The annual spring Alt Summit conference was held earlier this month and all of my entrepreneur friends have reached out to me with the same question— Is the Alt Summit worth it?
2020 is my second year attending this conference. Like most things in life, I think it takes more than one try to really get the full experience. However, this year the conference was going to be significantly different for me.
I was invited to be a speaker at the Alt Summit.
If you follow me on Instagram, you already heard me mention this about 20 times. I just couldn’t contain my excitement. Being a source of authority at one of the biggest conferences for creative entrepreneurs is kind of a big deal. Plus, being a speaker on personal branding at these types of events has been on my Goal List since last year, and I’m thrilled I was able to check it off my list.
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Don’t let my over-enthusiasm for this opportunity make you doubt my opinion about the Alt Summit. The following information is laid out from a typical attendees’ point of view. I’ll go over what the conference is all about, where to stay during the Alt Summit, and even what food options you’ll have.
In the end, do I think the Alt Summit is worth it for all creative entrepreneurs?
Let’s find out!
Check out my video for more details:
What Is The Alt Summit?
From March 1st to March 6th, 2020 Palm Springs became the bedrock for aspiring (and successful) women entrepreneurs everywhere. The Alt Summit’s tagline is “elevating women’s voices” which they do through their endless week of panels, workshops, and keynote speakers.
The Alt Summit has been around since 2009 and it’s only getting bigger. Their claim-to-fame success story is that this summit is what drove Pinterest into its billion-dollar success. And some of their most notorious keynote speakers have included Martha Stewart, Jessica Alba, and even Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Who Is The Alt Summit For?
Because Alt has grown so significantly over the years, their target audience has been redefined. The good news is, there is no real niche that this summit appeals to.
On their website, they say, “We now draw creative, design-appreciative entrepreneurs across all sorts of platforms — artists, photographers, pinners, Instagrammers, vloggers, shop owners, content creators, designers, and yes, still bloggers.”
Last year when I was still doing my lifestyle blog, I had meetings with companies like Alaska Airlines at the conference. I was able to meet a lot of great sponsors and things like that, making it a great opportunity even as a casual blogger.
This year as a personal branding strategist, my goal was to educate, learn, and connect. I loved having the opportunity to meet up with creatives who were stuck in their branding process so that I could give them tips for success. Likewise, there were lots of women who were more than willing to share their own expert knowledge over a cup of coffee or a cocktail.
So I think from both sides of it, as a creative entrepreneur or a blogger, I think you’ll get something out of it.
Alt Summit is definitely geared more towards creative female entrepreneurs, but creative men will still find important connections at this conference. The overall atmosphere at this convention is community over competition. So, if you’re looking to grow your network and your sphere of influencers and maybe get sponsorship or client out of the deal, the Alt Summit is for you.
How Much Is The Alt Summit?
The main reason my creative friends ask me if the Alt Summit is worth it is because of the prices. As of writing this blog, this is what they have listed on their website for 2021 Alt Summit prices:
Individual Ticket – $699
Business Ticket – $1800
Individual Ticket – $799
Business Ticket – $2000
Individual Ticket – $899
Business Ticket – $2200
Individual Ticket – $999
Business Ticket – $2300
Individual Ticket – $1099
Business Ticket – $2500
As you can see, the price goes up the longer you wait. They did have an early bird special for $450, but it’s already completely sold out. So it seems that at least those early-bird people think the Alt Summit is worth it!
How To Get There and Where To Stay During the Alt Summit
I stayed at an Air BnB for the conference. My husband came with me so it was like a little vacation for him, plus we brought our dogs, so an Air BnB just made more sense for us. We also live in LA so we just drove. We found an Airbnb that was nice and had a pool so that I could go back and kind of clear my head from the chaos of the conference.
And if you are driving, there are places to park (but I would recommend getting there early)!
Where to Stay
This year, the Alt Summit was divided into three Palm Springs properties: The Riviera, The Saguaro, and Ace Hotel & Swim Club. I think that if you were here by yourself, you should definitely stay in one of the hotels.
For the friends that I know that stayed at one of the hotels, they were able to meet more people at the hotel who were there for the convention. Since the Alt Summit is all about networking, this is definitely a plus when staying at the hotels.
I will say though, that staying at the hotels means you are fully immersed in the conference atmosphere for five full days— which can be overwhelming. Sometimes I can be kind of introverted and I will start to feel like I’m not out there networking enough. So if you’re like me, I recommend pushing yourself to be hanging out where the bulk of the conference is. The Riviera was that place both this year and last year.
