As many of you know, my family and I attended a large blogging conference last week in Chicago. This is the second time that I attend a conference and I wanted to have my family with me because I just couldn’t bear to be away from them for even one minute. Before the trip, I set personal and professional goals for myself that would keep me focused throughout my stay.
My husband and I drove for almost 14 hours to get there and I cannot even begin to describe the excitement that I felt when we finally arrived in the city of Chicago. I felt right at home since I live in a big city myself and I found that there were a lot of parallels between New York City and Chicago right away.
I was very fortunate to have had my ticket to the conference sponsored in part by Noodle.org. Our collaboration was a match made in heaven because of my experience being a NYC public school teacher for the past 13 years and the fact that they are the first education search engine. Their support of Tough Cookie Mommy has been evident throughout this whole trip and we are extremely grateful to them for their contribution.
My professional goals for the trip were to network and connect with as many brands as possible. It’s important to bloggers when we attend these conferences that companies see us as professionals and not just as consumers. Most bloggers consider themselves entrepreneurs, freelance writers, or independent contractors and they actively look to collaborate with brands on a business level and not necessarily to just purchase their products.
As far as my personal goals, I was hoping to reconnect with old colleagues and friends and to hopefully meet new bloggers. What I wasn’t prepared for was to make the lasting friendships that I feel were forged during this trip and conference…
- Myrah (Coupon Mamacita) and I were already close but we bonded on an even closer level while we were there.
- My boys fell in love with Carol (All Mommy Wants) and I connected with her warm and genuine personality.
- Di (Free Sample Momma) cracked me up with her honesty and warmed my heart with her sweet demeanor.
- Ericka (Ericka Saves) was so eager to learn and to share and I really liked how nice and friendly she was.
- Migdalia (Latina On A Mission) has always been a mentor to me but we totally bonded as sisters at the Expo and I respect her even more now.
- Rachel (One Link Software) was amazing and I can tell we will be friends for a very long time.
- Debbie (Frugal Diva Frenzy) and I had a lot in common. She is raising a Survivor and I am a Survivor. We connected right away and I love that she speaks her mind at all times.
If you are planning on attending a blogging conference in the near future, make sure you establish your goals for going in advance. There will be many events and and a lot of activities for you to choose from and knowing what you hope to accomplish beforehand will help you to prioritize your time wisely. Even though I tried to do that this time around, next year I will be even more prudent in choosing where and how to spend my time.
One of the things that attending this conference confirmed for me is that bloggers are some of the most amazing people on the planet. They share of themselves and their lives without hesitation through their writing. This honesty and selflessness is what makes them so unique and I’m proud to be a part of them.
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