Since this year was my first time attending Alt, I’d thought I’d share one final post with a few things from a first-timer’s perspective, as well as some personal takeaways now that I’ve had a bit of time to process all of the information. You can read all of my Alt 2013 posts here.
Yes, the idea of sharing a room with people you met on the internet is a little weird. But nobody at Alt bites, promise. The amount of people in one space for Alt can be a bit overwhelming, and I didn’t feel like making new friends 100% of the time, so it was nice to have some built-in buddies to look for in those moments. Plus, some of the best conversations were at the end of the day! Big thanks to Erika, Jess, and Rashi for being awesome.
Stay at the Grand… or find a friend who is
We saved a significant amount of money by not staying at the Grand, but the convenience is worth the cost if you can swing it. With Sundance and another conference happening at the same time, it’s nearly impossible to get a cab in less than an hour, and while the city is usually pretty walkable, freezing rain turned it into an ice skating rink on Thursday. Plus, it would have been nice to go upstairs and take small breaks from the action during the day. Big thanks to Helena for letting us prep for the parties in her room!
Arrive early or stay late
The conference days are packed, and you will not have time to explore the city. Salt Lake City is beautiful, and I really wish I had built in extra time to see more of it.
Don’t worry about the fashion
Yes, fashion is a huge deal at Alt, and if you love dressing up, this is the place to do it. But if you aren’t a serious fashionista, don’t worry — just wear what you feel most comfortable in. My outfits were definitely plain by comparison, but by dressing comfortably for the day, I was able to focus on making new connections and taking in all of the information.
Obviously, there was a lot of information given at Alt, and I certainly don’t plan on using every piece of advice offered there. Here are a few of my goals moving forward:
- Get organized. I’ve mentioned this already, but I was really inspired by Erin’s panel to think about how I can handle information more efficiently. More on this later!
- Get creative. Jasmine Star made the point that if you don’t want to monetize your blog, you should think about monetizing projects, and that made a lot of sense to me. I’ve never been a fan of banner ads, and I’m a web designer first, so I’m not looking for ways to make a full-time living off of my blog. However, I really love blogging, and instead of shooting down ideas I don’t have time to pursue, maybe it’s time to get creative and look for ways to monetize those projects so I can afford to take the time to pursue them.
- Get help. One of the things that really stuck with me was when Susan talked about not waiting until you can comfortably afford help to get it — by getting the help you need, you can focus on what you do best, and your business will grow faster in turn. I’m not ready to make that leap yet, but I had never looked at it that way before, and I want to keep that in mind when the time comes.
- Make it personal. Last year was all about sticking to a strict editorial calendar for my blog. And I needed that to get into a routine, improve my skills, and develop my voice. While I still love editorial calendars and plan to continue using one, it’s time for a bit more flexibility. I don’t know about you, but I have a ton of interests, and how focused I am on each one just depends on the week. So I’m going to worry less about sharing a balance of my interests and focus more on what I’m loving most at the moment.
If you went to Alt and have any personal takeaways, or my notes inspired you in some way, I’d love to hear! I know I’ve always looked forward to the recaps in years past, so I wanted to share as much information as I could. I hope you were able to find at least one thing you can use moving forward, whether you are a blogger or not!
P.S. Hearing from you in last year’s Blogkeeping survey really got the ideas flowing, so I would love to get your opinion again! If you have a few minutes, I’d love if you’d fill out this quick reader survey. Thanks so much!