from the stage.


Another useful tool in keeping the audience engaged and interested in having visuals. If you look at something as popular as the annual Apple conference where they reveal the new iPhone model or new features available, think about that presentation without having the pictures of the iPhone or the live demo of its features. Imagine how boring it would be to just listen to someone talk about the iPhone for three hours. Having visual aids and presentations that capture the attention and complement your words is vital to the success of any presentation.

So, as long as you know your material, have confidence in yourself, and use visual aids that complement your words and material, you really can’t go wrong. There will be no nerves, as there is nothing to be nervous about. Just remember that you know the material and everyone there wants to know the material. Go tell ‘em!

Recap: Prestige Conference Las Vegas

What happens at Prestige Conference Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas…or does it?

Now, don’t worry, we won’t spill details about things that happened after the After Party. But we do want to share some highlights from the conference for those that couldn’t make it or those that are wondering what to expect at the next event in Minneapolis this August.

You can verify that our memories aren’t too fuzzy by cross-checking our story with these other great Prestige recaps:

  • Exceeding Expectations – Return attendee Jennifer Bourn of Bourn Creative
  • A Small Business Perspective – First-time attendee Wes Chyrchel, Web Business Coach & Developer
  • A Prestigious Affair You Shouldn’t Miss – First-time attendee Dre Armeda of WebDevStudios
  • The Good, Bad, & Amazing – Speaker Chris Lema of Crowd Favorite
  • World of WordPress Developers in One Weekend – First-time attendee Russell Aaron of Geek Street WP
  • Prestige Conference Las Vegas 2015 – Return attendee James Dalman of Happy Joe
  • Photos from Mendel Kurland of GoDaddy
  • More photos from Aaron Hockley of Hockley Photography

Friday Night Product Panel

It’s easy for us to be biased about our own event, so we pulled some Twitter highlights to share instead.

Saturday: Tons of Great Sessions

We kicked off Saturday with a unique perspective from John Hawkins of 9seeds and Kim Schaefer of Downtown Project. Hearing both perspectives from developer and client led to some fantastic discussion and questions from the audience.

We received overwhelmingly positive feedback for the event and the content our speakers presented. Thank you to all of the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and volunteers that made Prestige Conference a success!

Prestige Conference Speaker Interview: Peter Chester

The entire Prestige Conference team is over the moon that our first 25 Super Early Bird tickets SOLD OUT in one day.

But, we’re even more excited to welcome Peter Chester to our incredible lineup of speakers coming from around the country to Minneapolis for this must-attend business conference, happening May 24-25, 2016.

Peter is a partner at Modern Tribe, the digital agency responsible for The Events Calendar and Image Widget WordPress plugins, as well as large scale WordPress builds including Harvard Law, Stanford Law, and Often leading large technical projects with budgets in excess of $500k, Peter is also a father, musician, artist, surfer and list maker with an obsession over google spreadsheet formulas (though not necessarily in that order).

As a Prestige Conference attendee, you’ll have an opportunity to meet Peter Chester and hear him speak about building a successful, distributed “lifestyle business” that supports the well being of its owners and the entire team. Until then, we hope you get to know Peter a bit better and read his speaker interview below:

Speaker Q&A

What is your story? How did you get to where you are today?

Not to get all Freudian on you but this goes back to my parents. My father is a quantum physicist and my mother was an extremely talented artist. I like to think that between the two of them and the Apple Mac that my dad had in the 80s, my faith as a technologist and designer was sealed. I remember spending hours and hours on Macromind Director making little animations in the early 90’s.

Skipping ahead a bit, a little over a decade ago, I had a full time job where, though I enjoyed my team, I was personally quite miserable. I was, in fact, so depressed commuting an hour each way to spend my time in a cubicle under florescent lights, that I would find myself smoking cigarettes during the week and when I would stop working and go home for the weekend, I wouldn’t even think to smoke a cigarette.

