This one is going to be fun..!
When was the last time you expanded yourself out of your comfort zone?
I did it recently & I could tell you it was challenging initially, but it turned out to be one of the best decision in recent time. It changed my life for good & such journeys can change yours too.
In this personal blog post you will find many exclusive details about my recent journey to the other side of my world. Before that, let me walk you through this memorable journey of mine:
When I started ShoutMeLoud on 1st December 2008, it was just one of the many things I wanted to do in my life. Over the time, ShoutMeLoud changed mine and million others life who believed in our ideology of being our own boss.
In the past 7 years, I representing ShoutMeLoud, attended numerous world class events such as:
- IBM Business Connect, Goa.
- India Affiliate Summit 2015 by IAMAI & vCommission.
- AdTech 2014
- Reseller club hosting summit
- WordCamp Baroda
- Indiblogger meet Mohali
- WordUP by Indiblogger & Bigrock.
- Socialathon 2015
These are just a few of many events that I can recall at this time. As an individual, it’s an honor to participate in such world class events & represent a brand like ShoutMeLoud. One thing which was common in all this was; it happened within the country I live in. I was around the people I have grown up with & more or less I was in my comfort zone.
Last year, I decided to expand myself on personal level & thought of doing things which seemed so unrealistic for me. This was when I got to know about two summits which were happening in 2016:
- The first one was Affiliate Summit West 2016 in Las Vegas.
- The second one was Social Media Marketing World 2016 in San Diego.
I realized that its about time I should go out of my comfort shell & do something which can probably expand and flourish my horizon. Since I don’t count life-based on money; I booked the tickets for both the summit. (Apparently I’m not going to Social Media Marketing World (April 17th-19th) & you can buy 1 ticket from me for $897
Regular price $1197)
It was after 7 years I went for an interview (Visa interview) & my heart was pumping the same way when I went for my first job interview in 2007 for L&T. (I was rejected 3 times in campus interview before I was selected for Accenture. Sigh!). I was unsure if I would get my Visa approved since I’m just a blogger. To my surprise, it was easy to get the visa approval & guess what; I got U.S. visa approved for the next 10 years. I wish I could explain that joy of getting the approved visa.
I believe it was 5th December 2015, and that’s when I started making my travel plan. I also got to meet a friend named Aishwin Vikhona, who is a well-known domainer from Aurangabad, Maharashtra & was going for Namescon happening at the same time in Las Vegas. (Aishwin is the guy on left & do notice his custom T-shirt).
It took me almost 17 hours to reach Los Angeles via Qatar airlines & with that my first trip to U.S. started. The very same day, Aishwin travelled from New York & met me in Los Angeles.
To be honest, I was ecstatic to be there; since everything was new & unexpected. We picked up a hotel to stay (Stay on main) for next 2 days. We explored LA before moving to Las Vegas for our endeavour. This was my first time being so far from my home & let me tell you one thing; this was a life changing experience.
After spending two days in LA & traveling to some well-known place like Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Monica.We booked the bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas using a company called Greyhound & reached Las Vegas on 9th January.
It took us about 6 hours to reach Las Vegas & then we checked in into our Hotel: The Flamingo.
Affiliate Summit West 2016 experience:
The Affiliate Summit West 2016 happened at “The Paris, Las Vegas” Hotel. My expectation from this summit was to learn latest tricks of the trade & meet online friends that I knew for long.
Before, I went to te summit I messaged few of the bloggers whom I wanted to meet for long. I met Syed Balkhi for breakfast on 10th January (First day of the summit) & it was like I’m meeting someone I knew for ages. Syed shared his journey of humble beginning & how he became a public figure with his hard work & persistence.
Zac was a delight to meet & probably one of those people whom you find the same in his online & offline presence.
The most surprising person for me was meeting John Chow. Honestly, I had this pre-conceived notion of him not being a friendly guy & I was completely taken back when I saw his down to earth attitude.
He is one of those guys who is willing to share everything he knows & he became what he is because of his work hard attitude. I also spend quality time with Oscar Gonzalez from NotAgrouch & he became a great companion & a friend.One thing which I did good & I suggest you to do the same before going for any summit is, always make a list of the sessions you wish to attend. (I have shared many tips at the end which would help you plan for such summit in future).
This would ensure you have your personal agenda up & running. I attended selected sessions such as by pro-bloggers, by David from WPEngine, Keynote by Kerri Pollard & another session by Rachel Honoway.
Unedited Personal notes from Affiliate Summit West 2016:
Here are the unedited rough notes from all of the sessions that I attended:
Notes from Pro-Blogger session:
- Set Short-term goals that lead to long-term goals.
- Don’t diversify income source too early. Focus on one earning source initially & diversify it later.
- Avoid time wasters like Fb or other social stream sites.
- Don’t compare yourself with others. You should be the better version of yourself.
- Focus on making your blog/content visually appealing. Spend more time on promoting your content at the same time. It helps authority & make it easier for users to navigate & use.
- Add more value in your article compare to others in your niche. The quality of video or images matter but the most important that is the value you are offering. Have it usable & great content.
