This may seem weird, but one of the things I’ve been looking forward to most about starting a business with Aileen, is attending conferences. I love conferences, at least small, relatively obscure ones. Not massive gatherings. I don’t like crowds, or lines. It’s an opportunity for a diverse group of people, with a common interest to come together and learn from one another. When Aileen was writing romance a few years back, I would go to conferences with her. I don’t write and I don’t particularly like or read romance novels, but I LOVED going to those conferences. I would sit in on sessions that I knew nothing about and just listen.
Conferences are expensive, so we put it off until the right opportunity came our way. The ConnectHer conference was a perfect fit, a smallish conference run by women in an affordable, easy travel destination. There are some amazing deals to be had in Vegas in the summertime. We got a room at the SLS for $100/night that was comfortable, clean and quiet. We spent a lot of time in that room.
Like Aileen said, we are total newbies to this world, with almost nothing to offer our fellow conference goers, but that hotel conference room was FILLED with smart, interesting and knowledgeable women, willing to share that knowledge with us. There are few things I like better than learning from other women.
My first round table was with Mary Chayko, Ph.D., a sociology professor from Rutgers and author of the book Superconnected: The Internet, Digital Media and Techno-Social Life. She had me at “research based social science.” In 45 minutes, she gave a succinct, yet fascinating primer for establishing and sustaining authentic relationships using social media and still left time for the table to discuss their individual projects, blogs and businesses.
After a surprisingly tasty catered conference lunch, I moved on to Instagram tips and tricks with Romy Schorr. If you read the blog a couple of weeks ago, you know that I have an unhealthy relationship with Instagram. Romy is an influencer with over 74K followers on IG and is smart, fashionable and savvy. She gave tangible, easy to follow tips on organic growth and Instastories. You can thank her for giving me the courage to post a couple. Yes, I know I’ve got more learning to do, but I needed a push to have more fun with the platform and not to take it quite so seriously.
Another highlight for me was the workshop by Cari Bacon on SEO. I thought poor Aileen’s head was going to explode, but my neurons were firing as Cari introduced me to the language of search engine optimization. I am a serious nerd. So much to learn!
Aside from the learning and networking, our conference weekend was filled with lots of great food and libations. We even bought ridiculous matching t-shirts that say “That’s a Horrible Idea. What time?” which we wore home on the plane. It’s funny and ironic because we were in bed before 10pm every night except one and we took zero risks, but we still like to think we’re edgy. If you want a boring, middle aged lady’s guide to having fun in Vegas, hit us up. We’ve got you covered.