May 2, 2017

Thoughts on My First Blog Conference & Investing in Myself

Two weekends ago, I woke up nice and early (you know, instead of sleeping in until 6:30am) to attend my very first blog conference.

I've been thinking about attending a blog conference for a while now, but could never pull the trigger. First of all, they are a bit of investment and oftentimes cost a few hundred dollars. Second, I just never thought I was good enough. I never thought To & Fro could hang with the "big boys".

When I saw that BConnected 2017 would be held downtown Toronto, I knew it was my shot to step out from behind my computer, push myself out of my comfort zone, connect with others and, most importantly, invest in myself.  

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017

I must admit, attending BConnected came at the perfect timing for both myself and To & Fro. Being on maternity leave the past year, I poured every single second (of nap time) into my personal web space, growing my community, engaging, building connections and monetizing more than I ever had before.

But, not long after returning to work, family priorities began to take over. I know this is to be expected, and I am happy that I had my priorities in order, but I also couldn't help but feel a bit guilty. I had invested so much time and effort into To & Fro over the previous 11 months, and as less and less of my time was being dedicated to keeping up with all of the hard work I had put in, there were times that I seriously considered shutting this space down.

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017
 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017

The weekend-long conference was filled with listening to social media experts, networking with brands and connecting bloggers that I have only ever talked to online. 

Aside form meeting many new bloggers, I also had the chance to meet Linda from A Labour of Life, Sonya from House of Kerrs and Cyn and her daughter Sam from Creative Cynchronicity and Gagen Girls, all whom I have only ever connected with via social. 

And that's what BConnected was all about. Connecting with others. 

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017

Take Home Messages from my First Blogger Conference

1. Consistency is your best friend when it comes to monetizing. Have a schedule and stick to you. You readers will learn what to expect.

2. Understand who your audience is. Is your majority audience 25-34 year old females? Mine is. That means when I curate content, I speak to that demographic.

3. Forsake perfection. Don't compare yourself to others. You are your own individual self. The blogging world is not about competition, but about supporting one another. 

4. True influence is not about awareness, but about action. If someone reads your post that's great. But, if someone acts on your post, even better. You have true influence. 

5. Engagement is the thing that really matters. Don't stress over your likes. Brands want to see how you are engaging with your audience.

6. You are a trusted voice to many. Simple. 

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017

It is take home message #6 that really stuck with me after leaving the conference on Sunday. As a blogger, you are a trusted voice to many. People come to your webpage for stories, advice, activities, recipes and much, much more. You are the expert. 

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017

In the end, I'm glad I didn't retire this little space of mine. Turns out, attending BConnected was the fuel I needed to keep going. Walking through those doors last weekend was one of the best investments I could have made for both myself and To & Fro. I left feeling energized, inspired, connected and armed with the tools I need to take To & Fro to the next level. Even in a room full of social media superstars, it turns out, I am good enough. My unique, trusted voice is more than good enough. 

 BConnected Conference Toronto 2017
All photos taken by Mostafa Photography.

A big THANK YOU to all of the organizers, sponsors, brands and bloggers who made BConnected such a success and an amazing weekend. I am sad that it will be the last conference of this name, but am excited for the relationships and connections I made and for the future of To & Fro.

And of course, I can't end this post without thanking my wonderful husband and inlaws for putting their weekend aside to watch baby girl while I stepped out of my comfort zone and invested in myself.

Have you ever attended a conference? How do you invest in yourself? I'd love to hear!

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