- EMV headline analyser: To create emotional value headlines. Higher %age will get more clicks.
- Have at least one image with an article.
- Search.twitter.com (Advance search to find emotions)
- Guest blog: engage with editors on social media. Share their stuff on social media.
- SEO: Focus on guest blogging to gain backlinks from relevant blogs
- Become master of one to drive traffic. ( Use Facebook adsK)
- Videos are easier to make.
- He also shared with videos how easily he ranked for Keyword “Mercedes-Benz safety feature”.
- Time spent on the page has increased
- Scroll depth has increased.
- All the above factor improves SEO.
- Youtube video ranks faster & higher.
- Having a bad pop-up window can hurt the revenue of your blog (Clicks on Affiliate links,
- Build individual pop-up for every post (Whenever possible)
- Having people subscribe to the email list is more profitable than affiliate clicks. (Personal-experience)
- Make more money per email subscriber.
- We (OptinMonster) serve 7 billion popup impression & use Page.ly for hosting OptinMonster.. Don’t use pop-up the wrong way. (Ex: Checkout page)
- Use better targeting.
- Use Exit intent
- Email subscriber should mean more sales & not one sale.
- Use timed pop-up
- Use Scroll based pop-up.
- Make it relevant to the article
- Use content upgrade (60% optin rate – personal experience)
- Auto-responder via Aweber
- Landing page series
- Camtasia, Screenflow on Mac
- Camera show: Slideshare, Screencast
- Track site based on revenue.
- FullStory: A DVR for your website.
- App themes: Clipper to create coupon site
- Use Woothemes: replace buy now & use it to redirect users to affiliate site
- StudioPress: Great theme for content sites
- OptimizePress: Use Wishlist to create a membership site.
- Use Cloudflare
- @ManageWP: Alert when plugin is outdated.
- WP Stagecoach: WordPress staging sites made easy
- Did you have a good day? Yes/no
- Did you have a bad day? Yes/No
- Give Decision-making power to your employee.
- Her company spent 720 million$ in engaging.
- Employee engaging survey (Once a month *Personal note)
- How would you rate X company to your friends or family on a scale of 1-10
Here is how she suggested to see the score & take actions accordingly:
- 9-10: Promoter
- 8: Passive
- 0-6: Not a happy employee
- Relationship with management (Ex: CJ used to organise Townhall style meeting )
- Friendship with Fellow members
- Growth Opportunities
And this quote by her:
Here is the complete video of her Keynote speech:
- Bonus.ly: Reward employee for excellent customer service
- Hubstaff: track how many hours employees are working
- Slack (I’m also using it & it’s awesome)
How was the overall experience of Affiliate Summit & Should you attend it?
Being away from home it was different experience & an unexpected one. Thanks to people like Syed, John Chow, Oscar, Michelle, David, Rajat, Writamvar, Archana, Desh & many others who made the whole trip “A home away from home”.
I learned a lot meeting new people & traveling to unexplored places. I believe traveling itself is life changing & going to a place where you meet people who share the same passion as yours is priceless. Here is my main takeaway from the U.S. trip:
Next Affiliate Summit: July-August 2016, New York
Affiliate Summit is the bi-annual event & happens every year since 2015. The next one is happening in New york from July 31st-August 2nd 2016.
It doesn’t matter from which country you are from; by attending an event like Affiliate summit you would be spending time with like-minded people. You can see more pictures from Affiliate summit here. There is a lot to share & I will save some of the best bit for upcoming posts. It’s nearly impossible to share experience of 3 weeks within 2500 words.
Practical Tips for attending your next event or Summit:
Here are few suggestions that would help you to make most of Affiliate summit or any other Summit that you would attend in future.
- Make a list of sessions that you wish to attend.
- Make a list of people you wish to meet. Also, make an appointment for the same.
- Be ready with your quick introduction. Even if you feel you don’t need to introduce yourself, this could help you connect people.
- Don’t just speak about who you are and what you do but do spend time listening to people. If you listen to understand others, you would hear a lot more than what’s said.
- Such events are tiring by the end so mentally & physically prepare yourself for 3 days.
- Carry Protein bar to give you a quick energy boost.
- Don’t be shy to use your camera for taking pictures or videos. Feel free to ask people for the interview or video bites.
- Carry your business cards. A lot of it!
- When you take a business card from someone, add a note on it to help you remember them later.
- Carry portable charger (It’s a mobile saver).
- Carry a bottle of water or anything to keep yourself hydrated.
- Don’t forget to carry on connection even after the event. Do remember, more than getting the business, such event helps you to connect with like-minded people. You will get more than quick profit when you meet & talk to the people with perspective in their life.
You can check out more pictures from the tour on Facebook:
- Moments from Affiliate Summit & U.S. trip
- Atlanta tour with Archana & Desh
- Coursera office tour in Mountain view
- Google HQ mountain view
I would be attending more of such summits in future & will be sharing my experience & learning with you.
For now, I want to hear from you:
- When was the last time you did something that changed your life for good? What was it?
- What is the next thing you going to do which would move you out of your comfort zone?
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