Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TNO's Top Recommendations for BlogHer newbies & Reader Questions Answered!

If you want to check out my prior posts from BlogHer, you can find them here: {Sessions & Parties, Expo & Swag, Hotel & Food}.  I'll also have one more post tomorrow about breastfeeding at BlogHer!

After the conference I had a ton of reader questions from my fellow bloggers who've never been able to attend BlogHer and wanted to make sure that, since several of the questions I was asked were the same, that I answered them in a post so you all could see instead of me messaging each person separately.  Here goes nothing!

1. How much did the trip cost?

BlogHer is a significant expense, and since this was my number one most frequently asked question, I'll start here.  I purchased an early bird rate ticket, which was just over $200.  {Early bird rates can be found through BlogHer between September and November, I believe!}  I split a hotel room at an amazing rate with three roommates, one of whom was able to get us a great deal through a personal connection.  For the four night stay, I ended up spending $180 on the hotel room.  Because I drove to the conference, my gas cost about $80 on the high end for travel.  While I was at the conference, I spent just about $40 on cab fares.  {You could decrease this cost by not attending any private events or taking public transportation like the bus or the Metra to said events.  I'm terrible at getting lost, so I opted for cabs.}  I ate only two meals out the entire trip, which cost me around $65.  Prior to coming, however, I spent about $30 at the grocery store for food to keep in my room in case of being hungry and not wanting to spend the cash on a restaurant.  Also, before I came, I did have to spend a little bit of cash on essentials that I would need for the conference {including but not limited to: business cards, a laptop bag, breastmilk storage bags, microwave steam clean bags for my breastpump parts, etc.} that totaled about $100.  I also did tip a few times at the hotel or out and about in Chicago that cost me probably about $30 on the high end.

{While I did purchase a few clothing items for the conference - I'm not including these in the cost.  If I had really wanted to make it without, I probably could have pulled my wardrobe together from my own closet and just looked a little frumpy in my clothing that doesn't really quite fit my postpartum body just yet.}

If you were keeping tabs, that brings me to...

BlogHer 13 total cost or how much it costs to attend

That's a lot of money, friends.  Breathe, self, breathe.

In my head, I'm justifying that number to myself in terms of the fact that number one - it is an investment into the blog.  Number two - I never do anything for myself, like maybe dinner with a friend twice a year if that.  Number three - I'd never been away from the kids before, and DH does it all the time for work trips.  Sleeping all night long where no one was waking me up at night to nurse?  Totally worth MORE than $700 in my book.

Anyway, my point is - if you're looking to attend BlogHer'14 for the first time you may want to start saving now, because this trip won't be cheap, especially if you're adding airfare onto what my very thrifty self spent.

2. Who should attend the BlogHer conference?

Honestly?  I think if you have the desire and the means to come, you should definitely attend - no matter your skill level in blogging.  There are sessions targeted toward both the very beginners in blogging and targeted to those who are much more advanced in their craft.  There are sessions for all kinds of bloggers, information on vlogging, turning your writing into a book, finding your niche as a blogger, etc.  If you want to talk about the business of blogging?  This is the conference for you.  If you're just looking to walk away with that warm-fuzzy-I-can-change-the-world feeling?  BlogHer is also a conference for you.

3. What was my favorite part of the conference?

This is going to sound cheesy and you all probably know that this is coming - but the people.

BlogHer 13 Recommendations and newbie tips!

BlogHer 13 Recommendations and newbie tips!

BlogHer 13 Recommendations and newbie tips!

BlogHer 13 Recommendations and newbie tips!

In addition to being able to see the amazing blog-turned-in-real-life friends I've already made, I was able to meet some of my favorite bloggers in real life as well as be exposed to meeting tons of new bloggers I'd never read.  It was an awesome feeling of community for me.  No one had to explain who we were or what we did - or why we were constantly Facebooking this or Tweeting/Instagramming that.  Everyone just got it.  My favorite part of the conference was definitely the interactions with the other people attending the conference.

4. What was the most important thing I learned at the conference?

I had to think quite a bit on this question prior to answering, since there were many valuable things I learned at the conference.  I think that the answer was the most clear when thinking back on Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In Keynote Session.  Sheryl discussed several concepts, including the empowerment of women, the ability to see our worth and be proud of it, as well as the ability to make choices as if we were unafraid and then stand behind them.

Coming away from that keynote, I really feel that it translated into a life lesson for me - not just a blogging lesson.  In my life, I've vacillated in between being too bold and being a wilting flower at many points and have never quite found my middle ground in who I am.  Sheryl's words helped me to realize that who I am - just who I am and nothing else - is okay.  I can be proud of who I am and unafraid of other's opinions.  I mean, that's what I've been doing here on the blog all along, right?  Why shouldn't I feel that way in my real life as well?

In addition to being okay with who I am, I also took away from that keynote that I often quite undervalue myself in my life but also in my blogging.  As women, it's hard not to do so, seeing as how we're often undervalued as a culture.  Going forward, I'm going to work harder at seeing the value in who I am and what I have to offer in all avenues of my life.

I really, really enjoyed attending the BlogHer conference this year.  I hope that if you're a blogger that it would be something you'd consider in the future, for many reasons.  Thank you all for listening along with me as I chronicled my first BlogHer journey.

After hearing all of my recaps, do you think you'd ever attend the conference?  Anyone else getting excited for next year?

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