Earlier this month I attended The Blog Societies Conference, also known as TBSCon, for a second year in a row. The Blog Societies is a blogger community that I joined back in January of 2017 and the annual conference is a members-only conference that’s filled with networking opportunities, workshops, keynote speakers, and a gifting suite. All the conference activities this year were taking place at The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Unfortunately, I missed out on Day 1 of TBSCon, the Welcome Party, due to my horrific, unnecessary 8-hour ordeal with Southwest. Lucky for me, I had an awesome hotel roomie and fellow blog friend, Amanda of A Good Hue, who graciously saved me some swag from the party and filled me in on the event. Looking at the photos from the event made me so sad to miss this. I mean, how cute is this flower wall from Vera Bradley?
Day 2 of TBSCon kicked off with breakfast, workshops in the morning and afternoon, a fall inspired luncheon hosted by Goody Hair and MudPie, and a swag grab from a bevy of conference sponsors. All the workshops I attended were extremely informative and gave me new insight for my blog. What I enjoyed most about the luncheon, aside from the beautiful fall décor by MudPie and Goody, was the seating arrangement. Sitting at a table with bloggers I had never met (in real life) was great because it forced everyone to talk to people they didn’t know. (Sidebar: here’s a picture of me in one of the workshops above!)
Day 3 of TBSCon started off with a colorful breakfast hosted by Ball and La Croix (I absolutely loved the DIY yogurt parfait in Ball mason jars and a fruit infused water station). La Croix also had the cutest backdrops for a fun photo sesh (because bloggers love taking photos!). Here I am with Ashlee of Cobalt Chronicles, Mariah of Moo’s Musing and Rachel of Hello, Her. After the breakfast, it was time for the conference! This year’s keynote speaker was Grace Atwood of The Stripe. I’ve read her blog since I started blogging in 2012 and her presentation was truly inspiring. Brittany Stevens of Lawyer Lookbook also spoke, sharing the latest FTC guidelines and answering questions about staying compliant with ad disclosures.
The conference wrapped up with a blogger panel that included Alicia Chew, Noelle Downing, Rachel Martino, and TBS Co-Founder Cathy Peshek, moderated by TBS co-founder Jessica Camerata of My Style Vita. Everyone was transparent about negotiating with brands, pricing yourself, and thoughts on how the blogging community can grow as a whole.
The British brand Joules (known for their adorable wellies) hosted our “high tea” inspired luncheon (complete with Wellie centerpieces) before the creative breakout with Birdie & Boe (the attendees learned how to make flower crowns). Unfortunately, I had a flight to catch in a couple hours so I dipped out after lunch.
Simply put, The Blog Societies Conference was awesome on so many levels. While I had a great time last year, which was held in Chicago, I feel like this year was even better. I knew what to expect and was able to capitalize on the workshops I attended by walking away with actionable insights for this little side hustle of mine. I also loved meeting bloggers from all over the country and seeing friends from the previous year.
I know some of my readers are not bloggers and I want to make sure this post is more than just a recap so I thought it would be beneficial to share some key takeaways from The Blog Societies Conference that I think are applicable in every day life, career, side hustles, etc. Granted, I walked away with so many tips and tricks to expand my skill set and grow my blog but I narrowed down a few key lessons…
Know Your Worth, Then Add Tax
It’s a popular saying for entrepreneurs but I want to expand on this because I think this was an underlying theme of the entire conference and the message was loud and clear on the TBS sandwich board. Whether you work full-time or you’re an entrepreneur or fellow blogger, I think we need to stop “feeling bad” for charging what we’re worth. Simply put, stop building their empire and focus on building your own!
Community Over Competition
Throughout The Blog Societies Conference, I thought the speakers and attendees were very transparent in conversation about the business of blogging. During the Blogger Panel Q&A one of the speakers explained how it’s good to be transparent about what you charge for brand collaborations with fellow bloggers. Why? Because knowledge is power and you could be severely undercharging for the work you put in. If you’re not a blogger but have a side hustle, I think this still resonates because it’s so important to collaborate and connect with people in your industry.
Put Your Audience First
One of the most inspiring parts of this conference was listening to Grace Atwood of The Stripe talk about her journey to full-time blogging and how she built a community from scratch. Whether you’re a blogger or have an Etsy shop, knowing your audience is key. You know why Grace is so successful? Because she built a community first. She values her readers more than sponsorships and more than making money off affiliate links.
For a full breakdown of The Blog Societies Conference in Atlanta, check out this post by TBS.
Photography by Colleen from xxiii Photo Studio