When I attended The Dinner Party Project: Blogger Edition, I met some of the most incredible people in Orlando. Full disclosure, I went in knowing four of the other guests, but left feeling a renewed desire to fling myself into blogging and better developing my brand. Fast forward a few months, Melissa contacted me after I won her Treat Yourself Contest. During our exchange, she inquired if I would be joining Blog Fête 2015, an intimate affair held right here in Orlando. BF falls in the wonderfully amazing and fabulous month of September, overlapping with my annual birthday celebration, better known as KarenFest! This year, I “lurch one step closer to 40” (as my father so delicately put it), so would it not behoove me to attend a party that I don’t have to plan during a whole month’s worth of celebrating?!
Counting down to my first Blog Conference!
After attending TDDP, I got settled into my new job, but utterly swept away in house hunting and moving. Now that things are settling down, I’m not only scheduling time to write, but devising an action plan to truly make my goals a reality. Looking back at my experience at TDDP, I left with plenty of inspiration, but I felt that I did have some unanswered questions. This was largely in part to having left aviation the month prior, only being at the new job for two weeks, and realizing with the job transition, RRWK would need a massive overhaul in content, direction, AND design. Though I tried keeping flying in the background, it wasn’t until I stopped that I realized what an underlying theme it became. I have tried participating in online forums and I am thoroughly enjoying the time I am spending with my Badass Blog Planner, but I love interacting with people.
Life Goal: Pajamas. ALL. DAY.
I needed time to allow the thought to percolate before making a decision. A newer personal goal is giving proper thought and consideration before committing to social obligations and blogging opportunities. In recent years, I let my personal fear of missing out dictate that I need to cram as much as humanly possible in between trips, meaning I inevitably needed days off from my days off. If I am to invest in my future, I need to seek balance and not simply sign up because everyone else already has. Living on the fringe of Orlando, I also need to consider subsequent costs such as gas and tolls. It isn’t easy having to be an adult at times, so I made a list and decided what I could realistically afford.
Knowing full well that I have been absolutely terrible about training for races, I calculated the potential money I would spend on participating on my ever growing wish list of races, including ones my friends asked me to participate in. One doesn’t need to participate in a race in order to run. I don’t have the fee waivers and endorsements which my friends have, making competitive running far more affordable. I can still run without paying for running shirts I never wear or duplicate medals which I already have. Putting the numbers on paper and coming to grips with how unhappy I have been with running as of late, I decided to re-appropriate the funds into improving my blog. I chose to invest in myself, so I am officially a registered Blog Fêtenista!
I’m putting myself first, and that is okay!
What sold me!
- The People: No, seriously. Knowing several of the ladies involved in this event, folks would be the brand new Mayor and Commissioners of Crazy Town to pass up such a lineup! Plus, it take some of the edge of the first time jitters!
- Hearts + Crafts: Sarah Hearts strikes again with a hour of crafty goodness!
- A Multitasking Keynote Speaker: NYC Photographer Brandi Schaffran-Webb of Alexis June Weddings isn’t simply planning on dazzling the masses and leaving with a mic drop. No, no! She’s also going to be taking headshot photos for the attendees. How cool is that?!
- Intimate Gathering: The guest list is capped at 25 participants, so it’s not just swift meet and greets and power networking, but one-on-one face time, roundtable discussions, and the opportunity to take home more than a goodie bag and some pointers.
- Roundtable Discussions: A perfect day in the KarenVerse would include continued plans for World Pajamination and freelance working from home, so I am looking forward to soaking in as much as I can from all the wonderful presenters and party-goers!
- East End Marketplace: Easily one of my favorite markets and event spaces in Orlando. It is a fantastic place with a beefy lineup of shops, dreamy courtyard, and fantastic event resources. (Must buy Lineage Coffee and stock up on local Florida stuff while I am there!!)
- Stay for Dinner!? After a day jampacked with excitement, they event caps off with a dinner party! I’ve had to stop looking at all the mouthwatering food photos on an empty stomach. These ladies entertain for a living, so a splendid time shall be had by all!
My editor, Barney, approves going so long as means more belly rubs in his future!
First Time Fêtenista Goals
- Business in the Front! Party in the Back! Many of the roundtables will tackle topics I find quite daunting such as business and design. I’m particularly hoping to take a wealth of knowledge away during Photoshop and Illustrator Tips, Social Media and Newsletters, Working with Brands, Blogging To Support A Business, and Basic Branding Design Rules. Every speaker is presenting on something I am familiar with and something holding me back, so I want to learn as much as possible.
- Actionable Goals: Currently, I am looking at the roundtable titles and brainstorming questions I may have and what I hope to apply. I cannot decide if I should prepare a notebook or bring my laptop? Looking at the photos from the previous year, I only catch a ghost here and there of a smart phone or camera. Should I travel light and leave the laptop at home?
- Networking Confidence: With the much larger Florida Blog Con 15 the following weekend, I would get a chance to practice my elevator pitch with a smaller group of people. Who knows? Someone might be able to help to tweak mine!
- Humidity-proof Hair – A girl can dream, can’t she? I want to wear my curlers in the car and style my hair once I get into EEM. Would that be too silly?
When selecting networking opportunities and conferences, how do you negotiate with yourself and your finances? What do you weigh in making your decision? In Florida, which other conferences or conventions would you recommend for blogging novices? What resources would you recommend for someone interested in learning to blog full-time?