Some of you may know that I had the great blessing to attend the 2:1 Conference last weekend in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, a.k.a. Kitty Hawk or the Outer Banks. It was so fun! But I also learned a ton. Today I’d like to share my take-aways.
The 2:1 Conference (pronounced “two to one conference”) is mainly for Christian homeschooling bloggers. We get together to meet each other, meet sponsors (mostly of homeschool curriculum), and learn more about blogging. All of the keynote addresses were geared mostly toward homeschooling in general.
I’d like to bullet point some of the great take-aways that I had that will really transform how I homeschool and blog from now on, and then I will end with an exciting announcement!
- I rode on an airplane by myself for the first time in 10 years. I saw the sun rise and the Statue of Liberty from the plane window!
- I walked out of the airport right into the hugs of two online friends–whom I felt I already had met because of Periscope: Melanie Wilson (@psychowith6) and Kristi Clover (@raisingclovers).
- On the hour and a half drive down to Kill Devil Hills we talked and talked–mostly about blogging stuff. It was so fun to be in real life with ladies who “speak my language!” Melanie gave us all kinds of tips about podcasting (she has her own podcast on iTunes called the Homeschool Sanity Show) and Kristi talked about her new book that just came out: The Scoop on Scope, which is all about Periscope.
- The first thing we did after we arrived and changed clothes was a mix and mingle time where we handed out business cards and met lots of new people. They have a limit of 100 attendees, which makes it easier to connect with others. I got to share about my sponsor who paid my registration fee to the conference: Tapestry of Grace.
- Then we headed into the main session room to hear Michelle from Apologia talk about the Six Relationships a Blog Owner Needs to Nurture. My takeaway:
Brands are looking for someone to be creative and do something unique for them. Study their marketing strategy and recognize where they have gaps. Find a way to fill them. But relationships with God, husband, and children always come first.
- Dinner was out with some lovely ladies from 7 Sisters Homeschool: Kim Smythe and Vicki Tillman. I love those ladies–and their products.
- Next, Amy Roberts wrote about Building a Blog Without Losing Your Mind. She said,
I shouldn’t be writing for my ideal reader. I should be writing for God. He has a story to tell through me. So, I need to be faithful with what he has given me.
She recommended the book The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado, which I need to read.
- Tabitha Philen then talked about Relationships and Networking. She gave several great tips on where to find people to network with (blogging conferences, Twitter, Facebook groups inside and outside my niche, mastermind group), but an interesting focus of her talk was on not becoming a doormat–
Learn to say No and have boundaries.
- Melanie was my roommate. She wanted to get up early the next morning to exercise, so I went and did my T-Tapp workout! After that we had a fun walk on the beach. It was so pretty out there; the weather was perfect that day.
- Our wonderful 2:1 Conference founder Cheryl Pitt was the first to talk Saturday morning. She shared a quote from another conference attendee, Colleen Kessler, that was my biggest takeaway:
“Every day we have to figure out which ball we’re willing to drop.”
People always tell me they’re amazed at how much I accomplish. But they don’t see all the balls I’m dropping. No one can do it all!
- The next workshop was by the amazing Toni Anderson of The Happy Housewife. She shared about Effective Monetization. Her tip was to find our what our 5 most popular posts are–the ones that get the most pageviews. Then we need to “monetize” those by adding affiliate links, ads, pushing our own product, or encouraging email newsletter sign-ups.
She recently discovered that most people making big money blogging are making it on their top 10 posts. My biggest take-away from her was to see what the competitors to my top 10 posts are doing.
Do they have affiliate links that I don’t? Maybe it’s an affiliate program I didn’t know existed. Also, I should interlink my top 10 posts with numbers 11-20.
- I had the privilege next to attend a workshop by Kim Sorgius of Not Consumed. She is a very successful blogger who makes and sells printables and ebooks on her site. She was the third person who said to do a survey of my readers to make sure I’m writing and creating what they need. (So, a survey will be coming!) When creating a product, I should pin everything similar to a secret Pinterest board so I can study how they are doing things in order to improve mine. She gave recommendations for programs to write the ebook or printable in, where to find pictures and graphics, editing software, to get book cover graphics from myecovermaker.com and extra help from 99designs, Fiverr, or designer.
- Then it was lunch time and a break for another walk on the beach. Ahh!
- Next, I got to hear from Mary Jo Tate who wrote a wonderful book I read last year called Flourish: Balance for the Homeschool Mom. She spoke on “Just Say No to Interruptions.” Like Kim Sorgius, Mary Jo Tate is a single mom who supports her family while continuing to homeschool. She shared some great tips on how to get your work done. She said,
“When you say Yes to something– including an interruption– you are saying No to everything else.”
She encouraged us to take care of ourselves. No martyrdom. Take care of my health and model for my children how to live well. Don’t sacrifice sleep. When I’m there with my kids, really BE there.
- I had dinner at the hotel Saturday night with some of these great ladies:
- Zan Tyler, from Apologia, is one of my favorite speakers at 2:1. She said,
“There’s something about homeschooling that makes us feel like we have to be perfect. But God says boast in your weaknesses.”
- The final session was about Periscope with Tabitha Philen and Kristi Clover. I’m not really sure I learned anything new there, but it gave me a new spark to get more regular on Periscope.
- The last thing I did was go out to breakfast with my Sunday morning mentor Kim Sorgius and 2 of her other mentees. I also got to meet with Kim for an hour and talk about several things. She gave me some ideas and tips that I’ll be applying here at I Choose Joy! as well as for a new project which is. . .
That I’m starting a new website called Music in Our Homeschool! It’s my dream for it to be the ultimate site for finding anything you might need to add music to your homeschool! The official launch date is January 1, 2016.
After the conference, I met up with Susan Stewart to drive back to the airport. We stopped at the Wright Brothers Kitty Hawk museum and memorial. What a fun experience. I love the amazing story of the Wright brothers and to be right where they finally accomplished getting an airplane to fly for the first time was so exciting.
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays says
Loved reading about the details! Thanks for sharing. Oh, how I want to go next year!! Glad you had fun.
I really hope you can! Super early bird tickets go on sale very soon. 🙂
Lori Ward says
What a wonderful post! I can’t wait till next year! I’m so excited to go! Thank you for sharing, Gena!
It would be so exciting to have you there, Lori!
I loved your post. It was a good reminder of what we learned that weekend. I can’t wait to go next year again.
Me, too, Karen!
Sabrina Justison says
Thanks for this post, Gena! It gave me another glimpse of all the wonderfulness that was present at 2:1! I hope I am able to attend next year!!
I’ll see you there!
Melanie Wilson says
What a great post! Thanks so much for writing it and for being my roomie. It was such a fun adventure. I already have my ticket for next year.
I just found out about the 2:1 Conference. The idea of a homeschool conference and blogging conference in one is amazing. Then I read your post and got even more excited. I have put it on my agenda to get tickets soon! Too bad I just missed this years, but I guess I have motivation to keep plugging along and something to look forward too. Thanks 🙂
Yay, Catherine! I’ll be excited to meet you.