This post may contain affiliate links.
If you buy something from one of the linked sites you won’t pay anything more, but I might make a commission.
I was thrilled to attend the SheStreams conference in Fort Lauderdale at the end of March (as well as do my first solo session, about podcasting), and it was delicious icing on the cake when AT&T teamed up with SheStreams to give me a Samsung Focus S to record my experiences at the conference. But as part of the deal, that was the only camera I could bring with me. Having used – and loved – Windows Phone cameras before, I was confident that the Samsung Focus S would be up to the challenge.
I started playing with it by taking this self-portrait, so easy to do with the front-facing camera and dedicated camera button:
Inspiration and Palm Trees
The conference itself was amazing. I always leave conferences inspired to do more and be better and move to the next level, etc. etc. But what I loved about SheStreams was all of the practical, actionable advice. There were several things that I put into action before even leaving Fort Lauderdale, and a bunch more I’ve been implementing since then. Inspiration often fades away as soon I get back home and get into my normal routine, but actual, concrete steps I can take last forever.
The conference location was beautiful. I’d never been to Fort Lauderdale before, but it’s conference organizer Maria Bailey’s home base, and it was exactly what I imagined it to be – sunny and filled with palm trees. What I didn’t know about were the canals. Apparently Fort Lauderdale is called the Venice of America, and while I didn’t see any gondoliers singing as they rowed, there were water taxis, which was very cool.
Of course, with a packed conference schedule the only time I got onto the water was during a fabulous lunch on a yacht sponsored by Disney. We didn’t go anywhere, but it was nice getting out of the hotel.
That’s OK though, who needs to be outside when there’s so much to learn? The biggest session takeaways for me were from Charlene’s (of Charlene Chronicles) session about the legal ramifications of using videos online. The most important thing I wasn’t doing? Putting disclosures (when I receive a product for free, have a relationship with a company, etc.) right in the video! I was mentioning those things in the videos’ descriptions, and thought that was good enough. It’s not. So I made that change immediately.
But my biggest revelation from the conference was Maria Bailey’s keynote. I’ve seen Maria speak many times, but never like this. She was totally in her element, and just…on. (You can watch Maria Bailey’s entire keynote here. I highly recommend it.)
I learned eight key points from her speech that have me completely rethinking some aspects of how I plan to move forward with my business:
1) Write hand written notes. I’ll have to google this one.
2) Unless you have something to sell other than your own hours, you won’t be able to grow your business. Until Maria said that, I always looked at the list of things I wanted to do with my business and wondered where I would find more hours in my day (and I am quite literally trying to find more hours in my day). But thanks to Maria’s inspiration, I pitched an idea to these lovely ladies that same day, and hopefully it will be making us some money some day in the future.
3) Don’t be afraid to share ideas. See what I just said in the previous paragraph. Normally when I have an idea, I hide it away like a squirrel with a nut, and nothing ever happens. This time, I took a chance.
4) Have a personal mission statement. Somehow “wanting to work on my couch in my pjs” doesn’t quite cut it. I’m working on that one…
5) Do something you fear every day (Eleanor Roosevelt). I need to do this. I like to be comfortable, but being safe won’t get me anywhere.
6) Do a time audit. Maria asked us if we were making money, or merely pushing it around. I push it around a lot, telling myself that I’m spending money to make more money. But without paying more attention to numbers 2, 3, and 5, that’s not going to work.
7) When thinking about partnering with someone, give them an assignment. I’m always wary of working with other people, for many reasons. Will they take advantage of me? Will I take advantage of them? Will they take my ideas? Will it all blow up in my face? Giving a person who wants to work with me an assignment to complete is a good way to test the waters.
8) Have an exit strategy. This doesn’t necessarily mean how to get out, it means how to move on. I’ve been so wrapped up for the last few years in getting a viable business going that I haven’t even thought about an exit strategy (although, if you watch the video below to the end, Charlene gives a good – if inevitable – option).
Physical Takeaways from AT&T
I also had a couple of great physical takeaways from the conference. AT&T gave me this great tripod, the iStabilizer MobiFlex. What makes it so great? Unless you have an iPhone, accessories can be hard to find. But this tripod works with just about any phone. I can’t tell you how often I bring a camera with me just because I have to use a tripod. Now, I’ll be able to do it all with my phone!
AT&T also gave me this really small Motorola mobile charger. My favorite thing about it is that the micro USB tip is built in, so I don’t have to carry around another cord with me.
Not only were these two great items to take away from a conference, but even more importantly, they were well-targeted and completely relevant. SheStreams is a conference geared towards women who are vlogging and tweeting and posting on the go, using their smartphones more than the average person, and AT&T showed that they got that by giving out items that I could really use, immediately! I had used both of these by the end of the day!
Parting words from bloggers
The best takeaways, though, were from other bloggers. I grabbed a few at the end of the conference and asked them to tell me what their biggest conference takeaways were:
Thanks to everyone who helped me out – it was a great conference! And since I brought my Samsung Focus S with me to Disney World last month, I’ll be sharing lots more pictures and videos taken with it. My love for Windows Phones is well known, so I admit I’m biased, but I’m absolutely loving the Samsung Focus S.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 1. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.