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Permission To Hustle Retreat At Sea 2018 – Why It Happened And How I Feel Now That It’s Over

Women empowerment is a concept that gets thrown around like confetti. It’s a Pinterest image you share. It’s a post you like. It’s a dream you have for your daughter. It’s a wish you make for her at night before you put her to sleep. But have you ever felt it? Have you ever touched it? Have you ever done something to help promote it? Last year, my partner and I decided to take part in the movement in a serious way. We didn’t just want to share a Facebook status, we wanted to create a system that would continue to support its members while encouraging nothing but kindness and positivity. That’s how Permission to Hustle was born.

Permission To Hustle Retreat At Seat 2018 - Why It Happened And How I Feel Now That It's Over

After several months of watching our new community grow in ways we never thought possible, Audrey McCelland and I knew that the online component just wasn’t enough for us anymore. We knew that we needed to take our show on the road… literally.

Putting on live events isn’t a foreign concept to us. We have a few dozen under our belts. In fact, we’ve hosted expos that housed over 600+ social media mavens and they’ve all gone off with ease. But the one for Permission for Hustle would be different because it wasn’t about making money. It was about creating a space to help women find themselves – to find their why – to develop their craft – and to build lasting relationships that will continue to support their dreams and more.

Permission to Hustle wasn’t about the bottom line.

The Permission to Hustle Retreat was about so much more. And while I would love to sit here and tell you that Getting Gorgeous LLC and AV Media events were created out of love… they were not. They were put on to make money. Period. Make no mistake – I’m not ashamed of that idea. It’s just a fact. Everything I did prior to Permission to Hustle was about earning a living, but PTH was born out of frustration and determination and I suppose that’s why everything means so much more.

Permission To Hustle Retreat At Seat 2018 - Why It Happened And How I Feel Now That It's Over

Why Permission to Hustle?

Why that name? Why the word hustle even though it is so overused? Two years ago, my partner was having a really bad day. Audrey had a hometown friend say something pretty nasty to her and it was something that we’ve heard a million times. But I suppose on this day, it just stung a little harder for some reason.

I don’t know how you do it – be away from your kids as much as you do. I just love them too much! I couldn’t.

Dig. Jab. Stab. As bloggers, we are required to travel for opportunities. We don’t have offices. Our paychecks are on the road. And while it might look like a lot of fun on social media, make no mistake – there’s a lot happening on the backend. So, wow. Those comments hurt. They really do! As mothers, we know it’s a lot on our families to leave them. It’s pressure on our husbands and our mothers and our neighbors and friends. We are no fools. But to hear these comments over and over again…. well, they can crack the soul.

Permission To Hustle Retreat At Seat 2018 - Why It Happened And How I Feel Now That It's Over

And it wasn’t just one friend. I hear them too. I hear them from other bloggers who don’t get the opportunities that I do. I hear it from cousins who maybe don’t understand what I have. I hear them from passing acquaintances while waiting for my Starbucks drink. It is so subtle, but it is all the time. And I am sure these women aren’t trying to hurt us, but they do hurt when I am not ready for them.

Well, on this particular day, that nasty comment stung Audrey and it was too much to handle. But it also angered her. So, while she was venting to me on the phone, she said, “ Since when do I need to get permission to hustle from her?!”

And I stopped her right then and there! In the middle of her rant. In the middle of her rage. In the middle of her wild-eyed conversation and I said, “That’s it. Permission to Hustle. We don’t need it. We can offer it instead. To every woman out there who feels what we feel.”

santo wrap carnival cruise permission to hustle retreat

We Are Giving You The Permission To Hustle

Because we’re not alone and we know it. Women who love to work – who are filled with passion and drive and who also happen to be mothers. The ideas do NOT have to be mutually exclusive. I can have children and also be successful and driven and it can happen all while they are in preschool, too. Doesn’t make me a bad mother. It makes me an amazing role model.

But here is the beauty of it all. If you decide to stay home or work part-time or have no children at all, that makes you amazing, too. We all have our place in this world. Permission to Hustle is a judgement free zone. I am just tired of it all. People who spend their time judging other people are not spending enough time working on their own do you inspirational t shirt

Do You shirt ( part of the Permission to Hustle t-shirt line)

Do YOU and everything will work out just fine. I see the same people crying all day long about everything they think isn’t going right in the social media space… and they are also not breaking through that wall. They are still stuck on square one. I wonder why? Because 10 hours a day in private FB groups sharing screen grabs is a time suck. Go do some SEO, girl! Heck, come at me and let’s do it together because I need some help. Let’s do it together.

