by Dannielle Cresp on March 11, 2013
I went to Alt Summit in January with an open mind and ready to listen to the amazing speakers and see what I could learn. It was inspiring and motivating and all ’round fantastic. As I listened and took all the notes, a little seed popped into my head, and I’ve been working on it ever since.
In talking to people about making the 27 adventure a reality, the overwhelming response from people has been about how they wish they too could make their crazy dreams a reality. Some said it in a ‘but that’s never going to happen’ way, but I noticed that more people said it in a ‘if only I had the tools to know how and the time’ kind of way. As I sat listening to the session on building offline events, it came to me: workshops where I can share with people the tools I have to help them make their big dreams happen! Yes! Finally a way to help people shine and reach the goals they’ve always wanted to!
You see, strategy is my thing. Share your idea with me and my brain will start thinking about how to make it work and what you realistically need to make it happen. That’s just how it is. It’s not always intentional. I just start to brainstorm. I think of all the ways you could make it happen. For me, it’s less about whether or not it should happen, but more about the how. I just love it, and I totally believe that other people can make their dreams a reality too.
After mentioning my idea to the wonderful Megan, she suggested that an e-course format would reach more people and be a great format for me. Awesome idea! Thanks Megan!
So with my brain ticking on overdrive and the opportunity for me to share my strategy and planning skills with you, I finally decided on what my next big idea should be called:
How many of you have thought that you’d love to go on that big overseas trip; or start up your own micro business; or take your kids to Disneyland; or save a deposit for that big dream purchase? But it all just looked too big and too far off to even start thinking about, I think we all have.
I want to help you turn that seemingly impossible dream into something that you can work towards. Because I believe that with the right tools, a proper timeline, manageable steps and a support network you can make your big idea happen too! Everyone’s dreams are different and their timelines and budgets are different too, but sometimes you just need the small steps that you can write in your calendar or on your to-do list for the day to get you started before it snowballs into something much bigger.
Wouldn’t that be awesome?! I feel like this year is the one to get the ball rolling. The year to put things out there and see if just maybe a ‘Yes’ comes back. I’ve learnt from the 27 adventure so far, that often if you’re brave enough to ask, then more times than not the help you need arrives. I’m a big believer that things don’t have to be perfect for them to still be amazing.
It’s amazing what ideas can come from a good conference. Can’t wait to get started!
P.S. the e-course will be at Australia friendly times.
by Dannielle Cresp on February 4, 2013
Alt Summit day 2 started early. Due to the bad weather the day before the lovely Erin Loechner had been delayed and missed her session on Getting Your online Life Oragnized on the Thursday afternoon. So that we wouldn’t miss out, she ran it at 8am on the Friday morning!
It was a great class on getting your stuff in order. Erin has kindly shared her session on her blog here in case you’re interested.
I think the two things that I really took away from it was to ‘think customisation not organisation’ and that you shouldn’t really focus on more than 3 social media networks or you begin to spread yourself too thin. It was a great session that I think will sink in more as I’m getting myself settled in Toronto later this month.
The first official session of the day for me was to attend the roundtables. I had narrowed it down to two options of the ones I really wanted to attend and was struggling to decide, until I saw a tweet from one of the hosts to say that due to the bad weather, they wouldn’t be able to fly in for it. That was my decision made for me. I went to Feeling the Fear: Putting Big Ideas in Motion, led by Michelle Edgemont. It was great!
Michelle talked about the four main fears for her (rejection; uncertainty; loss (of time and money); failure) and how to overcome them. She had us write down our big ideas, some of mine actually surprised me, and choose our number one dream to get started on. Then she asked us to write down why we haven’t started yet and to really think about what was behind that. That part wasn’t easy – being honest with myself on these things can make me squirmy, but it’s not totally a bad thing.
Finally Michelle asked us to write down 3 to-dos that we could achieve for that day. Three small tasks that could get us one tiny step closer to our goal of making this big dream happen and to repeat with three more things each day after. I’m a bit behind with this, I’m blaming the travel, but I am really thinking and planning my big idea at the moment. Hopefully I can really get that going in Toronto.
The second (official) session for the day I attended was Building Offline Events. I went into this with an open mind, and while the first speaker’s ideas on events didn’t really gel with me, the other 3 on the panel really got me thinking.
