I woke up at 3:55 am on travel day with surprisingly high energy.   It was an exhilarating kickoff as  I rushed through final packing decisions, loaded up on things I wouldn’t need, and drove almost an hour to catch my 6:40 am flight just in time.

I was off to the Affiliate West Las Vegas 2015 conference.  Oh, yes. The buffalo below represents how I felt about the pending adventure…

Hello Las Vegas!!

I arrived in Las Vegas and it felt amazingly great to be there.  Probably because there was hardly anyone at the airport at 6:45 am.  Baggage claim was mine, all mine.  The group shuttle from the airport to the conference hotel was mine, all mine.  Don’t get me wrong, I actually love people, but the cattle situations can be an energy drain.  So, this was a wonderful calm before the upcoming eruption of the conference storm.

Affiliate West Conference

I checked in at the conference and found a place to camp out with my bag of welcome goodies.  It actually included wrinkle removal cream.  Hello!  Goodbye wrinkles!  I’ve attended many, many conferences in my other life in the tech world, so receiving swag targeting mommy bloggers was a treat. I’m a woman. Hear me roar.

I had purchased the Networking Pass.  It was the least expensive ticket that limited my access to the keynote speeches, the exhibit hall and the meat market.  The latter event was actually labeled ‘meet market.’  I’m guessing this was to have fun with the double entendre, but since there were plenty of sexed up outfits sported by conference goers, I will use the meat spelling 😉

So it was all about the networking.  There would be no shuffling from session to session where one can kick back in a chair listening to presentations. I was on my feet most of the time, making sure that I talked to each one of the companies in the exhibit hall and the meat market.

When I did take breaks, I let my intuition guide me to the seat that would result in a good business connection.  It usually worked.  At one point, a young man sat next to me, avoided eye contact entirely, fired up his violent video game for a good 15 minutes, then got up and left.  I respectfully refrained from the obvious question, “How many do you have to kill to win?”  In retrospect, the silent wall was perfect as my brain needed a break from any networking convo.

Superbloggers

A majority of the companies were looking for superbloggers.  Now, I believe that I can be super at times.  I contribute to good causes, love animals and can find the beauty in most people.  Plus, I’m a blogger. Shouldn’t all of that together qualify me as a superblogger??

No.  The very narrow definition they have of superblogger is bloggers with huge amounts of traffic to their website.  How shallow is that?  If I were to present my virtuous superblogger pitch to one of the hungry companies, their response might be either an uncomfortable laugh or “Sorry, honey.  It’s all about the numbers.  Don’t let the door hit you in the bum on your way out.”  Of course these words would probably be silent ‘innies’ spoken only by tell-tale eyes.  Onward and upward.

Do’s & Don’ts

Here’s what I would recommend for conference goers based on my experiences:

Do’s

  • Sign up early to save.  $99 vs $249 for the Affiliate West Networking Pass.
  • Know your purpose.  Establish your goals.
  • Don’t be shy.
  • Book your room early.  I met someone that booked a room at the Paris Las Vegas (location of the conference) for $99 per night because she booked it six months early.
  • If you need to delay registration, which causes you to miss all of the Earlybird specials, then Google for a 5% off coupon.
  • Take good notes on who you meet.  Write what you need to remember on the back of each person’s business card.
  • Talk to vendors in the Exhibit hall & Meat Market when you have no idea what they are selling.  You will learn something.
  • Find a buddy you can rely on to watch your stuff if you run to the bathroom ….and to swap notes with.

Don’ts

  • Don’t rely on the other person you’ve networked with to do the follow up.
  • Do not schedule another conference directly afterwards (such as NAMM.)  It could wipe out a good percentage of what happened unless you took good notes.
  • Don’t bother carrying around your laptop.  The work you planned on doing during any breaks will probably be overtaken by networking opportunities that pop up.
  • Don’t collect too many giveaways from the exhibit hall or you will be overwhelmed with pens and creatures.

Affiliate West 2015 Space Management

Summary

Although I had a great time, I must admit, the conference would be even more fun if I were a true superblogger and had mega traffic to monetize.  Then the tables would be turned and the vendors would be competing for my business.   I’m pretty sure it’s more fun to be in the giver’s shoes than the beggar’s shoes.

Despite my newbie status in the blogger world, I made the best of it, learned a ton and met lots of great people.  I would do it again in a heartbeat, but next time I will get the earlybird discount for the pass that gets me access to the educational sessions.  I’ll be ready for more information, more networking and more fun.   Boom!