Admittedly, I’m not a fan of conferences. I despise being surrounded by smarmy affiliate marketers and exhibit booth ants that want to give me stickers I’ll never put on anything except an arch enemy’s Mercedes. I hate feeling cheated because I forked out $X and honestly, felt like I should be on the panel instead of listening to it.
When you’re at a certain place in your business, the 101-level common conference fodder doesn’t cut it. Sometimes the 201 “next step” sessions are even a snore. While we all needed these at one point and I frequently teach them along with several of my colleagues, WE are looking for something to add extraordinary value to our respective businesses.
I was at an all-day conference last week up in Ft. Collins and during the closing session, they had us share our Likes, Improves and Favorites openly with the group. I said that they should price the conference higher, as I felt the information shared throughout the day was worth TEN TIMES the $15 or $25 I’d paid. And then a gal in the audience piped up that she’d paid $30 and that she had to really consider the investment she was making in her business at that price.
So I did The Redhead thing. I said if you have to consider $30 as an “investment-level decision,” then maybe you’re in the wrong business. And if you don’t have $30 to invest in your business, who the hell to you think is going to invest in you? Hey – I’m not saying piss money away willy-nilly, but anyone who considers themselves a business owner needs to stop thinking about the revenue and start thinking about the value.
Revenue will come.
Value is built. Earned. Layered. Instilled.
Value becomes the language you speak and the service you offer. If you don’t understand how to build value, a 101 level “How to Blog for Business” course is just going to leave you with more questions than answers.
Back in March, Shelly Kramer of v3IM told me I was going to SOBCon. Given I’ve been called worse than an SOB in my lifetime, I was still a bit hesitant as it was a “conference.” She asked me to trust her. She introduced me to Liz Strauss via Twitter. I happened upon Terry Starbucker’s blog. These were the organizers. They didn’t suck. FINE! I’ll go, you nag. SOB apparently stood for something like Small Online Business. Sonofa…who knew?
The weekend I spent in Chicago for SOBCon in April of this year was one of the best of my professional life (and it sure as hell beat my first honeymoon by a mile). And now Liz and Terry are bringing SOBCon to Colorado for a 1.25 day event.
I’m not going to try to sell you on the conference. YOU need to decide if you feel the $31 per hour price tag is a reasonable investment for your business. But here’s what you can expect to find when you walk into the room (and I’ll bet it’s different than any other “conference” you’ve attended):
- There’s no one in the room that’s more important than anyone else
- Speakers are designed to spark conversations, not be the Holy Gospel (heck – each panel of two only has 20 minutes!)
- A community of business owners willing to SHARE
- A pleasant lack of poopy penguins trying to shove their business card in your face
- A significant lack of schwag – unless you consider a room full of people who are ready to help YOU move your business forward “schwag.” (For the record, I do.)
- People ready to challenge you to stop screwing around and start clobbering obstacles like it’s a Whack-a-Mole game.
I’m speaking on a panel with John Cushman, CEO of Solany LLC (a Denver-based document management & scanning/consulting firm). There are people from all walks of like and every line of business imaginable. And frankly, I’d love to meet you. I left April’s annual 3-day SOBCon event with the following:
- 3.2 million new contacts I was HAPPY to have in my Twitter stream
- Three people with whom I currently do business
- The understanding of where I want RedheadWriting LLC to go in the next year (and if you come to the conference, I’ll tell you about it – it’s not what you might think <insert Mission: Impossible theme here>)
- Friends. I simply can’t have enough of them. I even met people I’d communicated with for TWO YEARS online in person 🙂
- A new understanding of the alphabet thanks to Hank Wasiak (and if you don’t know this man, you should find a way to get that process moving).
- Two guest bloggers who have appeared on Redhead Writing (the no-BS and beautiful Carol Roth and the Apple-addicted Doyle Albee).
- And a boat load of things you’ll have to meet me to discover.
SOBCon isn’t about the “how to.”
It’s about the “how do YOU…”
It’s a dialogue – and I hope you’ll join us on September 17-18 here in Denver (OK – Broomfield, for the Boulder snobs who can’t bring themselves to drive to “Denver!”) It’s time for a business weigh-in.