SMBIZ4ME Governor's Regional Business Conference Was Interesting, Worth A Day Off

I took the day off work Wednesday to attend the SMBIZ4ME Conference for a few reasons: 1) It was only a half hour's drive away. 2) I heard it was going to be good from a few people. and 3) It only cost $25 and one day off to attend. As someone who has already heavily invested in my brain but knows little about business, I figured the price and the opportunity to network with people in the area would be invaluable. It was.

Smbiz4me The vendors set up over breakfast and gave me something to do when I first walked in and was getting my bearings. (I can be social; I just sometimes need to ease into it). I made a few good connections with some Maine publications that were at least theoretically interested in my writing as well as met the guy behind Mainecreates is a social networking site for Mainers involved in the creative economy. (I got on the site to set up a profile when I got home but I see I will be charged for it after a year, which I'm not really down with. But it is a good idea so I set up my own account there.)

In my first seminar, I met Melanie Brooks, who just got hired at It's a division of MaineToday (another newspaper) but it's focused on business content. She's a blogger, I'm a blogger. She suggested I crosspost on their site. So I'm trying that out to see if that'll be a good use of energy. (Really I want to end up as one of their featured bloggers, I'm competitive like that.) Melanie was fun, energetic, and into blogging; she seems like the kind of person I'd hang out with if I lived closer to Portland, though though the blogosphere can at least be a virtual friend.

All this happened in the first two hours. Did I mention there was all the free coffee I could drink and croissants I could eat? (Out of restraint, I had one croissant, ladies and gentlemen, with an apple chaser).

Meeting a lot of people who are all either thinking about or running their own businesses and having to give my "elevator speech" about my blogging consulting/web content creation business allowed me to not only realize that I actually did have a good, original idea but that I do really believe that I can do it.

As with any event of this nature, there is some golf clapping, boring speech listening, corporate sponsors to thank profusely, and a couple snotty people but that was all minor. (One PR woman in my last seminar seemed ridiculously jealous of me and conducted herself in such a way that I wondered, is she actually a PR person?)

Overall though, I met some wonderful people and got some great ideas. I left feeling energized, even though being nice and civil to people you barely know all day can be fairly exhausting.

Have you had a rockin' professional development day recently?

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