by: Carol Bryant
The email arrived in my inbox as the hundreds of others to every week: With a chirp but its subject line stopped me in my tracks. Affording the BlogPaws Conference is the topic of many discussions as we near the big conference dates, after all.
“I want to come to BlogPaws but finances are preventing me from getting there. Do you have any recommendations?”
Oh, how I have walked this path. I can honestly say that without attending the BlogPaws Conferences, my career would not have advanced nor escalated to the shape it takes today. I put my reputation on the line in sharing that you get back from BlogPaws the Conference what you put into it.
Here are 13 ways to afford the BlogPaws Conference, starting today, January 28, 2014:
(1) Start putting 5 dollars a week aside as of today. Each week increase it by one dollar, like this:
January 28: 5 dollars
February 4: 6 dollars
February 11: 7 dollars
February 18: 8 dollars
February 25: 9 dollars
There’s 35 dollars as of the end of February. If you can pitch more in, do so. Keep this up until May and you will have another $108 bucks. So you will have $143 saved as if the end of April at this rate. Use that towards your conference pass.
(2) Get Funding
One of the things some bloggers have done with success is to get funding. BlogPaws Ambassador, Lisa Taron, did this one year and it worked out for her. Contact your small business friends or pet bloggers with products or whomever and offer to promote them at the conference. If you can get say 10 to bite at $100 each, there’s $1,000. Could you do something for the pet community in your area?
(3) Share a Room
Cut lodging costs by rooming with someone. Worried about who the person is? Get to know them; we have an entire section in the very active BlogPaws Community devoted to room shares.
(4) Get To Know Her
“Her” being our Blog Manager, Robbi Hess, and most specifically, her ideas on why you need to be at BlogPaws and how to make it happen.
(5) Consider a Sponsorship
Have you ever considered becoming a sponsored blogger? Lately, we’ve had a few queries cross our desks at the BlogPaws offices, and this post is being presented to answer and guide any further inquiries. Here is what you must know including the do’s and don’ts of what a sponsored blogger is/means.
By the way , if you sat in on my session in 2013 at the BlogPaws Conference, I equate getting a brand sponsorship with dating. If you suddenly ask a brand to sponsor you and they never heard of you before, why should they consider your request? Just like dating, you don’t want someone who is all touchy feely five minutes into a date. Give the brand the same respect you both deserve. A relationship takes time, so consider who you will contact, why, and have the goods and relationship built to back it up.
You could also room with someone. I have a friend in California coming with her Cocker looking for a roomie. Your meals are basically covered and so is your entertainment.
Can you drive to Vegas? Consider carpooling and chipping in for lodging and gas en route to the conference. Thanks to the driving fortitude of a family member, I’ve been able to drive to all five BlogPaws Conferences to date, with my dog. I will always drive to BlogPaws and work en route. See if you can swing it: It’s at least worth looking into.
(7) Consider Why You Are Going
Isn’t social media basically eliminating the need for conferences? There, the white elephant is outed. Um in one word: NO. For the conferences and events I’ve attended, like BlogPaws, I have had brands say to me things like, “I know you take blogging seriously to put forth the effort to be here.”
I’ve landed sponsors as a result of BlogPaws, a few paid writing gigs along the way, face-to-face introductions to people I never would have met, and relationships formed because I spent the time getting to know someone outside of a Twitter chat, a Google hangout, or a Facebook exchange.
The question to ask yourself is what you want to get out of a BlogPaws Conference. Are you going to see friends or to network, learn, and grow while mingling with friends? For me, it’s the latter. I go with a plan in place of sessions I want to attend, speakers I want to meet, brands with which I want to engage, and what I plan to do to earn back the money spent on attending the conference. I have always gotten back what I put into traveling.
(8) Litmus Test
As a part B to the above, answer yes or no to these questions:
I want to grow my blog
I want to be a better blogger
I want to monetize my blog
I want to network with successful bloggers, speakers, and experts in their respective fields
I want to get to know brands and have them get to know me
I want to meet people in person I’ve have come to know online
I want to give back and learn how to help pets in need
I want to be more efficient and effective in social media
I want to find out where more paid opportunities reside
Did you answer yes to at least one of those? Then you belong at BlogPaws – make it happen. Can you borrow the money from someone?
