14 months ago I started planning and saving so that I could attend Alt Summit Winter 2015 in Salt Lake City, UT. It was no easy feat to make it happen. It cost a lot of money, and many times I thought I wasn’t going to make it. You might be wondering why it was so important to me to fly half way across the world for a blogging conference? But Alt Summit is one of a kind – and there’s nothing like it in Australia. Alt is a chance to not only meet like-minded design and lifestyle bloggers (and some amazing women who are building amazing businesses), but to also learn from some of the best. I wanted to meet and learn from these awesome ladies so it became my goal and I made it happen.
This was my second Alt Summit and I was excited to be back again (even if the snow was MIA this year ;)). The Grand America is a great venue and it just sparkles with all the smiley, colourfully dressed bloggers that take over the conference areas. There’s an excitement in the air that can’t be easily forgotten. Not only did I meet so many lovely people, but I also took so much from the sessions that I can’t wait to really start using here. Here are my highlights from the conference.
- The opening keynote was Lisa Congdon, who I didn’t know all that much about, but her session was amazing. It was the perfect way to open the conference, with her sharing her story and making us all feel hopeful and inspired that our own dreams could come true, just as hers had.
The things that stuck with me most were that she was a late bloomer (not even picking up a paint brush until she was 31) and that you never really arrive and knowing that is freeing.
- Alison from The Alison Show‘s session Awesome Tools for Building an Online Brand was excellent. Alison not only made it super interesting, but also gave some great tips, especially about how much you share of yourself online, but my favourite piece of advice from Alison was this: “Make your life the party you just can’t miss”.
- The Thursday night party. It was Downton Abbey themed and I was feeling nervous as I my outfit had quite the modern twist. I shouldn’t have been though as many sweet folk stopped me to let me know how cute my tutu was. Phew!
- Meeting Erin Loechner at the Blogging Advice desk. Erin let me ask her some burning questions about blogging that I hoped to have answered and she did so with grace and kindness. As she’s one of my most favourite bloggers, it was so lovely to find that she is the kindest even in person.
- The Friday lunchtime keynote was with two CEOs who have built their companies from the ground up: Jess Lee from Polyvore and Susan Petersen from Freshly Picked (if you’ve read this blog before you’ll know that Susan is someone I look up to and admire for her hard work).
My favourite parts of this keynote were where Jess was asked how she balances her life and she replied: “pick the things that matter to you and be ok with letting the other things slide” and Susan saying that her dream when she started her business from her kitchen table was that she could go into Target and buy anything she wanted and that now the dream is that any of her employees can go into Target and buy anything they want. (I love the simplicity of this, but also the brilliance).
- Getting to meet and talk to Susan Petersen after her keynote!!
- Jessie Artigue of Style and Pepper and Hilary Rushford of Dean Street Society‘s session called: 27 Ways We’ve Monetised Our Businesses, Brands & Blogs was a great final breakout session. They started with a dance party (that was much needed on a Friday Afternoon) and then told us not only what’s gone well for them, but also where they’ve made mistakes that we might like to avoid. What I loved most about this session is how they made it all feel possible and that what I need for my “retirement plan” as Hilary calls it, can be different from what someone else might need. They left me feeling ready to take the next leap towards my vision.
- Meeting so many great people at the conference and at the parties and the Wednesday night dinner (thanks so much to Artisan Books for having me!). One of my favourite parts of Alt will always be that sense of belonging and that whilst you might often be just one person, at home, blogging from your computer, you really are part of a bigger community of like-minded people who live all over the world.
Now that it’s over, and I’ve had a little couch time to recover, the real work begins. It’s time for me to read through my notes and take a look at the slides I took pics of and formulate a plan that will make that big trip from Australia worth it. The experience was fantastic, but now it’s time to really set things in motion. Thanks so much to the organisers for putting on another great event! It’s one that I will remember for a long time to come.
Let’s do this thing! x