You can't just "google it." Well, you can. But that's outrageous.
It's surprising how many business owners and bloggers there are that don't find conferences beneficial to their business or brand. Don't be those people! This isn't just about making new, cool friends, or shoving your backpacks full of swag. There is real opportunity to get a BOAT-LOAD of stuff that can absolutely help you grow your business. Just a fashion blogger from Utah, but you're a little curious about how you can make money off of it? You should be here in August. You started a business but you're having trouble getting real, tangible information because you don't know many business owners? You should be here in August.
Conferences offer a wealth of information you just can't afford to miss out on. Yes, you can google, "How to make money off a blog" or "Ways social media can grow my business" - but when was that info posted? How recent is their data? How relevant is that data to your blog, business, or brand? Conferences specialize and dial in on what you need for your business.
The absolute biggest reason conferences are incredible is the networking opportunities. Not only do you get to meet a bunch of great people and begin some great friendships - but you will form professional business relationships the other bloggers that didn't attend the conference only dream about.
So, what can you get from these relationships? Here's how you can get the MOST out of a conference, specifically Texas Style Council!
Get to know the teachers!
We have a VERY diverse group of ladies leading our workshops this year. The list of speakers can be found here. Do your homework before the conference by finding them on social media and connecting with them early. Find out what they'll be teaching by checking out our schedule here. Check out their businesses or blogs and once you know what they'll be teaching on, start writing down your questions. You're going to want to pick their brain - connecting with them at the conference will be a great opportunity to do that. Obviously you probably won't be able to ask them 21 questions, BUT connecting with them face to face and having a personal interaction will make the communication online that much easier. They're more likely to respond in a timely manner to someone they know and have met. Trust me - the women (and man) that are speaking at this conference have a LOT of information they can provide you. If you're even the LEAST bit curious about how to reach out to a different demographic, now is your time to meet women who already do reach a different demographic than you!
Get to know the sponsors!
Our sponsors this year are killer. They are going to expect you to have questions and they encourage a lot of interaction. Check out our sponsors here first, and know who you really want to connect with. Don't think that just because you have a fashion blog, that you can only get beneficial information or relationships out of fashion-related sponsors. How great would it be to walk up to a food brand, or a teeth whitening brand, and instantly connect about how you can partner up to get each others names out there?
This conference totally is so similar to school. Write/type every important thing to you during this conference. This is a one-time opportunity, so the worst thing is actually going home and forgetting everything you learned. You're going to receive a lot of information and unfortunately we don't remember everything our brain stores. Take great notes. Effective note-taking at conferences require you to be focused, so if you're text-happy, then put away your phone while you're supposed to be focused on what the speaker has to say. When you're collecting business cards, do NOT just throw them out. Write down quick notes on the back to help you remember what you want to ask them, or how you want to connect with them in the future. For example, if I got a card from Monique, of Curves and Chaos, I'd jot down "pick her brain about Full Figured Fashion Week." You paid money to be there - get something out of it!
Do your homework every night!
When the conference is all over, and your brain is about to explode, you'll be in "conference-high" mode. You're going to be super pumped to get back to work and start going through your notes. Only to find that once life starts, the conference high starts to wear off and you are far less pumped to get back to work. Each day after the conference, I highly recommend taking out 20 minutes at the MOST to go through your notes, and start adding things do your day planner. If you wrote down, "make sure to use more photos on Facebook page" then start scheduling which photos you could use, or which days you'll post photos. Or, if you wrote down, "find someone to manage my social media" - write down who you think is a good candidate and schedule a meeting with them. Add an action to all of your notes and schedule it. By the time you get home, 90% of the work is done, allowing you to relive the conference high every time you look at your planner.
Ask better questions!
This is sort of like dating. Skip the shallow questions, like "how's the weather where you're from?" and go for the deeper questions. Ask our sponsors questions that don't require a 5 minute answer, but require some sort of thought and that reveals more about their character. Ask them how they start their day to make it productive. Ask them if they have one business principal they live by. Ask them who influenced them to start what they do now. Ask them why they're at Texas Style Council!
Conferences truly force you to think differently, and work differently. For Texas Style Council, we've worked hard to bring the most valuable and excellent workshop leaders because we know what your time means to you. You're invested in a conference that should benefit you, and if you haven't invested in the conference yet - I recommend it. If you're on the fence about whether or not this can be valuable to you, know that it can.
Now, what are you waiting for? Get even more awesome by coming here in August.