permission to hustle retreat 2018 mastermind

I see you. Hurting. Not knowing if you have it in you. Not knowing if you have it anymore. Not feeling yourself because too much has happened in this industry, but none of it seems to be happening to you. You needed to be at this Permission to Hustle Retreat. I cried so hard on the last day. Like sobbing where you start making those ugly sounds and you have to hide your face because you know that you are so ugly? You know what I am saying. I was D-E-A-D because so many people came up to me and told me how they needed it, how it changed them, how it was the turning point that they needed. I can’t even write this paragraph anymore because I’m on the plane and now I’m crying again. UGH.

permission to hustle retreat 2018 mastermind attendees

(photo by Danielle Faust)

We’re not done. There’s so much left for Permission to Hustle it isn’t funny. I have to sleep a few days first because I look like I went swimming in chlorine and left my eyes open for three hours. I am proud of myself and of Audrey McClelland. I am proud of the women who came on board and who shared their fears and their struggles and who shared their secrets. I am proud of the women who danced like they never danced before and who let their hair down and who bonded with this tribe because it was a good one. I really loved watching and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. I hope we all continue to remember our small moments. They matter the most.


permission to hustle retreat 2018 mastermind speakers

To the speakers who took time away from their families and who gave us all of their knowledge, you blew us away. I took a tremendous amount of notes. I am a firm believer that you should never pretend that you are someone you are NOT and we could NOT fill those pieces. You made the conference whole. On a personal note, I feel like I needed to ATTEND my own conference because I walked away with my head on straight for the first time in about 6 years. I have a serious game plan right now and actually already started doing some heavy work at the airport. I cannot wait to check back in with everyone after Christmas.

vera sweeney audrey mcclelland permission to hustle retreat 2018

And to Audrey – my partner in crime, my best friend, my ray of sunshine – you did it. You got me to do another event even though I swore I would never EVER put one on because of the amount of work that goes into … and I am so grateful for you. We all need someone in their lives that pushes them to their limits, that tells them they can, that makes them take their hard medicine because they know it’s good for them, and that makes them laugh with just one look because of all the private jokes they share. You are that and so much more. God blessed me when he gave me you and I thank Him for your friendship whenever I can.

permission to hustle retreat carnival cruise attendees 2018

Will there be another Permission to Hustle Retreat?

You better believe it. We’ve already took in some lessons about what worked, what didn’t, what we could have done better and strategically began to discuss 2019. I’ve already started to think about what I want to put in the deck and have an idea about location… but that will start up after I sleep for about a week (or two).

For more information about Permission to Hustle, be sure to sign up for our Facebook Group.

vera sweeney audrey mccelelland carnival cruise permission to hustle retreat 2018

(photo by Danielle Faust)

Where can you find Permission to Hustle online?

Permission to Hustle on YouTube

Permission to Hustle on Instagram

Permission to Hustle on Twitter

Permission to Hustle on Facebook

Audrey and Vera on Facebook


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

I just love them too much! Ugh. I hear backhanded things like that all the time. And then I punch people in the face. Okay, not really, but it definitely crosses my mind. I'm so sad to have missed this inaugural retreat, but I'm so glad you have created this environment of encouragement and support. We do all that we do BECAUSE we love our children. ❤


Tuesday 9th of October 2018

It was such a great time and we are working hard on number two. Hope to have you!

Susan Carraretto

Monday 17th of September 2018

You and Audrey have always blown me away with your incredible hustle and passion for community. I truly wish I'd been there... I can only imagine how amazing it was.

Maria Adcock

Sunday 16th of September 2018

What an inspiring, honest, well-written post! I could relate to so much to what you said. Thank you for bringing up others because positivity is the way to go! I couldn't make it this year but hope to in the future. Love and peace!


Sunday 16th of September 2018

You two are amazing. Your big hearts and truly authentic spirits. You know, that’s not always the case in this world. Your are leaders who lead by example and make us all want to folow. Damn, did ai want to follow. The pth group is the one place online I can go to get honest feed back and everyone tries to help everyone & we all know there’s enough success to go around because we’re all different. The 2 of you embody that and are always so willing to give of your knowledge and of yourself. Thank you will never be enough for you and Audrey’s friendship and guidance. And now, I’m really annoyed that anyone made Audrey feel so shitty. Makes the ghetto in me come out, feels like I need to go break some knee caps love you both. Got your back all day, every day and can’t wait for the next pth retreat because I’m there!

Sami Cone

Sunday 16th of September 2018

I was both honored and humbled to be a part of this majestic event. It wasn’t just about the relationships are the learning or the cruise, but it ended up being about ALL of it. You valued our time, both while working and while playing. I would sign up again in a heartbeat. Thank you for all you and Audrey did to make this possible!

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