I met Shane (one of my business partners) around this time. He immediately struck me as one of the most remarkable people I have ever come across. Right from day one he would ask me extraordinarily personal and deep questions about my sense of purpose and direction. He was running a solo freelance web development business and started to call me routinely in the middle of a work day asking if I wanted to go surfing with him.

“Peter, quit your job. Come surf!”

It didn’t take long before I did quit my job. I also had no trouble also quitting smoking. I enthusiastically entered into my own freelance business for the 3rd time but this time something was different. I had a colleague with a higher sense of vision. We started collaborating and shortly thereafter went into business together.

The salient point was that from day one, our business has been extremely intentional, introspective, and has had the stated purpose of supporting us and our team financially, intellectually and spiritually. For me, and I hope for most or even all of the people on our team, this isn’t just about money, this is about a shared journey.

What is your role. What are you responsible for?

I started by wearing all the hats in my business. When Shane and I partnered, I wore many hats and Shane wore many but we were able to hand some off to each other. Every new person on our team is able to take one or more hats. At this point I’m wearing a somewhat random assortment of caps based on what roles have yet to be filled.

I am a strategist and account manager on a couple of projects. I am the director of recruiting. I am heavily involved in operations. Beyond that, I just do a ton of random things where I can be most valuable.

Personally though, I am currently most interested in developing a unified vision of embodying the idea of a Lifestyle business. I want people to not just feel like that’s a fuzzy idea but to really get what that means and live it.

You’re speaking on the concept of the Lifestyle Business. Why this is important to you?

The important distinction is that this isn’t just about the well being of the business owners, but of the entire team. The reason this is important to me is that about a year ago, my father shook the foundations of my sense of purpose. He argued that there is no such thing as free will. Or, that if there is free will, it is entirely an illusion and that ultimately we have no power.

Wow. That’s heavy. And controversial. I’m not going to get into trying to explain that here. But what I will point out is that if you accept that as a premise and try and look at the world, one of the many things you’ll notice is that any sense of greater purpose is also meaningless.

Another way of getting to that same conclusion is the idea that eventually everything that we do and indeed all of humanity will likely perish. It is extremely unlikely that we will perish in the next 5 minutes. It is extremely unlikely that we will still be around in 100 million years. And even if we were around, there would likely be no evidence of my life. Of my contribution. Again, my sense of greater purpose is meaningless.

What does one do with no purpose? After chewing on this for quite some time, I concluded that the greatest way to honor this gift of life is to enjoy it fully. My mantra became “Enjoy the ride.” Given this as a premise, perhaps you can see why maximizing the ideal of Lifestyle Business is so important to me. It literally is the most important part of our business to me.

What do you do when you’re not working?

Every weekend I open up my calendar and the surf report and I schedule surf sessions when the tide is low and the swell is high. That’s the priority. Meetings get booked around that. Then on weekends, when the surf is too crowded, I spend some time with my family and some time working.

Join Us At Prestige Conference

If you’d like to spend time with industry experts and learn first-hand from their experiences and stories, I hope you’ll consider joining us for Prestige Conference, May 24-25, 2016 at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

From valuable learning sessions delivered by industry leaders and a hands-on workshop, to abundant networking opportunities and special connection events, Prestige Conference an unsurpassed opportunity for personal and professional growth.

Among our lineup of hand-picked speakers, you will find agency owners, small business owners, enterprise level professionals, entrepreneurs, and freelancers, who work both with in-office and remote teams. And because all Prestige Conference speakers are compensated for their time, attendees benefit from invaluable content created specifically for them without pushy selling from the stage.

Our Super Early Bird tickets sold out in one day! So, mark your calendar!

Early Bird Tickets go on sale March 8, 2016 — and we hope you snag a ticket ASAP as Peter Chester is only one of many amazing and talented speakers we’re bringing in from across the country.

You’re not going to want to miss this — Trust me!