(9) Be Creative
Recently, I stumbled upon a Kickstarter campaign for someone who really wants to come to the BlogPaws Conference. You don’t need to take it this far, or perhaps you do. Whatever works to help you afford the conference, do it.
Between you, me, and the lamppost: I cleaned apartments and took a small loan out to afford the conference one year. I wanted it that much.
(10) Vacation Time
Aside from the conference being conveniently located just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, you can choose to make this a vacation. Take a few days to hang out at the hotel or perhaps go sightseeing, catch a show, or meet up with a group of attendees in advance or post conference and do some in-person friendship bonding!
Hash out the expenses now and then determine what you need to do week to week to make it happen. Don’t wait.
(11) Consider Food Savings
One of the key elements of traveling for me, since we drive mostly everywhere, involves the cost of food. The majority of your meals will be included in the cost of a BlogPaws Conference ticket, but so are a “few” other things.
(12) Cost Savings Tips
I bookmarked some wonderful money saving tips about a year ago and share them now. A blogger at Social Dialect gives these off-the-beaten path ways to save moola when going to a conference:
- Take advantage of conference food and drink to save money. Skip dinner and load up on heavy hors d’oeuvres at parties and receptions!
- If you do go to a restaurant, save your leftovers if your hotel room as a refrigerator. Makes a great snack!
- If you like to indulge a bit, buy or bring your own wine. You can ask the hotel for a corkscrew and wine glasses.
- Use apps on your smart phone to help you find nearby shopping and food to avoid expensive hotel bills.
- Don’t go crazy buying souvenirs. Take advantage of the swag! Your kids will love it.
- Make smart choices with your wardrobe. New clothes are nice but not necessary. You don’t have to change for the evening. And your money might be better spent on accessories for the versatility.
- Communicate! Follow the conference hashtag on Twitter and if you need advice or connections on anything, just ask!
(13) Hop on the Bus, Gus
When considering how to get around once you get to Vegas, we have you covered. BlogPaws will be providing shuttles to help get people to the hotel and back to the airport. The shuttle will be available during certain hours on Wednesday afternoon/evening, Thursday morning into afternoon, and Sunday morning.
If you aren’t totally convinced, here’s one last “you gotta make the leap” piece of wisdom:
What would you pay for the following???
* Dozens of first-rate social media educational seminars delivered by experts in their respective fields
* Meeting pets and their owners in person
* Entertainment and red carpet celebration you can do with your pet
* A bag of goodies galore filled with pet products (dog or cat)
* Meeting many of your Facebook, Twitter, and blog associates and friends in the pet world
* Access first hand to pet product sponsors and brands
* A weekend of pet-friendly fun and networking
* Breakfast, lunch, and snacks from a finely selected menu – we cover most of your meals!
* Ideas to launch, continue, or escalate a business involving animals whether for or non-profit, on a blog or a microblog (like Twitter or Facebook)
* Partake in a blogging awards ceremony
* Spread the word about your cause, business, rescue, or group to key players and community
* Prizes galore
* Memories, video and images, friendships, contacts, business cards exchanged, laughs, too!
* All in one place, a grand hotel in a beautiful location
Before you answer, consider this is for nearly three full days.
Having taken many seminars and sessions in my life, I can honestly say they cost wayyyy more than the $229 price for ONE session not including all the extras mentioned. If you’ve ever planned a wedding, BlogPaws event planning is the equivalent of being a wedding planner times ohhhhh, 1,000. It is work, a labor of love, but oh-so-worth-it when everyone comes together in the name of animals, being the change, learning and growing, and paying it forward. Oh, and you can walk away knowing what to do to take your career or hobby to the next level.
Price is always a cost. I know it takes time, planning, and resources to get to BlogPaws. I know this is an investment in me. If you answered “yes” when we asked if you want to do something to improve your life from a career/blogging perspective, then this is the place to be. It’s not always easy, but anything worth having is worth work for and toward. As the saying goes, don’t wish for it: Work for it. Register here.