I attended my first Blogalicious Conference*. It was held at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore. Yes, driving to and from the conference venue would've been ideal considering B-more is my neighbor (neighbor = 30-40 minute drive). But, nope. Instead, I decided to make it a staycation.
Great choice on my part.
This year's theme was Build Your Own Empire. All of the classes/discussions prepped for the weekend had something to do with creating your brand's empire. For someone like myself who still looks at my blog as a 'hobby' and 'passion' (and there ain't nothing wrong with that!), I would say the theme hit the spot. I made sure to choose classes that would lit some kind of 'business mind' fire within me.
Here are photos and some takeaways from each day.
The host - and Co-Founder of Blogalicious - Stacey Ferguson gave us some serious food for thought during her "The Next Level of Blogging: How to Become a ROCKSTAR Influencer" session. When she casually mentioned that she has never ever paid for Blogalicious out of pocket, I was floored. Yep, not even the first one way back in '09. Still floored. Securing the venue, food, drinks, sponsors, etc. All done without dishing out a penny from her wallet. Amazing.
Arsha Jones of Tees in the Trap and Capital City Mumbo Sauce gave us a few pointers on how to hone into your skills and make some cash from it. Her class was "How To Diversify Your Income and Make Six-Figures by Selling Products on Your Blog". She started her t-shirt brand when she was looking for t-shirts that had slogans/slangs that spoke to her DC upbringing. Realizing there were none out there that appealed to her, Arsha started her own. She and her husband continues to make t-shirts at home with their screen printing machine. In regards to her other brand, Arsha saw a market for creating a signature mumbo sauce to sell. That's it. A couple of takeaways -
- I am my customer. Makes sense. While she said this more for selling products, I gave it a different approach. Let's say with this blog. Yeah, I'm writing it for you guys but really really? I'm writing it for myself. And if I'm reading it and not liking the content, then God knows what you, the readers, think of it as well. So, I gotta bring my 'A' game each time into each post. Because it's for me and you to enjoy.
- Leverage Up. Basically, if you're secure with your skill(s) and know you can make some money from it, don't sell yourself short. Create a price list that you feel matches that skill set of yours. One way or another, a customer will pay because, hey, they needed your service in the first place.
|Monique Malcom of The Visionary Journal|
|Mattie James of Mattieologie|
These three inspirational ladies above presented the class with "Building Your Empire with Vision and Leaving A Legacy". And what a class it was. My favorite of the weekend. A few takeaways -
- Your life is your muse. Don't be afraid to create it.
- There is no consistency without commitment.
- Perfection is excess baggage. GET RID OF IT.
- Certain things only flourish with YOUR touch. Every time I read that sentence, I get chills. It actually injects a bit of confidence in me, believe it or not. Like, hell yeah. I do have some skills that when injected into a project, makes it bloom even more. Claim that shit.
It took every fiber in me to wake up, get ready, and head down to catch Nicole Water's "Pitch, Pray, Slay: Leveraging Live Streaming to Build Your Brand and Your Bank Account". This was a session that I needed to hear because if you may or may not have noticed, I'm yet to do any video post. Not on YouTube. Not on Periscope. Not on Snapchat. Not even on Instagram! Why? I just get all awkward and fidgety when I have to speak into a camera. Most of my friends (both bloggers and non) believe that I'd actually thrive in those live streaming platforms. Ha! Anywho, Nicole is very passionate about Periscope and has done well in that medium especially since it's still a new-ish platform with more people watching then using. Takeaways -
- Let go of instant satisfaction. In the blogsville world, I think we all deal with this one way or another. Once we don't see the numbers we expect or the followers we thought we would've gained, our confidence goes sour.
- Show people how to handle you.
- 'Expert' in the media is to be 'Expert enough'.
We had the pleasure of having our Special Speaker be Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Her presentation focused on "Empire Building in Baltimore". The Mayor, who recently announced that she won't be running for a 2nd term, talked about her rise into politics and how obstacles in the form of naysayers tried to stop her path to greatness. My favorite quote from the weekend actually came from her - "You can't imagine how a fly haircut and lip gloss can affect some people". So much word.
While waiting for my next class to start, I visited a couple of sponsors suites including a SEO Q&A with Nsenga Burton of The Burton Wire. You have no idea how refreshing it was to have a one-on-one discussion about a topic that continues to fly right over my head. Nsenga was informative, thoughtful and ever so patient answering my 100 and 1 questions.
Also during this time, I visited the SheKnows Media booth. A representative from the brand (mad at myself that I didn't catch her name!) spoke about "Owning Your Expertise". It impressed me so much that immediately she was done, I rushed to the booth hoping to get a chance to speak with her. Well, it seems, so did 5 other people. Waiting for my turn, I struck up a conversation with another representative who convinced me to film a one-minute bio about myself and my brand. Yikes. The hell did I get myself into?!! After a little coaxing from not only her but also the cameraman and director, I gave it a shot. And you know what? IT WAS TERRIFYING. But not according to the small crowd I garnered who gave me a applause once I was done. They all agreed that it was "so cute!" and the director claimed it was the best one he's filmed so far. Yeah right! We shall see once I get the video clip in a couple of weeks.
|Me with Marie and ChiChi of Supple Chic|
My last scheduled class of the day (and weekend!) involved Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista. Her class, "Reputations, Relationships, & Returns", gave us tips on blog etiquette. Highlights -
- Greet with a "Hello". From speaking to a person or replying back to a PR. Doing so makes it personal.
- A bad thought process to have is WIFFM (What's In It For Me). When pitching to a brand's PR make sure the focus is on what you can do for them.
- Be okay with walking away from opportunities if it doesn't value your work.
And that about rounds it up. If you read all of that, you're a trooper...and thanks!
|A quick picture with Stacey during the Bloggers Going Places Closing Party presented by Toyota|
To view more photos click here.
*And a special thanks to Whitney for pushing me to attend this year's Conference. It did me good.