Peaker: nancy lyons

Nancy Lyons works at the intersection of technology, community, and people. As a leader and technologist, she creates solutions that further community and business goals by meeting the needs of individuals.Nancy supports clients and teams by fostering a collaborative, idea-driven culture that nurtures creativity and brainpower.

She speaks extensively about work culture, social media, technology, and leadership and has been locally and nationally recognized for her role as owner and CEO of Clockwork. She’s co-author of Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process (New Riders, 2012), serves as the Vice Chair on the National Board of Directors at The Family Equality Council, is on the Board of Trustees at Minnesota Public Radio, and is a member of the advisory board for the innovative entrepreneurial conference, Giant Steps.

Did someone mention free livestream tickets? We told you gravity forms rock

UPDATE 7/28: Thanks again to Gravity Forms! Gravity Forms sponsored a total of 750 people to attend Prestige Conference virtually, from all over the globe. From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU! We have created a discount code for those that missed out on the Gravity Forms opportunity. You can use the code PrestigeStream for 50% off livestream tickets at our registration page. 

UPDATE 7/23: Wow! We sold out of all 500 free tickets in less than 24 hours. Gravity Forms has generously upped their offer, and we have released an additional 250 free livestream tickets. Snag one while you can using code GravityFormsLS on our registration page. Don’t forget to thank them on social using hashtag #PrestigeConf!

Yesterday we introduced primary sponsor Gravity Forms.

Today we’re excited to share a huge announcement from them. Because they believe in the value of Prestige Conference and in giving back to the community, they are providing 500 FREE livestream tickets so people around the world can experience the knowledge and business expertise shared during our event.

“The speakers at this event were pure gold. And what they shared was worth ticket prices three times what people paid.”
–Chris Lema

What’s included in the livestream ticket?

With a Livestream ticket to Prestige Conference, you’ll not only get access to watch all of the sessions live from the comfort of your own home, you’ll also receive access to videos of the sessions for 6 months after the event.

Our livestream is professionally produced by PixPro Media, ensuring a high-quality experience for our livestream attendees.

“In addition to a great conference on site, with some great speakers, they also have a great livestream. They don’t do this the lazy way. They take time to… switch between slides and monitor it live and really create a great experience. If you can’t make it to the conference, you’re getting your money’s worth with the livestream and the quality of the video they record.”
-Jake Goldman, Founder of 10up

How do i register?

To take advantage of Gravity Form’s generosity, register for your livestream ticket using code GravityFormsLS. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so be sure to secure your spot ASAP.

Once registered, you will receive an order confirmation. We will follow up with login credentials to access the livestream late next week. (You will receive a separate email notifying you when session recordings are available to view after the event.)

You are welcome to join our Facebook event page for more updates on speakers, sessions, and conference announcements.

“Prestige is one of the few conferences I’ve been to where the sessions delivered on descriptions, the event lived up to my wishes, and the content exceeded my expectations.”
-Brian Bourn, Co-Founder of Bourn Creative


Meet the speaker: jennifer bourn of bourn creative

I’m going to take some liberties and go a little fangirl over Jennifer Bourn of Bourn Creative. If you’ve ever heard her speak before, you’ll be nodding along with this. And if you haven’t, you definitely don’t want to miss her workshop at Prestige Minneapolis this August.

Jennifer Bourn is the award-winning founder, designer, and creative director of Bourn Creative, an innovative agency specializing in strategy, design, and development. She’s coached thousands of entrepreneurs on how to build better businesses, she’s a thought-leader in the industry, and to top it off, she’s also a genuinely nice person.

In May, she presented a free Branding hangout for Prestige that energized participants into action working on their own brands. (In case you missed it, you can check out our Branding hangout recap, including a video of her presentation.) At Prestige Conference Minneapolis, Jennifer will dive even deeper into the topic of branding, providing a hands-on workshop for our attendees to work through the process in-depth under her expert guidance.

Always a good sport, Jennifer sat down with us to answer a few questions so you can get to know her better before the event.