Trying to get to different workshops at each hotel is a little hard to manage, especially if you’re not staying on-site. One workshop might be at the Riviera, but your next one might be at Saguaro, so it was kind of hard bouncing from hotel to hotel. But it’s not bad enough to make me the question is the Alt Summit worth it.
As I said, I drove to the conference. If you’re coming from The Palm Springs Airport or even LAX and you don’t have a car, there are shuttles that you can take (although, I heard people complain about them not being very fast and apparently they were few and far between).
But again, the silver lining in taking the official Alt transportation is that it gives you another opportunity to network with creative entrepreneurs. I heard many people formed relationships just by taking the shuttle together.
What To Eat – Gluten-Free Options?
Okay, let’s talk about the important stuff— food options.
I have to maintain a gluten-free diet, so knowing what food is available is extremely important to me. The first day I was there, I met somebody in line who was super sweet and showed me that in the Alt Summit app, they outlined where all the food is going to be! They even had it all broken down by what was going to be served and it said gluten-free next to foods that were gluten-free, but I later found out that not all the menus had this feature.
However, there still weren’t that many options and also not all the locations offered food I could eat each day. One day, in particular, I was at the Saguaro during lunchtime and found out they were only offering fried chicken according to the menu.
So I will say the food was a teeny bit disappointing if you have either a food allergy or you’re a vegetarian or vegan. That was another reason for staying at the Air BnB. I could just go back to the room and decompress and make my own food without having to worry about finding something that would agree with my stomach.
Is the Alt Summit Worth it?
Overall, is the Alt Summit worth it?
As a two-time Alt Summit vet and a first-time speaker, I would say yes.
I know that the ticket prices are what is going to make most entrepreneurs hesitate, but if you leave that giant conference with just one client or sponsorship deal, then you’ve made your money back two-fold (or more)!
The Alt Summit is a great place to learn about marketing, branding, and essentially, just how you can be the most creative and productive entrepreneur you can be.
More importantly, the Alt Summit serves as the conference of all conferences for networking. I gave networking tips in one of my blogs, but honestly, I’m still not really great at it. This event pushes me to get out there and get that experience, which works better than just hearing or reading tips on how to network.
The best thing that came out of this experience for me this year (besides being a speaker) is meeting people from LA. I formed local relationships that I know will last. Plus, it’s just a great place to learn. There are more than enough classes and panels to go to for meaty talks and round table discussions about your business.
Would I go again?
My favorite part this year was Keynote speaker, Alison Faulker’s, presentation. It was just fabulous. Being a part of this conference gives you motivation and hearing from speakers makes your struggles seem more relatable and everything just clicks.
You will leave this conference feeling empowered. You will get to meet women entrepreneurs who are killing it. It is truly inspirational and leaves you the feeling that you can do this, too.
As soon as we started heading back to LA, I was ready to hit the ground running. That’s the type of impact this conference will have on you. Throughout the event, you will begin to feel the uplifting energy of other creative entrepreneurs so much that you can’t wait to get started.
As long as you take what you learn and put it into practice, I think female entrepreneurs will feel full-filled after leaving the summit; as I said, people have already pre-purchased tickets for a year from now! And according to their website, 85% of attendees come back for more. If that doesn’t tell you what an impact this event has, I don’t know what will.
Before you run off to buy your ticket, I want to warn you of one thing. If you aren’t going to go and put yourself out there and network, it might not be worth it.
You have to make the most of it. One of the biggest things you will get out of this conference is the networking and meeting people. Most of the conversations you have will center around what you’ve all learned from the Alt Summit workshops. Entrepreneurs are more than willing to share their tips, and you need to be ready to share them, too.
The atmosphere at this convention isn’t your standard, stuffy local networking event. It is full of positivity, energy, and just an overall inspirational motivation to make you better at your business.
What To Bring To The Alt Summit
So whether you’re a new Instagram influencer, a 6-figure CEO, or a mid-level website designer, the Alt Summit has plenty of opportunities to chase your dreams.
To send you off, here is a shortlist of things that I recommend you pack for the Alt Summit:
- Business cards — 100-200 should be enough
- Pitches — again, the Alt is a great place for getting clients and sponsorships
- Your elevator pitch — Know how to sell your product or service without sounding like a salesperson
- Professional attire — check out my work wardrobe blogs for suggestions
- A bathing suit (you can network at the pools!)