I’m a conference person. In fact, they’re my jam.
There is nothing more exciting than finding a bunch of people who all have the same passion for a subject that I do.
We can spitball ideas, learn from each other, and more importantly, build our motivation to reach the next level.
The Lola Retreat for Bold Women
The event is the Lola Retreat and it’s August 18th through 21st in Portland, Oregon.
I’m a bold woman and I love Portland so buying my ticket was a no-brainer.
My husband and I actually just went on a road trip to Portland for our honeymoon and it was a really cool city. We loved it and I’m excited to go back.
Here is what you get when you book your ticket to the Lola Retreat, according to their website:
- Exclusive pass to the Lola Retreat, a weekend retreat in Portland, Oregon
- 2 days of handcrafted locally-sourced food from one of Portland’s hippest restaurants, Clyde Common. You’ll get to enjoy beautiful breakfast spreads, Stumptown coffee and Smith artisan teas, delicious small bites as snacks, lunch at one of Portland’s famous food cart blocks, and so much more!
- Your ticket to an intimate cocktail reception on Friday, August 18th to kick-off your weekend in style
- Discounted room rates at the Ace Hotel and the Crystal Ballroom
- Your own copy of the Lola Roadmap, your custom plan to leading an empowered, wealthy life
- Access to an invite-only Lola Retreat Facebook group
Tickets are $299 with this Lola Retreat Promo Code
It costs $399 for the ticket but I used the code “LOLAWANTS” when I booked my ticket to get $100 off.
The code is still active for another month (expires mid-April)
If you’re interested, check out the Lola Retreat.
I hope to see some of you there!
(By the way – I have no affiliate relationship with the Lola Retreat. I just think it’s a cool event so I’m promoting it).
Stop Worrying About the ROI of Conferences
Now to the purpose of this post – how to assess the value of a conference ahead of time.
Whenever I mention a conference in a post, I typically get a few emails asking me to outline the exact ROI of the conference.
I totally get why. These events are expensive!
Some conferences are hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
I was nervous too when I initially booked the ticket to attend my first conference.
It was an investment and I wanted a guaranteed return.
What I’ve realized though is that conferences don’t have a specific monetary return on investment (ROI).
The ability to spend time with other like-minded people is the ROI
Yes, you can learn some “off the blog” nuggets of information, which will have a monetary impact but it’s not the reason you should go.
The value of a conference is the ability to hang out with cool people killing it in their respective spheres (and getting subsequently jazzed up to achieve big things yourself).
Even that ROI isn’t guaranteed since it’s entirely dependent on you to put yourself out there and meet people.
Choose the Conference For the People
My point is that you should choose the conference for the people *and not* for the information.
If you choose conferences where you’ll meet other people who are crazy about the same thing you’re crazy about, you’ll be happy with the money you spent.
Below are a list of the conferences I’ve been to over the years and recommend.
I Had A Thing for Travel and Blogging
My first conference ever was the Travel Blogging Exchange Conference (TBEX), which brings together travel bloggers from all over the globe. I had a small travel blog at the time and was hired on by a startup to help them design and launch their new site.
I dragged two friends to the conference (who were interested in internet marketing but didn’t have blogs) and WE ALL LOVED IT. We had such a good time.
Some of the bloggers that we talked to, have since made it super huge in the blogging world (this was 5 years ago).
I remember the tourism organization “Visit Jordan” being at the conference and then later saw that The Blonde Abroad posted about a sponsored trip to Jordan. I bet she made that connection at the conference!
There were a bunch of other tourism companies and travel tech companies attending the conference who were looking to work with bloggers. And there were plenty of inspiring travel bloggers who were living the dream and sharing their stories too.
I now know that if I ever want to seriously explore travel blogging, I should go back to TBEX and start making connections.
TBEX was my first conference though and I did a poor job of keeping in touch with other bloggers after the conference.
I Had A Thing For Travel But Was Broke
My husband (then new boyfriend) and I were long-distance for a summer and I was making a standard entry level salary at a non-profit.
I somehow stumbled upon travel hacking (maybe someone mentioned it to me at TBEX?) and I got super hooked. I visited him across the country 3 or 4 times that summer and then I flew him to visit my parents in another state – all of this FOR FREE, because of travel hacking.
Travel hacking might be the reason we are married today!
Later that year, I went to Frequent Traveler University (FTU) which brings together travel hackers from all over the globe.
That conference was awesome too. I brought my husband with me and we took pages upon pages of notes. We also met other travel hackers who shared their tips and tricks.
I started a small travel hacking blog prior to the conference and wrote for a year or two about how we hacked our vacations. I was super jazzed up and now I know who to reach out to, should I need travel hacking advice.
Again, I was really crappy about keeping up with connections after conferences, so I would have to go back a second time to really build relationships.
(If you don’t know much about travel hacking, check out my post on how I travel the world for free).
I Started to Like Money and Still Love Blogging
In 2015, I started the paying down debt phase of my life, so naturally I was drawn to money conferences.
I went to the Chautauqua in 2015 and met up with a group of strangers in Ecuador to discuss financial independence and early retirement.
(For those of you new here, financial independence is the term used to describe the moment when you’ve reached a level of savings that you can live off forever. For a more detailed description, check out my post about the FIRE movement).
The conference wasn’t just for bloggers though. I met non-blogging friends through Chautauqua as well and we still keep in touch today.
I also went to FinCon San Diego in 2016, where I met a bunch of other amazing and inspirational financial mavens.
I made more blog friends and was further motivated to achieve my financial and blogging goals.
All of the sessions at FinCon were taped and I can’t wait to go back and watch all of them again when I have more time.
I didn’t get a chance to attend every single session since I was spending time with inspiring people and having fun!
I’ve been better about staying in contact with some of my FinCon friends since the conference.
I can’t wait for Dallas later this year!
Do I Need A Blog to Go To Conferences?
You don’t need a blog to go to any of these conferences, although it’s definitely fun to blog about your favorite hobbies.
I’ve been blogging for over 5 years on 7 different sites. I started this blog in early 2015 and it was my fourth blog. (Yes, I have a short blog attention span).
My other blogs no longer exist, mostly because I no longer wanted to pay the hosting cost for blogs that I wasn’t actively using. (Even though I did host all of those blogs on Bluehost which is really cheap and a good hosting provider for new bloggers).
If you’re interested in starting a blog of your own, I wrote a tutorial and took screenshots as I was setting up my latest site.
Blogging does suck up a lot of your free time (I probably spend a few hours per week on this blog).
It’s totally worth it though in my opinion. I only started making money blogging just a few months ago.
So for the last 4 out of 5 years I was blogging just because I loved it.
So How Do You Assess the Value Of A Conference?
Overall, I encourage you to just book your ticket (if you can afford it) and go to the conference you have your eye on!
Interesting topic + Interesting people + Motivated you = Great time
Hope to see you at some of these events this year.
How do you assess the value of a conference prior to booking?
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