We all see inspirational quotes so often that they are nearly cliché. One of my favorites is “Good things come to those who hustle.” So I thought I could share a timely story that helps back that one up.We’re coming up on our fifth time running the Front-End Design Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. A question that I get asked often is “how did you start your first conference?”.The most important things to know are “why” and “how”, which are both intermingled from life experiences that my (now) wife Cherrie and I had in the year before the event. We were engaged and wanted a destination wedding: Turks and Caicos and Jamaica lost out to Key West in order to keep it more accessible for friends and family. It was going to be expensive and we didn’t want to go into debt, so Cherrie lived and worked in NYC for about 6 months. (Partly just to see if she could do it, but also to earn more money. As the great philosopher Jay-Z once said “And since I made it here, I can make it anywhere”.) I worked 2 full-time jobs, one of which was my first job as a web designer for a small shop in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida.There were two significant things that happened that led to why we wanted to run a conference: I attended the 2008 Future of Web Design Conference (which was in NYC in November) and Cherrie and I sadly had to fire our wedding planners about 2 months before our wedding, which was to be in February 2009. FOWD was amazing. Being in a place with so many like-minded people and hearing stories from people that I had been learning from the past year blew my mind. It was my first conference and I came back completely inspired. I started looking for events like that a little closer to home but I didn’t find much besides a BarCamp.Meanwhile, we were having a really hard time maintaining communication with our planners in Key West and getting anything booked. We made the decision to lose the planners and have Cherrie take over. I really didn’t do much except for agree to most of her awesome ideas. She put together a fantastic four days in Key West to celebrate with our friends and family. All of a sudden it was all over and we had nothing to do except to live happily ever after.Around that same time, Chris Coyier tweeted that he had just spoken to a high school class about web design. So, I pitched Cherrie on an idea. I still wanted a day in Florida to celebrate the web industry and the people who share their knowledge. Cherrie wanted to plan another event, even if it was for a bunch of my fellow web geeks. So, we agreed to give it a shot.Here’s how it went down.I sent out a couple of awkward “if you’re not doing anything on this day in July, would you kind of maybe want to come to Florida and talk to people on stage” DMs. Chris was the first to reply and the first to say yes. At that point, it was officially “on”. I asked a few others that I had been learning from and also asked what they would want in order to be able to break away from work and travel here to do it. It was pretty consistent amongst everyone so we started planning and promoting.Twitter was still relatively focused at the time and I had gotten in early with the completely appropriate handle of “webdesignfanboy”. Since I was early enough and it was clear what I was about, I gained some traction in the follower realm. We relied on Twitter and the blog posts that the speakers wrote for about 97.5% of the promotion. (We whipped up 100 promo post cards and sent them to Florida web design shops as well.) One of my favorite things is that I had recently discovered Ricardo Gimenes and I hired him to do characters for the speakers. He rocks and they were so much fun.Cherrie said yes to running the conf in March and we ran it on July 31st. We had 7 speakers: Fabio Sasso, Grant Friedman, Jonathan Longnecker, Chris Coyier, John Ashenden, Andrew Maier and Kevin Hale. We were fortunate to have some helpful sponsors and 92 people got to see me nearly pass out from stage fright as I stumbled through welcoming everyone and introducing Fabio.It was stressful, but totally exhilarating. The speakers absolutely rocked and I was awestruck the whole day. When the presentations were over, Eric Azares sealed the deal on us running another one by walking up and asking if he could buy a ticket for the next one.Running an event for the first time and putting it together in a few months meant that it wasn’t very efficient, so it cost us a good chunk of cash. It was totally worth it, though, as it started me down a path of front-end development and Cherrie as an event planner. I have personally had so many wonderful opportunities come from it and I now work with the rad folks at Envy Labs. I try to pay back the time Cherrie spends on it by helping with her other events throughout the year, but I’m still in debt in that category.It’s a lot of work each year, but the benefits outweigh the work so much that it’s not even a factor. We have met so many wonderful people and formed awesome friendships. It’s almost starting to feel like a reunion with friends that we may have not gotten to see much throughout the year. We are sharing knowledge and celebrating community and it is absolutely fantastic. My absolute favorite part has been seeing people progress in skill and in their career path. Running a conference isn’t for everyone, but there is definitely something that you want to do that feels intimidating. Dive in after it. Good things will come. In the meantime, we’ll be celebrating you and our community in a couple of days. Cheers!