For the last 3 years I've been trying to make it to a blog conference. I've wanted to network and meet other bloggers, learn from bloggers and just see what's on the other side of the internet perspective. I've spent my time networking with the affiliate marketing crew since 2006, but never took the time to connect with the content producing super stars of the blogging universe on their own turf… until I attended the Denver Bloggy Boot Camp.
Bloggy Boot Camp is a touring 1 day event put on by The SITS Girls. It's small and intimate and a fantastic choice as far as learning and networking goes. I wasn't overwhelmed nor bombarded with directions to choose from. The content was fantastic, the speakers were wonderful. The day ended with a wine and appetizer mingle hour and it was all fabulous from start to finish!
When I first saw the agenda I was a bit underwhelmed. I was sure I knew most of the content and wasn't so sure if this was the event for me. I had expected more detailed type topics, more advanced infos to add on to what I've been learning already. However, I figured I had paid to attend, the event was local and there were a number of bloggers I'd been wanting to meet or catch up with also attending so I went. I moved forward assuming it would be a laid back day filled with refresher info and reminders of things I needed to integrate into my business.
I was completely wrong.
I took pages upon pages of notes. The insight shared on topics I was already familiar renewed sparks of excitement and interest in my being online to begin with. Combing with experiences from the past year, I was able to take information from this event and apply in the directions I've been trying to push myself toward for a while now. The light bulb has finally clicked on and I couldn't be more thrilled!!
Here are 10 great things I learned at Bloggy Bootcamp:
There was plenty of blog technique, tips and tricks to go around. Piles of inspiring food for thought comments and all sorts of tid-bits everyone could use to improve what they are doing right now. The following is what I embraced the most. I went to the event with some ideas for goals on my list already, so much of what I gained simply enforced my new thinking – you can't pay for that kind of encouragement, it only happens when it's supposed to. I just happened to pay to be in the right place at the right time to hear it from the right people. I'm hoping you'll gain from it too…
- Understand yourself
To be a great writer, you really need to understand who you are, where you've come from and where you are going. This will allow you to work with yourself better, focus more on what's important to you and stay true to your priorities and goals.
- We were all put on this earth to create
What you create all depends on who you are. I've believed this all along, so it was so nice to hear someone else say it. Her “nearly everyone can relate to this” example stuck in my head as: If you don't believe me, stop and think about those kids who's boogers you wipe… they weren't born out of a cabbage patch.
- Branding is just You
You brand yourself every day. It's nothing more than figuring out who you are and letting the world know. (This is much different than building a brand, although they are interlinked if you are your company.) You need to “brand” yourself because that is what ties all you're doing to your name… which is how people know who does what, who to contact and who to pay for the things they want.
- Ask for outside perspectives of you
It's a great idea to have others give their opinions on who they see you are and how they view what you share on your “about me” page. Others may see entirely different things about you than you see in yourself. It was suggested that you can ask others to describe you – so while sitting there I posted the question to Facebook. I got some fantastic feedback in return validating even more where I think I need to be headed. The trick now is to remember and not get in my own way.
- You need to really love what you do
I stand behind this every day, that's why I've been working for myself for so long. However, it's a great reminder… you really do need to love what you're doing to be really good at it. I think, just a theory, that even people that really don't like their jobs but are really good at them, really love what it is they are good at. They just don't love who or what they do it for.
- Become an expert
Now this has always been a near cliche comment that feels more like a thorn in my side… until now. I always thought that when people suggest “become an expert” they were encouraging a bunch of fake gurus to pop up all over. Just pretend you know all there is to know and make sure to tell everyone you know all this when you don't know it all. As a result there are a ton of consultants that are still learning what they are claiming to teach and it drives me crazy. However, that's not the advice given here. Instead it's, if you are going to share insight, share all the angles. Explore all the ins and outs of the topic and share what you discover. Ask questions and share the answers you learn. In this process you'll become well versed and others will look to you for the information… thus expert status. I like it!
- Notice how the universe is conspiring to help you
Actually pay attention to the opportunities, connections and positive happenings that come your way. Recognize them so you can incorporate them and make them work for you. Rather than busting your behind in whatever direction, hoping to make it work, stop and pay attention to all that is around you. Then, you will probably see more that is available to you than you realized.
- Your best asset and advocate is your voice
You are uniquely you. The combination of your experiences, your perspective, your opinions and how you share it all with others is uniquely you. Embrace this uniqueness, make it a part of your business and you will find some of the magic that helps you succeed.
- Always push back
No first proposal, contract or other agreement has to be the absolute and only option. Ask for what you want, offer options you can provide and be willing to negotiate for middle ground both parties can live with happily. Don't just give in on the first offer. You're not that desperate, you're worth more and the other side almost always expects you'll ask for something different. In the end, be prepaid to walk away if the offer/s don't match what you are really willing to work with.
- Charge your electronics
Yeah, no one told me this, it was a happy reminder I learned all by myself… I brought my iPad with a bluetooth keyboard to the event. I forgot to charge the keyboard and half way through the day learned that typing on the touch screen keyboard resulted in a number of goofy typos (blobby instead of bloggy.. kinky instead of linky, clog instead of blog and the list goes on). Reading my notes for this article has been an entertaining challenge!
I walked away from Bloggy Boot Camp having a clearer view that where I'm heading is where I want to be going. I'm focusing on creativity as a business. Sharing my own creativity, selling things I create and sharing ideas to help others make a living with their creativity. I was finally able to apply concepts, that I keep hearing, to my own needs. Rather than thinking literally on every topic, I was able to twist the information to fit where I need it and help me grow my plan.
The event included a number of sponsors as well as companies offering face time. However, I found I was so busy networking at the tables within the sessions that I didn't have the time to jump out in the hall to connect with the companies in attendance. I'm hoping to reach out on my own to find out more about what they had to share. More on these companies later.
Thanks to all the great speakers!
Jessica Bern Bernthis.com, Fiona Bryan Banteringblonde.com, Amy Bradley-Hole Be Better, Kathy Bouska Mama’s Losin’ It, Aimee Giese Giese Media, Jillian Tohber Catch My Party, Barb Likos ChaoticCommunications.com, Danielle Liss Kittenagogo.com, Jennifer Margolin RedSoleDiary.com and the hostesses Tiffany Tiffany Romero.com and Francesca @SITSGirls.
I met some wonderful new people. I also learned that some of the smallest comments can make the biggest impact. Thanks bunches SITS girls! Check out The SITS Girls website for more information about what they do, their community support for women in the blogging world and the Bloggy Boot Camp tour.