This past Monday morning I arrived back in Miami on the heels of my first ever whirlwind Alt Summit experience. My mind is racing, my to-do lists are long, and I’m fired up and ready to re-brand Glitter, Inc. with a whole lot of intention. I know not all of you are bloggers or business-owners, but I think some of the big concepts and ideas I learned at Alt can help us all to kick metaphorical butt. And in case you were wondering, Alt is this massive conference-meets-gathering of writers, bloggers, photographers, artists, designers, crafters and filmmakers. We’re inundated with inspirational speakers, teachers, collaborative sessions and seminars and hands-on roundtables. (This post gets a little long: if lofty goals and dream-catching are in your future, read on, and if you just want to talk shoes or cookies or power naps – I’m still that jet-lagged, comment and say so!)
Wednesday afternoon after several hours plane-hopping from South Florida, I got to The Grand America Hotel, checked in, threw on a cute outfit and made it to dinner party number one. That Wednesday night we were sent to restaurants across the city to have dinner with different brands and sponsors. I had dinner at Faustina with a group of great bloggers, Microsoft, Everyday Food (and Martha Stewart Living), and the crazy-talented Sarah Carey (Editor in Chief of Everyday Food). It was awesome.
Bright and early Thursday morning, I dove into seminars. Every hour, we were offered three different options, divided by tracks (beginning bloggers, more experienced bloggers, and general topics), and though I fall somewhere in the middle, I wanted to go to everything.
I started out the morning with a cup of coffee and a lesson in “Getting Past Zero.” I also learned some great information about affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, working with major ad networks, and monetizing. I took a seminar in the ever-elusive work/life balance: amazing. Branding your personal story is huge. One of my favorite talks was a seminar taught by Jasmine Star. She was worth all of the hype.
Bright and early Friday morning, I went to a seminar I had been dying to go to. Erin Loechner’s talk on staying organized was a life-saver. Erin is ridiculously sweet and her personality is infectious — she also posted her notes on her site, Design for Mankind – so helpful – so be sure to check them out!)
I then followed that up with a roundtable discussion with Random House (you heard me right … Random House – the publishing company.) It took a lot of self-control to avoid screeching with sheer excitement at the table. I learned about the pitch, what Random House looks for, and why being a blogger (and having a built-in audience) is a great starting point (more inward screeching.)
I sat in on a fantastic seminar all about building offline events, big and small. Advanced Blogging Skills might have been the most useful seminar of all!
A stand-out speaker for me was Stefan Stagmeister, world famous graphic designer and an Alt keynote speaker. He was incredibly well-read, funny, daring, and shared details about his upcoming documentary the happy film. We were able to preview the first 12 minutes of the film and I know I’ll have to watch the rest as soon as it’s released. His mantra: to “do more of the stuff I like and less of the stuff I hate.” His TED talk on “the 7 rules for making more happiness,” covers some of the things he shared with us, and I’ll be getting to that ASAP (… I’m a geek for TED talks). According to Stagmeister, “The only risk is not taking any risks.”
Saturday’s classes were specially-tailored break-out sessions. I got the chance to sew awkwardly (yes, I’m that awful) with Bernina and then I sat in on an amazing seminar all about Media Kits.
I also had the chance to make amazing friends, put faces to names I’d long known only on the internet, and came away with so many great stories.
Finally on Sunday, hubby and I explored Salt Lake City, took a bunch of pictures, checked out a few breweries (a must on his list), and ate pancakes. All in all, a fabulous experience!
And without further ado (though I know there was plenty of gabbing along the way!), my big list of Alt Summit 2013 takeaways:
If you’re new to blogging, or just need a helping hand, some sage advice, or tips and tricks for upping your blog ante, don’t forget I offer consulting!