Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I learned at SCCTO

So over the last 2 days I was at the She's Connected Conference in Toronto. It's a conference to connect bloggers and brands, to learn how to work with each other, what to do and not do and a whole lot of information for those bloggers or brands who haven't done this kind of promotional work together before.

Now I posted a while back about whether or not I would go because I was pretty sure that I didn't want to be writing sponsored posts for companies on my blog. I questioned whether it was a selling-out point and I believe even referred to it as "whoring" myself out. A lot of intelligent discussion convinced me to go and give it a try. So what did I learn?

1. I still DON'T want to accept free stuff or money for myself or family from companies to shill their product. It's not that there's anything wrong with it for those that do it, but I'm already busy trying to promote my OWN brand and business (need a cake, buy it here!) and I don't have the energy to give myself to another company when I'm barely making enough money from my own to survive. Just not for me.

2. I DO want to work with brands when it comes to my volunteer work. As some of the events I'm working on get bigger and bigger I'm starting to recruit sponsors and some companies would mesh really well with them. If Ford wants to lend me a truck to cart around the bags upon bags of goodies for a FoodLove event, I would be ecstatic! To me that's working for the greater good. The brand is getting promoted, I'm getting promoted, my charity is getting promoted and MOST IMPORTANTLY, local people, people in my very own backyard are reaping the benefits and kindness. This is a win-win.

3. I DO want to look at my own options, as a brand, of working with bloggers and influential women to promote my business. Let's face it, women talk. Women buy what other women buy. I make affordable, unique custom cakes and need business from women. No brainer.

Also, because this was my first ever big conference, I learned a few other things that weren't on the agenda:
  • band-aids should be carried at all times
  • it doesn't matter if you can fit everything in a duffel bag, bring a suitcase on wheels
  • it's a lot of fun to tweet with someone sitting 4 ft away from you
  • you will be hugged a lot, be prepared
  • pay the damn money and stay in a hotel, the subway at midnight is not fun
  • even friendships you already had will become more concrete by the time it's done

Thank you for having me join the conference, She's Connected team. I'm not sure if my experience had the outcome you were hoping for but I had fun, I met some fabulous women AND I got a night away, which is no easy feat for a mom!

Also, thanks to Toshiba Canada, I won a laptop at the event! I'm super excited and was really looking forward to receiving it but this morning I decided that there was someone else who needed it more.

Volunteer Builders is an Oakville, ON organization that designs and builds "one project every spring to benefit a worthy individual or organization". All of their builds since 2001 have involved summer camps and all the buildings are beautiful. A few days ago a tweet came to my attention that Volunteer Builders needs a laptop for the organization. They were asking for a used laptop or donations towards buying a new one. So I decided to donate the laptop from Toshiba to them. It's a worthy organization made even better that friends of mine are involved in the project.

The love I've received from Twitter today has been amazing. It's undeserved, I think. I'm not putting myself out by donating this laptop, I'm not giving up anything I needed. I'm just passing along the niceness of Toshiba along to someone who wants (and needs) that laptop even more than I do. So thank you, Toshiba, for giving me the opportunity to help Volunteer Builders. Volunteer Builders, thank you for the awesome work you do. I'll be contacting you about volunteering for your next build. And thank you Twitter, for sending me so much love today in regards to the laptop donation and then again, when I asked you all to donate blankets and sweaters for me to hand out to the homeless. The amount that you have already donated and have promised to donate over the next few weeks will soon have me traveling to find people in need in other cities. The love from my online community today has lifted me higher and reminded me that I'm not changing the world alone... I have thousands of people cheering me on, supporting me and kicking my butt into gear!



  1. That is so awesome that you won the laptop. The fact that you're donating it to Volunteer Builders is awesomer.