Some of the things I took away from this session:
- What can your attendees afford? If your readers are mainly artists they are probably not going to be able to afford a $3000+ retreat, but might love to be part of a half day local session
- Ask your community that you have built for help. Many will want to be involved
- Know your mission – be clear on why you are running the event and what you hope the attendees will get out of it
- Know your market – both clients and sponsors (if you have them). Determine what works best for you
- Have intention – ask for what you really want. Intentions evolve and you have to evolve with them
- Release the things that no longer fit for your business or event as you grow
- Have a good team to help you – partner with your opposite, they will help you see what you can’t
- Know what you consider a successful event and how you will measure it
Next up was lunch and the second Keynote with Stefan Sagmeister. He was interesting to listen to and he had some interesting thoughts on happiness and how to increase it in your life. My one real takeaway from the keynote was: do more of what you like and less of what you don’t. Focus on what worked today and build on that tomorrow.
The final session I attended was probably the first that wasn’t a good fit for me. I went to the advanced blogging skills session where they talked about editorial calendars; getting an advisory board; creating a passive income; and finding representation. A lot of it was either more advanced than where I’m at, or things that I hadn’t even considered and I’m not sure that I would. It was really interesting to see how seriously blogging is taken in the US, especially compared to Australia. I think most of what I got out of this session came from the Q&A at the end.
Here’s what I took away from this session:
- Some people will want and need an advisory board. You need to think about how to pay the people on your board and what you want from them
- Content is king: You don’t need all your ducks in a row, you just need a duck
- Systemise everything and make it scalable. Teach your system to someone to remove the kinks
- Do what you do best, hire out the rest
- When looking for representation, you need to do your homework. Know that firm inside out before approaching them.
- Know which kind of representation that you need: Manager, Publicist, Agent
- Everyone’s path is different
- Keep making the content you’re confident in
- Focus your energy on your brand and don’t waste it on exposure
- Lead with your best numbers – where you have the biggest following twitter, pinterest, facebook – it doesn’t have to be your blog
- To draw people from Pinterest to your long form blog post, use a great photo and add the blog heading to it. It will draw people to click through to read the whole post.
The Closing Keynote was from Katie Sokoler of Color Me Katie. She talked a lot about what she did on her blog and where she gets her inspiration. At the end she had all the attendees blow up balloons and throw them in the air which was fun. She was very different to the rest of the conference, but I think the people who attended and stayed for the balloons enjoyed it.
The mini parties in the evening were fun, with each sponsor hosting their own one. The rooms were beautifully decorated and I think a lot of people had fun. I woke late for my first session of the Saturday design camps, which I was horrified about, but it was an open class and I was able to slip in the back.
Alt Summit was an awesome experience for me and I think I’d probably do it again. I’m really glad that I went.
by Dannielle Cresp on February 3, 2013
During the Alt Summit Design Camps on the Saturday, I took a class on how to edit video in iMovie with Alison of The Alison Show and Jenner from Lumina Films. To be honest, it was the last class of Alt and I almost skipped it as I was already pretty worn out, but I’m so glad I didn’t.
Alison and Jenner showed us step-by-step how to edit our video in iMovie and it made me feel so much more confident that I could do it. I had taken some video during the helicopter flight over the grand canyon and I wanted to make it good enough to share with you. (i.e. get rid of the helicopter rotor noise and add some music and text)
Today I finally sat down and used what they shared to make my first proper video. Here it is:
I’m so glad I did it. It was one thing that I took away from Alt that I know that I will definitely use and I have! Thanks to Alison and Jenner for hosting this design camp!
If you’d like to read about this helicopter flight and see more photos, please have a look at this post.
by Dannielle Cresp on January 30, 2013
Continuing my round up of Alt Summit. Find Part 1 here.
Lunch was beautifully laid out on round tables with a gift at each table and the book Makers from the first Keynote speaker, Chris Anderson. My gift was a lovely green bracelet in my colour!
I really enjoyed the keynote. Chris Anderson spoke about innovation and the digital revolution and about how we are now all makers. That the opportunity is now so a part of our lives, it’s about what we choose to make rather than a decision to make. I loved how he talked about how the children of today don’t really understand the limitations of the past, and how that is a great thing as that will increase innovation. All the possibilities are there for them – right down to being able to design their own doll house furniture.
