2017 seems to be the year of conferences for me. I went to Mom 2.0 and BlogHer earlier this year and ended it with a bang at my very first Blogalicious conference. It was in Miami so I knew that I had to go. This conference was a little different for me though. This was the first time that my family had been apart since losing Tristan.
It was hard. All three of us were in three different cities trying to have fun, trying to figure out our new normal without completely losing our shit. I was so excited about Blogalicious before even getting there. I have always heard nothing but praise from other bloggers in the past years so when someone was selling a ticket at the last minute, I scooped it up without hesitation.
The drive was rough. 3 hours to Miami alone is not exactly the ideal scenario for a mama who’s mind constantly goes to the thoughts of her kids. Listening to music is one of my grieving techniques so I turned up the radio and just drove. On my drive down, I came across a new song that did nothing but stir up my emotions. It was the most beautiful song by Lecrae and Tori Kelly called I’ll Find You. I thought that it was the perfect reminder from Tristan that no matter where our family is that he’s always going to find us. He’ll always be there even when we think he’s not. It was exactly what I needed to shake off my grief and get the weekend going.
Once I arrived, I had the most amazing dinner with one of the sponsor brands. I was the youngest in the room filled with bloggers who’s influence is no doubt way bigger than mine. It was a humbling experience. The entire weekend, I was surrounded by other powerful women in the blogging world and was determined to soak up as much information as possible. That weekend I learned so much, not only about myself but about the people who I need in my tribe and most importantly about business.
Here are the 7 essential business lessons that I learned while at Blogalicious.
Lesson # 1: Know your goals and have a plan.
They say that a goal without a plan is just a wish. I can’t say enough how true that is. So many times throughout the weekend I heard others talk about the goals for their future and how they were going to get there. When filming a video with Kia, I got asked the question “where do I see myself in 5 years?”
5 years ago I could’ve given you a solid answer with no holes in my plan. In the last year, I’ve learned that no matter how hard you plan God’s plan for your life will always supersede yours. Still, I managed to give an answer that I was happy with (you have to watch the video to find out what my answer was).
Do I still have goals? Yes. Do I still have a plan for how I’m going to reach them? Absolutely! But I know that I have to roll with the curveballs as they come. Make sure that when you’re planning for your business, you do the same. Be fluid with your plan and be able to make changes as needed. Not everything will always go as planned and you don’t want to be disappointed or discouraged if your plan doesn’t work out. Take every “failure” as a lesson not only in business but in life.
Lesson #2: Your brand is more than just a pretty logo.
I’ve always been a firm believer in this. A lot of people starting out think that their brand is simply just a logo. They’re wrong. Your brand is more than a pretty logo. It’s graphics, it’s the people who represent your brand, it’s how people perceive your business.
You’re more than just a logo and a pretty blog. How do you carry yourself in public? When you meet followers in person, are you the same person that they engage with online? This is probably the most important lesson that I learned at Blogalicious. I was unfortunate enough to meet a handful of women who were nothing like they are online. I was disappointed. I didn’t expect them to think that we were best friends but I expected them to be warm and welcoming like online. They taught me exactly how I didn’t want to be. Represent your brand in the best possible way every single day because you never know who’s watching.
Lesson #3: Having the right people in your tribe matters.
Remember a couple weeks ago when I talked about finding the right tribe? This doubles back to that. To be successful in business you absolutely have to have the right people in your corner, not only rooting for you but helping you get back up when you just can’t get it together. You need people who believe in you.
Lesson #4: Don’t sit on your dreams.
We’ve all done this at some point whether the dream was big or small. I don’t know how you feel about sitting on your dreams but I hate it. All it does for me is create unnecessary anxiety and angst. Don’t sit on your dreams. Find a way to do whatever it is you’ve been dreaming of. There’s always a way.
If you feel like you can’t do it alone, ask your tribe for help. That’s what they’re their for. They’re there to support and help guide you when you need direction. Trust me, someone in your tribe knows someone who can help get shit done.
Lesson #5: Be authentic. Tell your true story.
I hear this at every single blogger conference that I go to. It’s probably because the blogging world is saturated. Let’s be honest, how many fashion or beauty bloggers do you follow? How many of them are original? Probably not as many as you think.
Authenticity is gold. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. We all know that blogging and social media only gives our followers a small glimpse of what our life really looks like but make that small glimpse as authentic as possible because there’s only one you. If you stay true to yourself and who you are while blogging it’ll get you a lot farther than copying someone else. It’s probably a lot easier to be yourself too. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing. Stay in your lane and focus on your work. If you do that, it’ll be easier finding what brands you align with.
Lesson #6: Know yourself. Know your audience better.
Knowing yourself is crucial because like I said, the blogging world is saturated. It’s easy to fall into a general category with other bloggers. If you know who you are and what your goals are, no one can tell you anything different. Plus you have your tribe to keep you on track.
Your audience is the key to success. You should get to know them like the back of your hand. Kia is a prime example of a brand who knows who their audience is. There were hundreds of women at the conference who all love Sephora and were fiending over the new Fenty Beauty collection. You know what they were giving out in their suite? FENTY BEAUTY. You know what they were giving out for the test drives? SEPHORA GIFT CARDS. Take note in “knowing your audience 101” from Kia. They knew who their audience was, how to draw them in. They made it their job to connect with each and every person at that conference so that they could make a lasting impression.
Do yourself a favor and get to know your audience. Who are they? What do they want? What type of content do they want to see from your blog? The best way to get this info is to ask them. Put together a quick survey and post it on your blog, send it to your email list, and post about it on social media. If you find that you’re not getting the response that you want, incentivize them. People love free stuff and you need answers.
Lesson #7: It’s impossible to win alone.
Start building your tribe today, if you haven’t already, because it’s impossible to do it all. Hire a VA if you need to. They can help you mark some of those tasks off of your to-do list. Find a great graphic designer to help you create killer graphics if graphic design isn’t your thing. You want to make sure that you’re staying “on brand” so spend the extra cash for someone that can get it done right and probably faster than you can.
You can’t win alone. Do yourself a favor and start investing in yourself and your business today. No more excuses.
I’m so happy that I made the choice to go to Blogalicious. Want to know what’s in store for me in the future? Here’s a fun video that I filmed in the back of the 2017 Kia Cadenza inside of their sponsor suite.