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5 Life-Changing Lessons I Learned at NMX


new media lounge at nmx

You might suspect that I’m biased when I say that NMX is the best conference in the world. But I can honestly say that I would attend this conference even if I didn’t work for the company. The networking is great. The show floor helps my business. But more than anything, I love NMX for the education.

I’ve been blogging since 2006, and I highly disagree with advanced bloggers who say there’s only beginner content at NMX. Even in some of the 101-sessions, I end up learning new tips because this industry is changing so quickly. However, there are a few MAJOR lessons that stick out in my mind. Life-changing lessons, even. Today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned.

(And Pssst…did you know NMX 2014 tickets are available? Learn more here.)

Lesson #1: Not every piece of advice is right for every person.

At my first NMX (BlogWorld back then), I took notes at an alarming rate. Each session was filled with tips and tricks that I needed to implement on my blog immediately. I walked away from many sessions feeling like a failure. Why wasn’t I putting more effort into Facebook? Why didn’t I write more list posts? Why didn’t I have an ebook to sell? Why did I have no plans to start a podcast? Why did I ignore my site design? Why…

You get the picture.

But what I came to realize is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything. What’s important is that you’re prioritizing and testing all advice so you do the things that are most important for you.

Even more importantly, two pieces of advice can be in direct opposition of one another and still both be correct. I walked into one session where I was told that I absolutely need to have pop-ups on my blog because they convert well. I walked into a session immediately afterward where the speaker said pop-ups are horrible. That specific debate still rages on, and you shouldn’t fall on one side of the debate or the other just because someone else makes a case for it. Do your own testing, because your results could be very different from someone else’s results.

Lesson #2: Education means nothing without an implementation plan.

Conferences are simultaneously exhausting and inspiring. In the past, I would get home with a notebook full of great tips…and implement none of them.

I’ve found that if I truly want to make the most of NMX, I need to have a plan for getting the ball rolling after the conference. So now, on the plane ride home, I prioritize everything I’ve learned. During my first week back, I try my best to follow up with as many people as possible by organizing my collected business cards, and then I make every effort to implement the top three things I learned at the conference.

Lesson #3: Techniques and tips aren’t manipulative. People are.

Let’s say two people attend the same NMX session and learn the same tip for driving traffic. The way one person uses that tip could be very white hate while the way another person uses that tip could be extremely black hat.

Rarely are tips manipulative. It’s all how you use the advice for your own needs.

At NMX we try our very best to ensure that “black hat” people never speak at our conference, but there’s a lot of gray area. What one person considers a scam, the next person might consider to be fine. So, when you’re attending a session at NMX or at any conference for that matter, realize that you can still get value from a specific tip even if you don’t agree with exactly what the speaker does.

Lesson #4: Personal growth is reflected in business growth.

Some big-name bloggers have not seen their blogs grow in the past few years. They still have huge blogs, but their traffic/conversions are no better than the year before, while a smaller blogger might have seen tremendous growth, even though (s)he still has a lower traffic numbers.Who is the real winner? The small blogger, in my opinion.

At conferences, do you hang out with the same people or do you expand you horizons and meet new people at networking receptions? Do you skip sessions unless a friend is speaking or do you attend sessions from new people who have something interesting to teach you? Do you visit the show floor to learn about new products and tools or do you stick with what you’ve always used without examining new possibilities?

If you’re not growing as a person by admitting faults, it’s hard to grow as a business or content creator. This lack of personal growth is clearly visible at conferences. Some people choose to fully immerse themselves in the conference and learn all they can from everyone, while others do not.

Lesson #5: It’s important to ask for help.

We are nothing without one another.

I have a hard time asking people for help. I always feel like I’m imposing, and my mind is constantly yelling at me, “So-and-so doesn’t want to help you! What’s in it for them? Stop bothering people!”

Those are my insecurities talking. The fact of the matter is, if you’re a good, helpful person, people will be happy to help you as well. You just have to ask. Conferences like NMX are great for connecting with others and asking for any kind of help you might need.

That’s not to say you should plan out how you can use people. Make genuine connections, rather than only giving the time of day to people who can help you in some way. Just don’t be afraid to ask people for advice, interviews, guest posts, help connecting you with their friends, and other favors, as long as you can do so in a no-pressure way.

Remember always: You get what you give. Be helpful to others and that karma will circle back around when you’re the person in need.

I hope you’ll join us at NMX 2014, which is going to be a great show filled with even more life-changing lessons. Have you been to NMX (or BlogWorld) in the past? What are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Leave a comment!


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