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6 Pensacola Beach, Florida

Updated: May 30, 2022

Dates: February 6-10, 2022

I never really understood what support groups were all about until now. This week was our first Guides Got Goals Retreat. Eight of my new tight knit group of StoryBrand Guide friends and I rented a beach house together.

While this all sounds like a bad MTV reality show, it’s not.

Being a solo-prenuer is hard. And lonely. You do all the things, all of the time on your own and you’re often left thinking: “Gee, it sure would be nice to have someone to bounce ideas around with, like, did I word the header of my website correctly? I don’t know. What do you think?

Enter: The Guides Got Goals Retreat.

Jordan Ryskamp and I hosted this retreat to help our fellow marketing friends build out all those business goals that get pushed to the side because paid client work demands first dibs on our attention. We LOVE our clients which means our own businesses (and travel blogs) are almost always left as the cobblers’ kids. This is why this retreat was so impactful to all of us who attended.

The experience of sitting in the same room with the best marketing minds in the business was one none of us will soon forget. Each of us was emotionally open (not to get all woo woo) to sharing ideas and speaking with good old fashion honesty. A room full of individuals who respect each other, who congregate in harmony, and who felt no need to walk on eggshells was refreshing to say the least. We showed up as business acquaintances and left as family.

This group lifted my soul and continues to help me keep moving forward. Especially because I tend to be pretty hard on myself. If you recall last week’s post, I want to help everyone with everything all the time but it’s not sustainable.

Within half an hour of hanging out with Kelley, who is a copywriting ninja by the way, I was quickly made aware of how I’d mentioned being close to burnout multiple times during our conversation. Kelly recommended I read the book Burnout: The Secret To Unlocking the Stress Cycle.

Apparently I’ve been operating within this mindset that because I don’t have a husband, children, or pets, I should be available to work all of the time. To let you in on what may have caused me to feel this way, is something that almost any entrepreneur can relate to.

When you’re first growing a business, you’re always hustling. You’re growing and building something and you’re happy to have any work at all, so you’ll take any opportunity that comes your way. Once you arrive at sustainability you don’t automatically shift out of hustle mode. There’s major challenges to working this way though, because it causes me to take on more than I can chew, and on occasion, to miss timelines and deliverables. Talking these feelings through with other like minded individuals left me feeling hopeful about my ability to make progress.

I enjoyed working at the beach and I’m grateful to this small tribe of friends for helping me along my journey.

The Food

We cooked up a storm! Everyone pitched in, including helping out with the dishes. It was magic.

Jordan manning the grill with Giles Ranch Beef.

Elaine (in the white tee) took the head chef roll for lots of our meals. You’ll see why soon. She’s rolling out The Cookbook Creative, a platform for anyone to create a professionally designed cookbook. Note how happy everyone is with laptops at the kitchen table. It was glorious!

Why is it cool?

They have more than one million signed dollar bills hanging from the ceilings and walls! Plus ya know the Irish pub thing. They brew their own beer and it’s the oldest craft brewery in Florida.

So of course I had to try a beer flight. It was tasty! I didn’t take notes on the flavor profiles so I’ll spare you the details on trying to sound cool.

The food was… a lot. Big portions. Lots of meat and potatoes. Or should I say bangers and mash? Very filling.

Then there’s this guy…


He’s been prodding me to post about my trip on social media. He’s full of millennial energy (born in 1993). Whereas I’m slightly older and I reject everything social media. Any time Jordan brought it up, I’d simply respond with: “I’m not an influencer. I’m not about to pose on a beach in a bikini trying to sell a lifestyle.”

All of my StoryBrand friends tried to nudge me towards a paradigm shift this week. Sharing that I don’t have to be like all the other classic influencers out there. They encouraged me to think anti-influencer instead. To stand out. Be different. While the idea is tempting, between you and me, I still don’t want to manage a profile. I barely manage a blog!

Wednesday afternoon shenanigans capture my true feelings of an influencer life. I don’t have room for a tripod. I’m a minimalist.

After a few hours of focused work all morning, a few of us decided to take a walk on the beach. I guess you could say I got caught up chatting about life, enjoying the scenery, and the company, because out of nowhere I was hit by a huge wave! In case you’re wondering, the temperatures in Florida in February are still pretty cold. Towel anyone?

Jordan and his fancy new camera were on the scene ready to capture the moment.

Jordan: “See this is the kind of funny stuff you could post on your ‘not-an-influencer’ social media channel.”

Me: “Sure, you post away, go for it.

Jordan: “You mean like this?” As he hands me his phone.

Me: Crying laughing.

Apparently, Jordan set up an Instagram account @meganisnotaninfluencer and has been posting pictures of me for a few days. Not my best moments captured with hilarious captions for the world to see.

Lynn and Elaine captured video from a few different angles of me laughing hysterically. Jordan captured this moment where it looks like I’m crying from pain. I hadn’t laughed this hard in a long time.

Jordan’s got plenty of ammo to update my new Instagram account regularly.

Meet My Biz Friends

Kelley Hartnett - Tall Tree Collective Copywriting for brands who give a damn!

Christian Hinojosa - Amplify Creative Copywriter for all things marketing.

Ali Garbero (aka the editor of this blog!) - Write Brand Marketing, social strategy + blog, email, and social media content for Realtors®

Debbie Gerardi - Clear Plan Marketing, Marketing strategy + implementation for financial service providers.

Lynn Tickner - Ink & Key “Get a name and grow your brand” and “Systems To Scale” a virtual assistant service you will be hearing more about soon!

You met Jordan and Andy last week.


Would I visit again?

Sure, if I had another group of friends to go with. It’s easy to navigate your way around and the beaches are super white and clean. Easy walking.

Would I live here?

Nah. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but I’m not drawn to the place. It has all the amenities and beautiful beaches you could dream of, but it felt like there was something missing. I just can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

Enthusiasm level: 9

I get so much energy from being around my business friends. I’m inspired to keep going and encouraged to live a life that isn’t solely focused on business.

Here’s to friends that feel like family,

Megan “Not An Influencer” Giles

Get The Shirt

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Edited by: Ali Garbero, Write Brand Marketing


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Pensacola was a fabulous working retreat complete with lots of laughter and ah ha moments! And I'll cook for you any time! I loved re-living the trip here while waiting for the NEXT ONE!


Drew Bird
Drew Bird
May 01, 2022

Really enjoying reading about your travels!! Keep the posts coming. Great to see some familiar faces from CAGC in the mix there!!

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