As a Constant Contact Solution Provider, we have the opportunity to attend an annual conference for Solution Providers that Constant Contact puts on, somewhere in the country. Last year it was Orlando…and this year it’s Vegas.
So what happens in Vegas at OneCon, gets shared with our clients, blog readers, and the public. First…you should know that this is the 3rd OneCon. OneCon started in 2013, with an Event in Boston and one in San Francisco. After that year, Constant Contact decided to merge them to create a true OneCon instead of a TwoCon! LOL! In all honesty, many solutions providers told the folks at Constant Contact that we thought it would be best to have one conference to increase our networking possibilities, resulting in more connections. After all, OneCon has the unerlying tone of Constant Contact but it really is about growing our businesses and understanding what other colleagues are doing throughout the USA, learning from them and sharing thoughts and ideas that we can bring back.
I was lucky enough to be tapped for a Social Media panel for the Boston OneCon in 2013. That was fun. We talked a lot about where social media was going, and as a business owner, where you can maximize your time to grow your business. I told the story about how my web company (inConcert) made $8500 with one comment on Linkedin. (ps..that $8500 client, is still a client today and spends over $10k per year with us). I met some great people at the Boston OneCon. Networking was limited, but I did learn a few things from the Q and A sessions and well as from some other peers. If you want to connect with me on Linkedin, I’d be happy to do so but please send a custom message when sending me the invite…so I know who you are and that you read this blog.
Jump to 2014, OneCon Orlando was quite different for me. I focused on building relationships with other Solution Providers. People that I got to know. I became friends with quite a few folks, and I continue to keep that bond strong with many people. I speak to some solution providers more than others, however I do try to stay in touch with the folks I really hit it off with. Orlando had fantastic weather. We played a round of golf the day that the conference started, and I thought they were going to remove me from the course for taking up too much grass. I do enjoy the game, but I am not that great. Just ask Greg Landry and Brandon. I think they were often hiding behind the carts for protection.
I started this years meeting with some of the folks that I had met last year to talk about how the past year went for their businesses and for mine (inConcert). It was a very fun, informative and fruitful chat! Nothing goes better with a business discussion than some chips, salsa and drinks…especially in Las Vegas! FYI…If you ever make it to Vegas, Red Rock Casino, visit Mercadito….that’s where we had this social gathering. If you checkin there on Facebook, they’ll give you some freebies. Laura, who met with us was loving the checkin option for free stuff! She was all over the Free stuff! If you know anything about Laura, she’s all over wine…and free stuff! 🙂
This years OneCon was all about building your business stronger, and not just with Constant Contact. In fact, the theme was taking your business to the next level…they even named the wifi password nextlevel (Nice Job to the Solution Provider Team on keeping the them…we call that branding!).There were panels about outsourcing or hiring, about gaining more customers for other parts of your business, and about diversifying your products and services so that you can be a more stable company. There was discussions about goals, and focusing on them. Score Las Vegas came on day 1 to help everyone really understand the core of a business plan. The only challenge with that was there were some more advanced folks in attendance so that session likely wasn’t meant for them, although it was 90 mins long. There was certainly some great, valuable information in that session and it really is something EVERY business owner should know, and do.
I was asked to speak this year on a Panel about Scaling Your Business. Questions like how to grow, when to grow, concerns of growing, recognizing problems as you grow. As I sit here today knowing that we have 12 people working at inConcert, and knowing that it was just me part time in 2002, I often retrospect about where I’ve come from, and how I got here. What I love most about being part of this panel is that I get to share this with my peers! My way certainly isn’t the right way, the wrong way, their way, or your way….but it was my way. It wasn’t perfect, but it’s worked so far. On the panel were some great folks who have scaled their businesses without employees…they did it a different way, and it’s working for them. Frankly….I love that! Kudos to Cathy and Wesley. They are working their system and making it work for them. PS….Wesley…you’re a funny dude, thanks for the plug mid session!
Constant Contact is continuing to evolve their products and services. They have a next generation editor that they have been working on that hopefully will be live soon. They have a fantastic AutoResponder system allowing customers to automate email campaigns with drip marketing…which is really great. Who doesn’t love an auto pilot!
Yes, OneCon was in Vegas, and any trip to Vegas would not be complete without time spent on the Las Vegas strip and some gambling. I won $15 on the Blackjack table….WOOT! Oh and I won a poker tournament on the day after the conference ended which netted me just a little more than $15… 😉
Don’t get too excited….this trip wasn’t about the poker, the gambling, or the strip…it was all about learning. Learning from the folks at Constant Contact, learning from my peers and colleagues throughout the country, and even some reflective time learning more about myself! Here’s to OneCon 2016….maybe a cruise ship next year! Now that would be fun!