I’m finally back home and getting settled back into my daily routine after what feels like a whirlwind of travels. I started July with a trip to Spain, which was by far one of my favorite trips to date. After being home for 24 hours, packing + unpacking, Alex & I embarked on our Havana adventures (still so much more to come from from that trip). I came back to Atlanta for two days and then we road-tripped it to Charleston – one of my favorite cities. I ended the craziness with a long weekend in Chicago for The Blog Societies Conference which, believe it or not, might just be the most impactful trip of the full marathon of travels. Let me tell you why.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “There is no way a blogger conference in Chicago was better than seeing David Guetta in Ibiza or drinking mojitos in Cuba.” Honestly, you’re probably right – but kinda not really. While those trips were definitely meaningful and amazing in their own light, what I learned and brought home with me from #TBSCon are things that truly changed and influenced my way of thinking in more ways than one. And even better – what I gathered doesn’t just apply to bloggers. Whether you’re a business owner, corporate climber, stay at home momma, contractor or something somewhere in between, I promise some of these will hit close to home. Let’s dig in shall we!
Things are changing…always + forever. Get with the flow.
This might seem totally obvious. And it is. But to what extent can you really be prepared for the ever evolving landscape of whatever industry you’re working in? Throw on top of that for influencers, the industry we’re working in is still so new. Sure, Harvard did a case study on Chiara Ferragni – but that’s not something that relates to even a tenth of us. Things are still so up in the air and what might work for one girl will 100% not work for me. Believe me, I’ve applied advice from some of my fave top bloggers and it just doesn’t stick.
The things I learned about SEO last year at #TBSCON are literally the exact opposite today. And it’s not because Lindsay (the SEO boss) was wrong last year. Things fucking changed…a lot. (excuse my language – sorry mom) What we all thought we were doing was awesome and helping us grow has actually been hurting us. I mean, who knew affiliate links were the downfall of our SEO rankings? I’ll tell you who – not the 75 girls in attendance. And that’s just the start of it.
I won’t bore you with all of the technical things I learned this year and how most of it is new info that changed over the past year but what I will leave you with is the importance of staying flexible. As a business owner and brand, I set a serious business plan at the start of 2017. A lot of it centered around key learnings from last year. I was all set and have been working against this plan the past seven months. However, what I learned this past weekend was just how crucial it was to be nimble and change things up so I don’t get left behind. I also realized how much more effort I need to put into keeping up with industry trends and doing my own research so I can stay ahead (as much as I actually can). I may have a mile long to do list of changes I need to make – but I’m hoping that with this new approach, I’ll be much more prepared technically and mentally for the changes coming my way later down the line.
stay up to date on industry trends + insights. stay flexible and course correct as needed. it’s okay to change it up even if you aren’t “ready”.
Surround yourself with diversity. #duh.
I won’t say this is necessarily new information but it’s something that was reenforced in my mind during our time in Chicago. If you didn’t already know this – I’m mixed. Surprise! Well if I’m being technical, I’m African American. But I like to claim #allthethings. My mom is mixed with black + white. My dad is black. And on top of all of that, my entire family is a beautiful rainbow of all shades that I have come to really appreciate over the past few years. I’ve always been naturally drawn to people of all shades, shapes and sizes. It honestly never crossed my mind that it was happening until I found myself amongst a group of the United Nations time and time again.
I say all of that but that is not the type of diversity I’m referring to above. Yeah – we all know, especially in today’s climate, why it’s important to experience different cultures and surround yourself with people with different perspectives. Duh. But one of the things I didn’t really appreciate was the importance of surrounding yourself with just different types of people in general. In the creative world and as an influencer, you tend to see the same “type” of blogger everywhere you turn. And there’s nothing wrong with her. She’d doing her thing and killin’ the game and it’s totally fine. All 100000 of her(s). What I truly love about The Blog Societies is how they have introduced me to so many new people that I never would have met before.
Take Mae and Sabrina. You might remember them from last year’s road trip to Charleston or more recently our series #REALationshipGoals. I love these ladies. Not only are we a diverse little trio from a race & background perspective…but wow are we just different. I’m loud and an extrovert and a little abrasive at times and bring different skills based on my professional and creative background. Mae is literally the most genuine and caring person I’ve ever met. She balances us out and keeps me in check without even saying anything. She also has this amazing insight into the creative process that I love. Sabrina is this perfect mix of the two of us but also somehow totally different. She’s full of life and personality and is the best storyteller. She’s also bright + bold + makes me want to do whatever it is she’s talking about. She brings you in. The three of us – we look different, we talk different, we ARE different. And I never really realized it until this weekend. (which might surprise you)
Now take Jessica. Another person you’re probably familiar with at this point. She’s one half of the dynamic duo behind The Blog Societies and we honestly could not be more different. And I love it. Not only are some of our differences the visual, more obvious ones. But man, she is one badass boss that I find myself looking up to every time we get together. She doesn’t really take any shit. She approaches life, love, style, business and even food in a different way. It’s the fact that we have those diverse perspectives that keeps us bonding over Upbeet salads, learning from each other and challenging each other to make our businesses better.
I could probably go on and on and on about all of my awesome friends. But in all seriousness, the biggest takeaway from this is that if you aren’t already surrounding yourself with people who are different, you’ve got to make a change. These difference challenge you. They inspire you. They make you realize parts of you that never would have come out otherwise. I love that TBS celebrates a diverse group of women – whether at the conference, on IG, or in their daily posts. It’s refreshing and something a few other powerhouse “communities” might want to take into consideration.
challenge yourself to meet new people who are different – in any sense of the word. do more of that.
Challenge yourself to be better…even if you don’t know what better means
Off the top, this sounds like a riddle. I know. As I was typing it out I myself got confused. But the biggest thing I learned at #TBSCon was how CRUCIAL it is to never get comfortable and just coast. That’s what I’ve been doing. With my blog. With Adorn. With my contracting work. With my relationship (don’t tell Brandon). And probably in so many other areas in my life. While this wasn’t a clear directive someone gave on stage – it was something that stuck with me after every single session or workshop. As great as I thought I was doing with LaurenElyce.com…well let’s just say I wasn’t. I felt so inspired after hearing what other bloggers were doing to take their little corner of the web to the next level. I mean, things I never thought of doing before. There is so much more I could be doing and want to be doing and that became apparent after hearing from some pretty amazing ladies + brands in the industry.
So what does this mean really? For me, I’m planning to have a little check-in with myself at the start of each month to set one new goal to help better my business. Whether that means launching a new video vertical (yes, that’s happening soon!) or refocusing on the collaborations I want to land, I want to challenge myself to do a little more each month.
remind yourself to do more, want more, crave more. and then challenge yourself to go one step further.