That’s a great question. So I’ll go through my expenses and ways to find out if a conference like Blogworld is worth it.
List of expenses:
|Blogworld Weekend Pass||$240.00|
|Plane ticket to Las Vegas||$490.80|
|Parking at Airport||$60.00|
|Lunch on Plane||$8.00|
|Dinner (Paid for by the Awesome Maren Kate)||$0.00|
|Breakfast â€“ Starbucks||$7.57|
|ATM charge (was $5 but my bank had a $2.00 foreign atm charge!)||$6.99|
|Lunch Border Grill||$20.00|
|Dinner at Cafe||$14.00|
|Breakfast â€“ Starbucks||$8.00|
|Lunch Border Grill||$20.00|
|Dinner at Trevi in Caesars Palace||$28.00|
|Taxi to airport||$15.00|
|Breakfast in Airport||$2.66|
More than one third of my expenses were taken up by my plane ticket. Flying from Maine to Las Vegas gets pretty pricey. I searched for every deal possible, and used FareCompare to wait until the right time to buy but I still spent almost $500. (and that was for a red eye!)
I have been told that food is really expensive in Las Vegas. It wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. Most normal dinners were around $20.
I also don’t gamble, so I didn’t lose (or gain) any money!
The Stratosphere is a very tall building that looks out over Las Vegas. It wasn’t a business expense. Erica (Erica.biz) was a great tour guide and showed us the Bellagio and other sites in Vegas. She had a car so we were able to save cab fare! (thanks Erica!)
Total Spent $1207.49
Are Conferences Worth It?
It depends. (don’t you love my non-answer?)
My mentor loves to say that networking isn’t a long term investment. If you do it right it’s a short term strategy. He was in Las Vegas the same weekend for a different convention. He looks to create revenue short term by creating strategic relationships and finding clients. Revenue is usually the only reason he goes to conferences.
He wanted me to get at least one new coaching client from the trip. In order to do that I would have to have at least 10 conversations about my coaching with people. But my reasons for going to the conference wasn’t to gain clients. I didn’t want to spend my whole time selling and not be able to meet and form real relationships with the people I wanted to meet.
(and while I sell very ethically and non-intrusive, I didn’t want to push my wares the entire trip)
My mentor calculates the exact ROI (Return on Investment) of the conference based on how much revenue he received from the event and how much he spent. He wanted me to do the same.
While I like this approach, and think it should be part of the picture, I think it’s missing intangible benefits. ROI isn’t the only method to test if something is worth it. If it was, I would still be stuck at a job I hated.
You cannot measure how much you grow as a person, how many quality relationships you have made in your industry or how much better your life turns out to be because of one event.
I suggest you do the following to decide if it’s worth going to a conference:
Write down the best that can happen if you go. If everything were to happen perfectly, and you were able to get out of it exactly what you expect, what would it be? Include intangible benefits, and how much fun you might have.
Write down 3 other things you could spend the money on. Guesstimate the cost of the conference and travel expenses. Then brainstorm three different ways of using that money to achieve your business goals.
Write down the worst that could happen. Your business goes haywire while you are away, or you don’t make any contacts or get anything out of it. You spent a lot of money on nothing.
By now you might get a small feeling in your gut of whether it’s worth it or not. While you cannot predict the future, if it feels like the right thing to do, do it. You will not get more business or create more opportunities unless you are out and cultivating them.
If your answer is yes, then next question is: How can I make the most out of my trip?
Planning ahead of time what will make the experience worth it can help tremendously. Set goals for being there, whether you want to cultivate new relationships, get sponsors or new clients. Then do your research on who will be there and plan accordingly.
Was BlogWorld Expo Worth It?
Since I love what I do and the people around me, it could have been considered a vacation.
But the amount of learning, business and networking that was completed makes the trip worth it on it’s own.
It was still worth it even though I wasn’t a fan of most of the sessions. My favorite one was a keynote with Darren Rowse, and it wasn’t so much for the education but for the inspiration of it.
I could tell most of sessions were aimed at a new blogger. The funny thing is, I am a newer blogger! I started earlier this year but I felt like I already knew the content in the sessions.
Here are a few things I got out of Blogworld:
- The inspiration I received to push my business even bigger than I thought possible because of talking with like minded people and seeing the amazing Cirque Du Soleil Show Mystere. Cirque can make the impossible seem possible.
- Free consulting from the awesome Catherine Caine.
- Meeting friends in person that I have been speaking to for the past 6 months. I talk with Pat (SmartPassiveIncome.com), Maren (Escapingthe9to5.com), and Nathan (NathanHangen.com) weekly and it was great to actually meet them in person. They are amazing and you should check out their sites!
- Free stuff! (I brought home 6 t-shirts, 10 tubes of Chapstick, a membership to Shutterstock, a journal, a book on social media, and a few toys for the kids)
- Ken, a social media business owner I met in the hotel that wasn’t going to Blogworld, and I are discussing ways to work together. A client of his is another business coach I know in Maine. (Ok, you are right, Maine is really small and apparently I know everyone from the state)
- Relationships created with entrepreneurs from all over the country, and discussing the state of viral videos, or their plans for growing their business. I’ve already spoken to a few people about doing joint ventures.
- Finally getting to see Las Vegas!
Inspiration was a big part of this trip. There were amazing stories at Blogworld. Stories of people hating their jobs and quitting to start their own business. Stories like the one I heard from Darren Rowse, when his wife said he had six months to start earning a living blogging. There were people that made a million dollars in a year.
My final answer is, YES. It was completely worth it and I am looking forward to going next year.