This past Saturday I attended my very first blogger conference! I’ve been looking for a conference to attend in the Chicago area, but unfortunately there just aren’t that many! But I came across Go Blog Social through Midwest Style Bloggers, although I’m not a fashion blogger, I love reading fashion blogs, I’ve found tons of local blogs through Midwest Style Bloggers! When I saw the post regarding the Go Blog Social Chicago Pop Up I knew I had to go!
Chicago is really filled with tons of cool collaborative spaces like Workshop, where business owners, educators and really anyone can rent the space for events, conferences, classes or even just to work for the day. I really need to be better with my photography and should have snapped some more shots of the cool loft space over in River West. If you’re a small business looking for office space in the city there are quite a few shared office spaces all over, including downtown. Spaces like these are really awesome for startups! I’ve been to a couple (where some pretty heavy weight startups run out of too) and they’re awesome spaces!
Go Blog Social definitely spoiled us! We were greated with gift bags filled with pens, notepads from Minted.com, earrings from Kendra Scott (which by the way I’m completely 100% obsessed with!) some body products from Hemp and Honey Plus and a super cute coffee mug! Good thing too! I needed a new coffee mug! On top of that we had treats for breakfast, fresh brewed coffee and pizza from CoalFire (which was totally delicious btw!)
I really love attending educational seminars like these. I’ve gone to a business seminar every year for the last 5 years and every time I go to one they are incredibly motivating, inspiring and really boost my productivity! This mini conference was no different. It was really great to meet a few girls who’s blogs I read on a regular basis ( Like Caitlin from Gussied Up! Thanks for the advice girlfriend!) and to hear some really useful advice on blogging in general.
Its been exactly one year since I’ve started blogging and I’ve dramatically changed my blog in the last month. Although I struggled with straying from my sexual health focus from previously, I’m actually really glad I did. It has made me realize that I have much more to say and really love the lifestyle aspect of my blog! I really hope you do too! This conference really cemented my decision to migrate to a wider variety of topics on the blog, so I’m really glad I went.
The beauty of seminars and guest speakers is that each person takes away whats meaningful and important to them. Its different for everyone. Thats why if you have an opportunity to attend one I’d say Go for it! So here are a few of my takeaways!
Alison from Sassy Moms In the City
Alison from Sassy Moms in the City had a ton of really great information for us. She’s not only a Certified Meeting Planner but a marketing pro. She had not only a lot of great tips for pitching your brand from a blogger’s perspective but also valuable information from a marketing expert’s perspective. I love that she’s on both sides of the fence! Its definitely something I strive for!
I think the number one thing I learned from Alison was to be consistent. Whether it be your content, your posting schedule, and social media. Consistency is something I struggle with. With all the changes I’ve been making its been hard to find that sweet spot of what times work best for posting, making sure I establish a schedule of themed posts and just making sure I set up a plan that works. One thing Alison mentioned that I really took as an important key to developing my blog was that your post themes need to be consistent. If you post randomly about one topic, say for me beauty, its not necessary to create a full on page for the 3-4 beauty posts you’ve done. Once you’ve consistently started posting on a topic then create a page for it. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head! I have a gazillion and one pages and categories but I don’t always post about them weekly…so its time to start streamlining my content and focusing more on the topics I love to post about and being more consistent about it.
Helena from Sweeter CPA
We also had a tax accountant, Helena from Sweeter CPA give a presentation as well. Alot of the tax information I’ve already been aware of because I’ve had my own small business for the last 6 years. I also have my own tax accountant so I just give him my stuff and he takes care of the rest. But for my small business I was operating as an independent contractor so its slightly different tax wise. With a goal of hopefully turning my blog into a monetized business there are a few legal things I wasn’t aware of. And I’m definitely glad to hear her speak!
Its important if you are making money off your blog or running a business to get a business license. There are a few different types and for myself I’m not planning on forking out the $600 in Illinois to get a LLC license. But as sole proprietor of the blog, I still need a DBA license (since the blog isn’t my name). If you run your own blog, and perhaps it goes by another name besides your name, its worth a look into a DBA license. Helena informed us that in Illinois its $50 for a DBA. In other states it could be more or less, you have to check with your county.
After a full day of seminars I have a growing shopping list for the blog!
Cait from Pretty and Fun
Cait from Pretty and Fun gave a really good presentation on finding balance. She’s like me, works a full time job that she doesn’t want to give up to blog full time. I’m definitely not expecting to blog full time (although when I daydream I can only imagine working from home in my pjs) so finding a balance between work and blog is challenging. A calendar has definitely helped me this past month. I also carry a little notebook around to jot down ideas for posts. Cait’s suggestions were great, she not only talked about knowing when to bring in help; like hiring a designer for the blog and a photographer for style posts, but also being OVER organized. Maybe one day I can really start developing some better style posts (I like to think I’m stylish but in reality when I get up in the morning I throw on black pants and a sweater and call it a day) and hire a photographer to do some shots. The organization really struck me, mostly because I have seen how beneficial being organized can be. Creating my editorial calendar really changed how I blog. But after hearing Cait (and Alison) speak about streamlining, being organized, I want to revamp my calendar a little more and get on the social media scheduling. Social media terrifies me. I keep telling myself I gotta do it…then I get overwhelmed and freak and just ignore it. Not so good. Got any tips for me for managing social media?
There were a bunch of other great presenters as well, these three things just really stuck with me and truly are going to influence how I blog from here on out. The Go Blog Social Pop Up was really cool and if they ever host another here in Chicago I’ll definitely attend! Blogging really is a place for learning and conferences like these give you lots of awesome ideas, a great way to meet some new people and learn a ton!