He talked about how things are changing and programs like Kickstarter are giving up the chance to invest in the products – both with money and emotionally – and how that changes everything. I really can’t wait to read the book.
The next session of the day I decided to take was track C: Personal Branding with Jasmine Star. This one was the first that I had picked when the Alt schedule had been released and I wasn’t disappointed.
Jasmine’s philosophy was one that you don’t often hear in Australia. It was about focussing on you as your main selling point, not the business itself. She spoke about how infusing your personality into your business and your brand is how you find your right customers. You want to either attract or repel them early. You want to attract your right people and have those who aren’t right for you to know that they’re not interested early on.
For me, this was an extension of what I had heard in the True Stories session with Tiffini Jones Brown earlier in the day, but with the focus on you as a brand. I loved how she was so confident in her thinking and how she showed that it had actually worked for her. Personal Branding is about showing who you are, not what you do. It’s about connecting your readers to your story. “You are closer to your readers than the person who has everything”. It’s not about being perfect, but about being real.
She asked us all to think about what success means to us. To work out what the markers are that will let us know when we have done what we were trying to achieve and that we should know how we are going to celebrate that. I loved that it was about infusing you into the brand and not about separating you and having the business be something that is more like a robot speaking.
I came away from that session feeling (again) like I’m on the right track with what I’m hoping to create. The last session of the day that I wanted to attend was postponed as the speaker had been delayed due to the terrible storm that hit SLC, which was good in a way as by 4pm, I was feeling a bit tired and it was fun to just go and chat with some people that I had met briefly earlier and talk about our blogs and the conference. The Clue party was fun and stunningly designed, as is everything at Alt. I always find the parties a bit overwhelming, but I stayed until official finishing time and met some more lovely people.
The Grand America is a beautiful hotel and choosing to stay there rather than commute from somewhere else was the best decision. It just made it all so easy to get to where you needed to be and not have to brave the elements.
So much more coming for Day 2 later in the week!
by Dannielle Cresp on January 29, 2013
The Alt Summit was nothing short of amazing!! I had just the most fantastic time and came out of it feeling inspired to do some really awesome things. I foresee the next few weeks of travel being mixed with turning more crazy ideas into something of a reality. (I just need to remind myself that these things can take time).
This year at Alt they had 3 different “Tracks” you could choose from: A was for beginners; B for more advanced bloggers and C was stand alone speakers. I chose a mixture based on what I thought I could get the most value from.
For the first session, I chose the A track: Getting Past Zero. As it was my first time to Alt, I wasn’t really sure how the panels would work, but I was pleasantly surprised that each speaker got a shorter amount of time to speak on what they were most knowledgeable about and then they all answered questions at the end.
What I really loved about this session (and many of them) is that not all the speakers had the same opinion about things like how often to blog, but they were all polite in the way that they shared their knowledge.
Here are some of the main points I learned from the first session:
- Quality images are so important to your blog
- Declutter your sidebar and keep it neat, fun and welcoming
- Think of your target audience when thinking about your blog’s aesthetic
- Think inside the box (pictured below), think about all the things that come together when thinking: Personality, Point of View, Behaviour and Support
- Let your readers in: building emotional connections is important
- If you want to get past zero, you need to start with one (focus on what you do have, not what you don’t)
- build your connections by offering a (virtual) plate of cookies – reach out to people that are approachable
- connect with people both online and offline
I really enjoyed that first session. It left me feeling like there were things that I could do. It was so positive and friendly and definitely what a Track A session needed to be. The lovely speakers have offered their presentation as a downloadable pdf here.
For session two, I switched and took track C. After a last minute cancellation they had Tiffini Jones Brown of Pinterest speak about True Stories and getting to the heart of them. As this is something I’m trying to do for this blog, this session made my heart sing! Tiffini was engaging and easy to listen to. She talked about writing in a way that is true to you, even if it’s sometimes painful to work through and find the truth.
She started with this idea: Find an honest thing and write about it. Tiffini spoke about how we tell our stories defines how other people see us and how they then shape that story with their own assumptions that they haven’t actually been told. We create narratives in our heads that complete the loop, whether these are accurate or not.
