Takeaways From A First-Timer At Alt Summit

Alt Summit was amazing! I was so thankful for the opportunity to go, and I’d definitely go again. I met people who were creative, successful, and supportive. I feel more clear about my business and goals and where I want to be. Overall, it was inspiring,  informative, and helpful.

Some thoughts from a first-timer….

There Is No Substitute For Hard Work.

One of the main takeaways I got was that there is not substitute for hard work. This isn’t news to me, but it was nice to see that everyone who is successful works incredibly hard and loves what they do. Even people who got a lucky break at some point agree that consistent readership and perpetual growth are due to constant hard work and effort.

One of the panelists used this quote, which I appreciate and totally agree with:

“I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” - Thomas Jefferson

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” – Thomas Jefferson

Everyone at Alt was aware of just how hard it is to blog or own a small business. No one is was in denial that blogging is a slow-growth model for engagement and profit. However, it was enlightening to hear specifics about how people work smarter, prioritize, and figure things out for their business. I really appreciated the frank talk about numbers, money, size, and reach, and it helped me recognize that I’m one the right path.

 

Focus on Building a Great Blog That Brands WANT to Work With.

I’m itching to move this blog into a more monetized situation, but I felt like this message was conveyed again and again: the best way to grow is to focus on my own blog and content.

Focus on Building a Great Blog That Brands WANT to Work With.

By focusing on your own blog, you get the chance to really narrow down on want you want to do and how you want to be perceived. Brands don’t want to work with someone who is still figuring out the business of blogging; they want to work a solid content-producer who knows who they are and how to influence their audience.

If you’re like me and frustrated with what you’re doing and what you wish you were doing, then you’ll appreciate this short video of a Ira Glass quote.  One of the classes showed it, and though I’ve heard it before, it’s an excellent reminder that you’ve got to do the work to be successful.

 

Be Proud Of What You’re Doing.

Although I recognize that not everyone needs this advice, it is certainly something I need to relearn everyday. Be proud of the work you’ve done already, even though you wish you were able to do more. Too often I met people and started to explain myself away with excuses like “naptime isn’t very long to blog” or “I’m a really new blogger” or “I’m pregnant, so I have no motivation.” And while those things are technically true, that’s no way to introduce yourself! And it’s not helping to let that voice be a constant reminder in your head either.

I think one of the things I came away from at Alt is that you have to be positive about your situation and progress. Life is busy FOR EVERYONE. Blogging is time consuming FOR EVERYONE. We all wish we could focus more on content, that the site was redesigned, that we had more followers, that we were better at balancing work and life, etc. Wanting to be better is a good thing, but don’t let that spark to improve consume your creativity and motivation and past success. Admit where you are, and then move on.

Be Proud Of What You’re Doing.

I was surprised how down on myself I’ve been acting lately. I don’t think I realized it until I actually got to Alt and heard the words I was using to describe myself and my business. I wish I could have turned 180 degrees and just stopped treating myself so badly, but it proved to be more engrained in my head than I realized.

Needless to say, Alt was a good kick in the pants for me to be proud of what I’ve done already, and to allow myself to more forward in the future. No more feeling stuck because my best doesn’t feel good enough; I’m ready to be honest with myself and own up to the effort I have put in. Next time I think I’ll have a lot healthier mindset going into Alt.

 

Social Media Is Powerful and Ever Changing.

It’s not like this is news to me, but it was shocking how important social media is when you throw a bunch of bloggers together in one hotel. We are more addicted to technology than we realize, and it’s affecting our audiences more than we think. Community matters, both at a conference and with readers in all different life paths and situations.

Everybody understands the importance of social media, and we are all scrambling to make our return on investment worthwhile: there was lots of discussion about how to best spend your time, get more followers, and keep the ones you already have. It’s on everybody’s mind because it is constantly changing, and so the strategies have to shift as well.

Social Media Is Powerful and Ever Changing.

(Also, it confirmed to me that I am more behind in technology than I thought. I don’t know if I saw a single other android phone out there: the iPhone is definitely the tool of choice for bloggers. It’s not like I don’t want an iPhone, I was just waiting for a more ideal time to jump ship. Apparently, that time has come, because it was pretty clear to me that it’s part of the job requirement now.)

 

Let Yourself Be Inspired!

It’s so easy to be caught up in the routine of every day life and deadlines, especially if you work from home and most days follow the same pattern. Alt was eye-opening, colorful, and incredibly inspiring compared to most of my conversations with a two-year-old. I was grateful for the chance to be “just me” for a few days, and really see things from a different and more diverse point of view.

Alt Summit - Justin Hackworth Photography

The keynote by Joy Cho was one of those different points of view that I appreciated. Her story of making “something out of nothing” is not typical or traditional. She proved that you have to build the dream job you want to have, and that hard situations are just building blocks. Here are few sound bites I loved:

Her outlook on fitting work and motherhood together: “We don’t balance; we juggle them.” (see that post!)

“If you’re not inspired by it, say no. People will see the lack of connection, and you’ll regret it.”

“Figure out what you actually want to do, and knock on every (virtual) door to get there.”

“If you want something you’ve never had than you have to do something you’ve never done.”

 

In conclusion:

  1. There is no substitute for hard work.
  2. Focus on building a great blog that brands want to work with.
  3. Be proud of what you’re doing.
  4. Social media is powerful and ever changing.
  5. Let yourself be inspired!

Also, if you’re planning on attending Alt Summit while pregnant, read this post about not being too hard on yourself.

I was so glad to make so many new friends at Alt: thanks to everyone for being awesome!

Photos by Justin Hackworth and Brooke Dennis for Alt Summit

Comments

  1. April says

    Great post Megan! I think you are so brave…ALT would scare me to death. Your blog is great & I know it will keep getting better. Glad I got to see you for a bit when you were here.

  2. Stacie says

    I’m glad you were able to go; sounds like it was a great experience! I like the thought on juggling rather than balancing – so true!

    • Meg says

      You have an Android, AND you’re happy with it as a blogger? Wow!

      I’m super frustrated with my own phone, and truly felt like every phone I saw (which apparently didn’t include yours) was an iPhone. I want to know what you have!

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