In 3 sentences or less, please describe what you do for a living

As a 17-year design veteran, I am the lead designer and digital strategist for Bourn Creative, a full service design studio in Sacramento, California that I co-own with my husband. I specialize in brand design and development, WordPress theme design, and a wide variety of graphic design services.

Why this career and not something else?

Never holding any other type of job, I have always been a designer. For a few years, I pursued a degree in electrical engineering, and constantly found myself dreaming and lusting for something more creative.

My thoughts continually drifted to the joy and freedom in expression and exploration I experienced when designing my high school yearbook (we were the first school to go digital with Photoshop & Pagemaker). I kept thinking, “If only I could do that for a living.” I was then introduced to design as a career, changed my major to graphic design, and never looked back.

Once you figured out where you wanted your career to go, how did you start making things happen?

I’ve always been driven. I am the messy creative scatterbrain wrapped in the type-A overachiever. When I changed my major, I sought out internships and completed 5 in my industry by the time I graduated. I also worked at a small advertising agency as a designer throughout college. A recruiter hired me into my first post-college job, then a client hired me to work for them directly.

When kids came into the mix, I quit agency life to found Bourn Creative and I called every person I knew to ask for work, referrals, and introductions. I also did quite a bit of networking.

What were some of the biggest roadblocks you encountered on your path to success?

The biggest roadblock have been resource availability and timing. Often the resources needed aren’t available exactly when you need them — this may be subcontractors, our own time, and capacity, funds (we’re a cash-only endeavor).

You and your husband co-own bourn creative. Can you share a bit what it’s like to put your strengths together in a business capacity?

As a designer married to a developer, the main benefit is obvious, but it goes deeper than that.

Like all good partnerships, we have different skills sets that compliment each others’ strengths and support each others’ weaknesses, and together we are stronger than we would be apart.

Married at 20 and 21, we built and experienced our entire adult lives together. We approach our personal life and running our household the same way we approach and run our business. We know what each other is thinking, how we’ll react to situations, and how best to communicate. We know when to push forward, when to fall back, and how to best support and elevate each other.

You’re very well-known in the wordpress community for your design and branding expertise. How do you view the relationship between design & branding?

A brand is everything others think about a business, product, service, or program. It’s their perceptions, feelings, and experiences. Your brand is your reputation in the market, what you’re known for.

Design is the visual application of the brand. It is a medium used to create or shift perception, to expand mindshare, to produce and cultivate feelings, to construct experiences, and initiate actions. Design gives a brand a visual reference to attach to memories and emotions and to help others recognize you, remember you, and refer you to others.

To design with purpose, you first must understand your brand, otherwise you’re just making pretty art. My workshop at Prestige Conference this August will focus on helping attendees gain brand clarity to they can take immediate, purposeful action to improve their perception, elevate their design, and build a solid reputation in the market.

Throughout your career and building your brand & reputation, who have been your most valuable mentors? How did you connect with them?

I have been lucky enough to have several mentors over the years. First, the director of the design program at Sacramento State, Gwen Amos, who was not only instrumental in my growth as a designer, but an amazing professor and friend.

Second, my first employer Jeanne Mabry who owned an advertising agency and has supported and loved me in every aspect of my life. She not only taught me an enormous amount about business and allowed me to dip my feet into every aspect of design and project management, but as a mother of three, showed me that I could achieve success on my own terms and create a great family life.

Today we are lucky to have amazing friends in the industry we can lean on for direction and guidance and value the impact they have had on our growth immensely.

What’s coming up next for you?

No big announcements for Bourn Creative coming up. We just keep our heads down and work constantly to improve our craft and serve our clients to the best of our abilities.

On the side, I am working on a personal project, where I’ll be sharing my insights on life, work, and being a working parent, my recipes, and our family adventures.

Any industry predictions for 2016?

I think we’ll see much less silo-ing of skillsets. I think we’ll see deeper integrations between strategy, design, and engineering. Instead of being viewed/approached as separate parts of the process, they will meld into each other, creating better, stronger end products.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

It’s summer, so I’m mainly reading trashy romance novels and murder mysteries by the pool. With that said, I’m working in “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley, “How the World Sees You” by Sally Hogshead, and “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull.

