5 Stages of Preparing For Imaging USA - PPA Today
5 Stages of Preparing For Imaging USA
Written by guest blogger, Danielle Brooks of St. Augustine, Florida as posted on theLoop.
The moment I booked my hotel it all set in. I was going to Imaging USA in Phoenix, Arizona. What in the world was I thinking!? How am I supposed to navigate a city I've never been to? I'm going to a conference where I know no one, and I'm pretty certain I will be the most inexperienced person ever to attend Imaging USA. Ok, maybe the last part isn't true, but it is definitely an overwhelming feeling to know I'll be in the company of some of the most experienced professionals in the field.
You know how there are 5 stages of grief? Well I have officially run the gamut of emotions to know there are 5 stages of attending the Imaging USA conference. Here is my list of stages and what I did to overcome/prepare for them.
1. Enthusiastically Overjoyed- As I said before, it wasn't until I booked my hotel that it set in that I was really going to the Imaging USA conference. A huge dorky smile spread across my face and I started jumping up and down. AHHHHHH!!!! I'M REALLY GOING! This is just what I need. This is just what my business needs! I cannot believe I'm going to have the chance to learn from the biggest and best names in photography!
2. Self-doubt/Nausea- It has set in. I am going to Imaging USA. Am I really prepared for this? I have never been to a photography conference before. How will I know where to go? What to do? Who to meet? I'm not qualified to go to this big of a conference. I live in the small city of St. Augustine, Florida (and proud of it) what am I doing flying across the country for a conference? My business isn't big enough for something like this. What was I thinking? I can't do this. When I looked at all the speakers and their accomplishments I felt deflated. I've never won any awards for my work. No one knows my name outside of Florida. These thoughts become so oppressive I felt like a little kid being pulverized by bullies. I finally grew a pair and said, "No more." I will not be limited by my doubts and fears. It is scary as hell for a photographer to fly across the country and attend their first conference. Money and time is on the line. They are the most expensive thing you can gamble with. I will not waste this time. I started feeding myself positive thoughts. I can do this. I am just as worthy as any other photographer to attend this conference. And slowly I rose from the ash of self-doubt and the nausea subsided.
3. Acceptance- This stage was the shortest and simplest for me. I'm really going. Now what?
4. Prepare/ Nesting- Nesting is usually a term applied to women getting ready to have a child. And I guess going to Imaging USA is like having a kid. You are spending all this time and money to go to a conference, you don't want to waste your time and money. For me this meant research. I quickly found the Imaging USA Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts and followed/liked all of them. Next I started googling for reviews of the conference. What was the best thing that happened last year? What cool off beat things were there to do? What kind of swag did they get? The best way to prepare is to learn from others who have gone before you and to glean their gems of wisdom. I learned I should bring my own water bottle, it saves a ton of money instead of buying your own. I read a great blog that called the reader to analyze what they wanted/needed for their business before they stepped foot in the expo center. The reason for this is that you are walking into the biggest toy box of your life and you need a game plan or else you'll spend way too much money. For me, my plan is to find a printing company and to start offering print packages to clients. I also learned to bring a notebook and write down what I liked/disliked about each company. I will get so many flyers and information that by the time I get to my hotel room I will have a hard time remembering the little details about a company.
5. Anticipation- I am bouncing back and forth between this stage and Stage 4. I am so looking forward to the conference. I am nervous/excited/expectant/overwhelmed. I am most excited about the adventurous possibilities a new town/conference will bring me. I am also eager to learn more about photography and business and how to apply that to my situation. I am glad this is happening at the beginning of the year. That way I can set new goals for myself and my business and have a whole year to implement them. I am 100% sure this will revolutionize the way my business operates. Most of all I am certain it will give me the confidence I need to follow through on everything I learn.
Hopefully if you are a first timer to the Imaging USA conference this blog will help you to know you are not alone. It's ok to be scared, but do not allow that fear to paralyze you. Also, I'm sure you, like me are looking for a buddy to hang out with. Feel free to comment or connect with me. I would love to meet new friends. If you have gone to Imaging USA or any other conference for that matter, don't be an elitist. Take us under your wing. Introduce us to your friends. Pass on your knowledge to the next generation. Encourage us newbies. You are who we are really hoping to connect with. We would love to get a drink with you and learn from your experience. After all you were in our shoes at some point.