Here are her 7 steps to true stories:
- Remember that you’re telling stories: Everything tells a story about who we are, even if we don’t want it to
- Ignore everyone: Make sure you’re listening to what you want more than what other people say
- Find the ground: Ask yourself ‘what do I know?’ It will give you focus
- Say it in your voice: Warm, honest, helpful and direct is Pinterest’s voice. Think about what yours is.
- Go Deep: It will feel crazy. Make it feel honest and think about your voices and the different ways that you are.
- Call on your muses: Find the people that make you feel inspired, they are probably already in your life.
- Follow your story: Keep following until you find it. It’s not linear. Write until you get all the bugs out.
That session also left me feeling really inspired and like I was already on the right track with my writing, but that there’s more that I can do with it.
After two amazing sessions, it was time for lunch and the first keynote. But that’s coming in Part 2.
Even after just the first morning, I knew that going to Alt was the right decision. I was already meeting some awesome and lovely people, but also learning so much and feeling inspired. I really love how seriously blogging is taken in the US. It feels a lot different here to in Australia, almost like it’s a whole different ball game.
Part 2 coming soon!
by Dannielle Cresp on January 25, 2013
I flew into Salt Lake City on Tuesday, and after some plane issues (that sounded like a hacksaw through metal – ugh) we got in safely. It was a cruisey afternoon, after checking in I got out all my winter gear and decided to take the Trax (light rail/tram) the two stops to the City Creek Center, which is a shopping centre/mall but with outdoor bits to it. It was cold!! -6°C, which was the coldest I’d ever been out in.
But I got some food and finally found the tights that I had been looking for (who knew red tights would be so hard to find?!) and went back to the hotel for an early night. Wednesday I found the post office and decided that it didn’t look that far from the hotel so I thought I’d take the Trax one stop and then walk. This would have been totally pleasant had it not been -8°C at the time. My fingers hurt inside my gloves!
Eventually I got there, and had some issues with sending a parcel to Australia as I didn’t have a permanent US address and the price of postcard stamps is going up on a Monday. Not sure which, but definitely on a Monday. They seemed a bit frustrated that I wanted these international things, but as I’ve not been there before, I’m not totally sure how these things generally work.
In the afternoon it was time to register for the Altitude Design Summit, and to get ready for the Hello Social and for the first Alt event – the Wednesday night dinner!
Registering was easy and the people were nice. I got an Alt notebook and pen and there was some free hand sanitiser from Method, which was ace.
The Hello Social was at West Elm in the shopping centre, it was a mixer/ice breaker that was put on by a couple of the attendees who wanted to make the Alt first timers feel welcome. They had goodie bags and prizes up for grabs and there was plenty of time to meet some new people.
Lucky for me, the first group of people I met happened to be going to the same Alt dinner as me. There were lots of dinners, each hosted by a different sponsor and I chose the dinner hosted by Blurb Books. The 3 ladies were from Target (USA) who were learning more about bloggers and the blogging community. They were really lovely and so friendly. We walked down to the restaurant early and waited in the warm for the dinner to start.
The Blurb dinner was great. The food was ok, but the chance to meet people and talk about our blogs in small groups, was just the perfect way to start the conference. I got to chat to Sam from Blurb about what I’m doing with this blog and some ideas that I have for the future. I gave her feedback on my experience with their books and how great it is to use. (I got to make a book for Alt and I hope to be able to blog it for you soon!) I loved hearing about how their business is growing and about their different products. The magazines look so great!
I met so many lovely bloggers and got to hear their stories on what they do and why they do it. If you’re a blogger, you may know that it’s not always that often that you get to talk about your blog in such a passionate way and have people totally understand that and have their own story. I suppose it’s like any industry, when you meet your people, it just clicks.
As someone who is so prone to being overwhelmed by these things, it was actually really easy to handle and helped me feel ready for the first day of Sessions on Thursday having some familiar faces to say hi to. Sam and Brenna from Blurb were just the loveliest people, and made us all feel so welcome. I was glad to have chosen that dinner.
Day 1 of the sessions round up coming soon! Check my instagram @dannielle if you’d like to see pictures in the meantime.