As an FMI Alumni from 2010 this year’s FMI was my second time round. I went into the experience with an open mind and decided I was going to be the exact same sponge I was last year. I also went in with a plan.
2. Photo Shoots Must Have A Submission Idea
3. Know My Brand
Last year I came into FMI saying in my head. “I’m a good model. I’ve been modeling as a hobby for quite some time now. I’m in shape now. Might as well become a fitness model and get on the cover of Oxygen” Little did I know that I had no direction or focus. I also had no knowledge other than this is who I contact to try and get a cover. I really had no clue on how I could become a Fitness Entrepreneur vs. just a Model.
After I left FMI last year I was brainstorming with my friend and she called me an Alpha Female. I didn’t really know how to take it but I liked it. I decided that would become my brand. I started exploring my writing more. I was named the Fitness Editor of The Broken Heel Diaries and have had the opportunity to write for Sharp Magazine’s online destination. I struck out even more and started submitting articles and photos to Fit & Firm Magazine. I’ve had the honour (for all you Americans reading this – yes that’s how we spell it!) of them publishing my first article about being an Alpha Female. What FMI taught me about the art of the submission is it’s all about the follow up. I have magazine opportunities opening up for me based on submissions I sent after FMI last year that are coming to fruition after FMI this year. That’s a full year of patience. Not everything happens when you snap your fingers, even if we want it to.
I left FMI last year with some great photographs but I didn’t do anything with them really. Oh sure I printed them off at Kinkos and wrote hand written letters to magazine editor’s. But the pictures were portfolio worthy not submission worthy. They had no end goal. Although they looked like pictures in their magazines there was no easy way for the editors to use my skills. I wasn’t standing out from the pack. This year I went into each shoot with a goal in mind. The goal I’m working with is to submit for a specific feature or write an article that would accompany the pictures. We’ll see how many I achieve from the 4 photo shoots in LA over the coming year!
The other plan I came in with this year was to Know My Brand. So after deciding that I’m an Alpha Female and a great writer what else do I have to offer? So I sat in my sessions and used every piece advice to affect my brand vs. just absorbing more advice. In Danielle’s “Life After FMI” I heard about the thank you note and applied it to my first shoot when I returned to Toronto. In Clark’s relationship session “gone wrong” there was a gentleman who had harsh words. I realized that I’ve branded myself as a strong female and haven’t had any adversity yet in this industry. Sure I’ve heard no but I’ve never had anyone comment on my relationship or myself as a person. I learned I’m going to need a much thicker skin to get through things in the future. In James Patrick’s session about the online world I started picturing how my website is laid out. I now have screen shots in a PowerPoint and I’m editing what’s missing and how I can improve it so I can just send that over to my web guy for some easy changes that could mean better monetization.
The ability to network is second to none at FMI. Whether it is other entrepreneurs and talents, photographers, magazine editors, managers and agents FMI collaborates with the best and brings them so to speak into one room. Even as Alumni I had to force myself to take a deep breath and approach someone new to make the connection. No other fitness conference really gives you that opportunity.
So I’m very grateful for my time spent at FMI over the past two years. I’m still growing and learning and loving the challenge every minute. The last thing I will leave you with is FMI is a family. I can text, call, fb chat these family members for support, advice and just to check in on each other. You can’t really get that in any other industry I don’t believe. I’m grateful for every single member of my FMI family. I look forward to getting to know more of you over the year!