Why Attend the BConnected Conference?
Prior to my 20 year career as a SAHM I worked in banking, so doing a mental balance sheet and cost-benefit analysis isn't unusual for me. It's certainly a worth while exercise for any business investment including contemplating attending a blogging conference. With the BConnected Conference fast approaching I'm once again thinking about the benefits (many of which are intangible) compared to the time and financial investment to attend a conference.
The concepts of a cost-benefit analysis are pretty straightforward and applying them to attending a conference such as the BConnected Conference helps me to easily see the whole picture.
In my opinion investing in my professional development always ends with a net gain even if the gain is not immediately realized.
- List all potential options.
- List the potential costs and benefits in a common currency in order to compare and analysis.
- Compare and analysis the costs and benefits, including possible positive and negative impact on both the participant and non participants, and risks.
- Brainstorm over possible ways to increase the benefits decrease the costs and reduce or minimize the risks.
- the cost of the BConnected Conference ticket (there are a variety of ticket promotions and options that may reduce this costs).
- cost of the hotel (special rate available until April 1st)
- misc expenses such as parking.
- travel expenses (airfare, gas, train, etc).
- time away from family, and potential child care costs.
- cost of or potential loss of income for time off work for travel and the conference.
- risk of stepping outside your comfort zone.
- risk of experience not being what you expected. (this risk as well as the comfort zone risk can be reduced by some research into what to expect, managing expectations, and putting mechanisms in place before hand).
- Note: some of these costs may be eligible to claim on tax return to offset expenses against earnings and thereby reducing the overall costs of attending.
- an opportunity to engage with and be part of a group of follow bloggers in real life including the BConnected Team. (chance to establish support groups, mentors and potential partnerships).
- a full schedule of excellent speakers and panels to learn from. (an investment into your professional development).
- an opportunity to network with brands, sponsors and other bloggers (chance to brand and showcase yourself, make contacts that have potential to lead to increased sales income and partnership opportunities).
- a chance to step outside of your comfort zone. (it is important to grow, and challenge yourself. This can sometimes be difficult when your job is mostly online).
- a chance that even if it is not what you expected it may be even better. (there is always something to be learned and to take away from each situation. Manage expectations and then be a sponge and take all the good from this experience you can).
- increased social media exposure. (it is easier to do this when a group is sharing on social media under a specific hashtag, and increased engagement).
- a clear message that you are taking yourself and your blog seriously enough to invest the time and money into making it better. (by an actual monetary investment in you and your blog you are demonstrating to yourself and others both are worthy of that investment).
- the expenses can be potential tax deduction or offset to earnings.
- provides a legitimate reason to get the much needed business cards you have been putting off. (you definitely need business cards for a conference).
- a chance to feel part of a community. (you will never read a tweet the same once you have met a person in real life. It changes the relationship and in my experience it changes for the better).
- a way for others (non participants aka friends and family) to see that this is a job, not just a hobby. When you are at the computer you are not "playing on twitter" you are a brand and business and should be treated as such).
- a chance to get away on a business trip at a beautiful venue that doesn't have to include family, but can if that is what works for you to increase benefits and reduce costs.
BConnected Conference 2015 will be my 5th blogging and entrepreneur focused conference and
for me the biggest benefit for attending a conference is it forces me to decide whether I am serious about this or not. Nothing like a cash investment to get you to focus.
Three months after I started blogging I attended my first conference. It was terrifying but it also changed everything; not just how I and others looked at my blog but also how I looked at myself. I saw all around me strong independent men and women doing their thing and that was inspiring. I also realized by talking to others at these conferences there were quite a few who saw me the same way; strong independent and doing my thing.
Update for 2017:
The BConnected Conference 2017 is being held April 22-23, 2017 at the Renaissance Toronto located in the heart of downtown Toronto. Isn't it time for you to look at the benefits of investing in your own professional development. In my opinion the benefits far outweigh the costs.
For some links to posts and resources about attending a conference take a minute to read:
Yep, just me Cathy thinking out loud about the BConnected Conference.
Note: I am part of the BConnected Conference 2015 Community Outreach Team. As part of that team I received a complementary pass to the conference but am under no obligation to write a post about this conference. All opinions are my own including previous posts on my experience at BConnected Conference 2014 for which I attended at my own expense.