Favorite junk food? (even if you don’t eat it often)

Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate everything, chocolate… but no fruity chocolate  I sneak to See’s Candies often

Name one thing you’re looking forward to for prestige conference minneapolis

So far, I’m really excited for the sessions announced and the speakers. But having attended Prestige in the past, what I’m most looking forward to is the intimate setting, the direct access you get to the speakers, and the opportunities for meaningful conversations that will help take our businesses further.


Meet the speaker: brad william

He’s a published book author, the founder of a prominent wordpress agency, and he’s been developing websites for over 20 years. He’s also the only “official” guru we know. (He won the sitepoint Forums ASP Guru of the Year Award 2005 – 2007).

Brad Williams is the co-founder of and co-author of the books Professional wordpress and Professional wordpress Plugin Development. He’ll be joining us at Prestige Conference Las Vegas to discuss hiring employee #1 and the process of moving from self-employed to building a team.

In 3 sentences or less, please describe what you do for a living:

I am the Co-founder and CEO of, the Co-Author of Professional wordpress 1E-3E & Professional wordpress Plugin Development, and a Co-host on the dradcast wordpress podcast. I also Co-organize the Philly wordpress Meetup and wordcamp Philly.

You could say I love wordpress and might be slightly addicted!

Why this career and not something else?

I have always been fascinated by computers and technology. My first computer was a Commodore 64, which is the first machine I learned to program on around the age of 10. Over the years I knew computers were the future for me, but I wasn’t entirely sure what area of computers I wanted to focus on. Then the internet was born and that question was very easy to answer. I wanted to build websites.

When did you figure out what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I knew from an early age i wanted to work with computers and specifically the internet. When i first experienced the internet i knew i was home. I began coding websites early on when most of my friends had no idea what the internet was. I think i rolled out my first static html website on aol 2.0 over at 2400bps modem.

Once you figured out you wanted to build websites for a living, how did you start making things happen?

When I knew building websites was it for me I sought out every single computer course I could take. In High School, I took every programming course available, which was one. I also took courses at local community colleges that were available. My Parents were extremely supportive and helped me not only find these courses, but get me there as well.

If it wasn’t about computers I wasn’t interested, which is why I wasn’t a great student. When deciding what to do after graduating High School I came to the conclusion that college was not for me. Instead, I decided to join the United States Marine Corps as, get this, a computer programmer. The Marine Corps sent me to extensive training for computer programming and I served 4-years in the Corps learning as much as I could. My military career really laid the groundwork for my career in computer programming.

Who were your most valuable mentors and how did you connect with them?

I think my most valuable mentors were the developers i worked with over the years that were better than me. They gave me the mentorship, training, and drive i needed to push myself to bigger and better things. The best way to push yourself to greatness is to work with people smarter than you.

That’s why i consider my team at webdevstudios my mentors now. They are hands down the best wordpress developers and designers out there and inspire me on a daily basis.

What’s coming up next for you?

I am always striving to grow webdevstudios to be the best wordpress agency on the planet. We started the company on a coffee table and have grown into an amazing agency with a portfolio that still boggles my mind.

We also love to push the envelope of wordpress and create websites and apps that blow people’s minds when they realize its wordpress. You can expect to see much more of this in the future!

Any industry predictions for 2015?

I strongly feel the wordpress rest api is a game changer. I expect to see completely new commercial markets emerge that interact with wordpress through this new api. We’re already seeing this is some spaces, including reactor from apppresser.

What book(s) are you reading right now?

I don’t generally read books, i just write them.

Favorite “guilty pleasure” song or band that you can’t help but rock out to?

Christmas music. I love christmas music!

Name one thing you’re looking forward to for prestige conference las vegas:

Networking with new and old friends alike. Also, warm weather!


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