Top 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs Attending BlogHer '12
It's less than a week away... BlogHer'12 hits New York City once again. If you're a small business owner attending the conference now is the time to prepare to make the most of your time there. You could invest your time and marketing dollars anywhere, but you chose to do so by being a part of the high-energy, high-content land of diverse voices known as BlogHer (and we're glad you did!). So let's get down to what you can do right now and after you step foot in NYC to have a great time and build your business.
Set Your Intentions
Getting clear on your intentions and goals for attending the conference is very important. It can be very easy to get swept up in travel details and forget the most important thing - preparing to be successful while you're there!
- What are your top 3 reasons for attending the conference?
- What are your personal and business goals for the event?
- How do you want to feel while you're there?
- What do you want your experience to be like?
A few minutes of self-reflection will pay exponential dividends later in terms of self-confidence and your ability to receive all you are meant to receive from the event.
Devise a Plan
There is an awful lot of programming, parties, and people at a BlogHer conference. If you are a newbie, there is very little that can prepare you for the energy of this event. Think of it as drinking from a fire hose (but in a good way!). That said, don't be afraid - embrace it! The absolute best way to avoid overwhelm is to take some time before you arrive to sit down and plan. Get a sense of:
- What sessions you absolutely want to attend?
- Who do you definitely want to meet?
- What do you want to learn?
Then get out a trusty highlighter and conference guide and have at it. (Hint: use a virtual highlighter for the mobile app.)
Attending a BlogHer conference is like packing for a business trip on steroids. Don't fret! Those who have been there and done that before can save you untold gray hairs and make you uber-efficient in your packing and preparation. There are tech tips and tools, what to wear, and all the advice you'll ever need. I can remember my first conference in 2009 and how out of place I felt (even as a speaker!). Yet there were so many awesome people there to take me under their wing that it was a breeze and a fabulous time. So take time to prepare and then relax. People have your back AND you're in NYC not the outback somewhere, so if you forget something my guess is you can find a place to buy what you need within a 6 block radius.
You can't do it all. Leave gaps in your plan for down time. Put a priority on the different things you want to see and do.
- Which are topmost in importance for reaching your goals?
- Which can be released if need be?
- Where in the course of these days are you going to just chill out, decompress, and take care of yourself?
Pacing yourself is the most productive and compassionate thing you can do.
You Are Your Brand
If you're representing your business (which is always true if you're an entrepreneur!), remember that you are your brand. That doesn't mean you can't loosen up and have a good time at parties and other extracurricular events. Just remember everything can and will be photographed and shared later. That means in less time that it takes to sneeze your brand of the moment can be spread far and wide across the internet. Be yourself, have fun, and also stay within the desired integrity of your brand. Whether that means you need to set hard limits for yourself in partyland or simply go with the flow is up to you. Just be conscious that how you show up is a reflection of your brand.
Give Yourself Permission
Gathering in large groups can bring back all sorts of memories (good and bad) from the past. You know, high school moments, college moments, and other large gatherings of women. Suddenly buttons you thought you dealt with in years of therapy have been pushed. The peer pressure (real or perceived) can feel high. Like somehow if you don't do "x" you won't measure up. Give yourself permission to want what you want. To have the goals that you have. To do what you feel called to do at any point in the weekend. You don't need anyone's permission or approval but your own. Trust and honor what you need and what you feel.
Be Your Authentic Self
Whenever you enter big crowds where it seems like everybody knows everybody else (total illusion, by the way), it can be easy to suddenly feel intimidated. You can lose your confidence (even if it was high before you left home) and quickly fall prey to wanting to run and hide in your room. Don't do it! There are people at this conference you are meant to meet. Otherwise you wouldn't be called to attend. Breathe deeply (and when it doubt, breathe deeply some more!) and just allow yourself to BE and let things unfold. Who you are is a good thing. Don't try to be someone you're not. We want to meet the real you.
Planning is critical. Equally critical is being able to embrace spontaneity and roll with the unexpected. That is part of the adventure of the whole weekend. For even the biggest control freaks (I am a recovering one!) I know it can feel strange to dance in the moment, but trust me, you'll be glad you did. Allow yourself to surf the wave if you will and enjoy the moment (even as you keep your bigger goals in mind).
As I always say, if you can't have fun in your business, why bother?! Have fun in your own way. Whether that is partying all night, finding quiet spaces to connect with others, taking time to see some of NYC, or simply grabbing some time in solitude for yourself do what moves you. Fun is in the eye of the beholder. You know what makes you tick and jazzes you up.
...and also be open to trying new things. This is a great and diverse space to take new experiences for a test drive.
Schedule Time for Follow-Up
If you haven't already, by all means put time in your calendar right now to follow-up with people you meet at the conference. This is something you should be doing the week of August 6th. It's all in the follow-up. So don't try to just cram it into your already busy schedule. Plan for it and book an appointment with yourself in one big chunk or several smaller chunks of time and just do it.
Paula Gregorowicz is a life and business strategist who helps women live their purpose by building authentic and successful businesses without feeling like they are running on the hamster wheel of self-doubt, struggle, and overwhelm.
Download the Free Report: Your Own Uniqueness: The Path to Purpose, Prosperity, and Playfulness at http://www.thepaulagcompany.com.