|The Silhouette booth|
Heads up, most of these pictures were taken in the Smilebooth or by Brooke Dennis or Justin Hackworth who, as it turns out, is just as incredibly nice as he is talented. I took a handful of iPhone photos and that was it, really. I was pretty focused on other stuff so it was nice to hop on the Flickr feed and find some pictures to share!
|There are pictures of me taking notes in almost every panel I went to. I am a VERY SERIOUS note taker, apparently. One who is worth photographing.|
The keynote on Wednesday came from Joy of Oh Joy. She was wonderful to listen to- smart and well-spoken. Over and over she talked about fantastic opportunities that came to her because SHE worked hard to get those opportunities. SHE asked, sent a resume, made a contact, followed up. I'm very much the type of person who likes to sit back and let the emails come to me, but that's not going to get me where I want to be. I heard this in a couple panels- it's up to me to be proactive and make stuff happen.
|In a group of 500+ women I somehow managed to be pretty close to first in line for food every single time. Hashtag pregnant.|
2. It's who you know
I already sort of knew this but the chance to really network at Alt drove it home. I got my Babble gig through Janssen. Some of the sponsors I've worked with through my blog have come through blog friends. Connections and contacts are how you hear about opportunities, connect with people who can help you, and meet your goals. Which brings me to....
|Reachel, Kaylynn, Camille and me at the Garden Party|
A while back my blog grew really fast in a short period of time. Then I started dealing with my thyroid stuff and stopped blogging quite so regularly and my numbers crashed. Since I've been wading back into blogging I've been racking my brain trying to figure out WHAT helped my blog do so well back before all my health crap started. I was honestly stumped. Finally, I was sitting in a panel about growing a small blog and they started talking about collaboration. And I realized I used to be really good about that and THAT is what helped me grow. I LOVE working with others...I'm not sure why I've stopped. A lot of the goals I've set for the next few months involve working on series and projects with other people (have an idea for collaborating with me? I'd love to hear it! Kayla@frecklesinapril.com).
|ASOS dress alert! At the design camp for photo styling.|
4. Know your strengths and weaknesses and act accordingly
Reachel, Camille and Emily put on a panel called MBAs turned Bloggers: the Business of Blogging. It was at the same time as Janssen's panel and so they invited me to the dry-run on Saturday night. About 3 minutes in I kicked myself for not bringing my notebook and started typing notes into my phone as fast as I could (whenever their slideshow is available I will share it!). There was SO much good stuff in there! They talked about the SWOT formula- strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. It was interesting to think of me and my blog in those terms and I quickly narrowed down what I consider my strengths that I need to be better about incorporating and also picked out a few big old weaknesses that I need to spend some time on.
|Baby bumps of Alt Summit|
I mean this in several different ways.
A. Figure out your blog's focus. Mine has been a little all over the place and a quick brainstorming session with my sister on Friday morning helped put me back on track. I had an interesting conversation with a sponsor on Thursday when I gave him my tagline ("Food, fashion and anything else I feel like"). He said, "Oh good, so many people come to our booth and say theirs is a 'lifestyle' blog. I don't really know how to respond to that. Is it something I can work with? I have no idea." If you want to work with brands then you need to know your focus and if/how it can help them reach their goals.
B. Be productive in focused stretches then give yourself time to go live life. Blogging can be a HUGE time suck (especially when you're posting in multiple places) and I always do better when I block out chunks of time to sit and be productive and then release myself to go do other stuff away from my computer.
C. Where do you want to be? Goals give you focus and keep you motivated! I haven't had any goals in a while and I was feeling really uninspired by my blog. Alt helped me rediscover WHY I love blogging and gave me some things to reach for.
|That's me, Camille and Emily at the very back. Janssen talking to Meg. Miranda on the right talking to someone whose name I didn't catch (BAD networker!)|
And, just for kicks, here are some of my iPhone snaps:
|The Bing sponsor party was catered by the Chow food struck and it was the best food I had during the conference (by far)|
|Janssen presenting! It was so good.|
|Camille is awesome.|
|The Grand America!|
|I met Gabby!|
|The Garden Party!|
Overall I am SO glad I went. Alt gave me so much to think about and work on that it's borderline overwhelming. But it's also exciting and I feel like I've got my mojo back.