Three years ago I didn’t have a blog.
What I did have, was a newborn, a new house that needed a thousand renovations and a new neighbourhood where that new house was situated, of course hours away from all my old friends and family.
So I did the thing any person in my situation with an isolated social life and a baby that kept them up at 3 am would do. I went online. There I joined the world of the thousands of other people all trying to find someone else to talk to about the complicated mysteries of life that included everything from why choosing the perfect grey paint is so damn hard and to how prevent your children from destroying your cream rugs. I failed at both of those. My house is painted white and we have darker rugs now.
At some point instead of just reading and commenting on all these blogs with these great communities of readers, I decided “Hey, I’ll start my own!” It seemed like a natural fit. I used to work in TV where I produced stories. And what comes close to producing your own stories than having your own blog to share your own stories on? How hard could it be?
Oh that’s cute. And so naive.
A lot has changed since the day I registered my then free wordpress blog northofseven without checking to see if the .com version was free. And a lot of progress and a quick education on Blogging 101 has been made. But none more so than this past year, since I attended BlogPodium, Canada’s Conference for Design and Lifestyle Bloggers.
In fact so much has changed with my blog, that this year I am representing BlogPodium as one of BlogPodium’s Brand Ambassadors along with the talented Virginia from Fynes Designs, Melissa from The Sweet Escape and Sarah from Sarah Gunn Style.
The questions often asked to us are “Why did you go to BlogPodium?” “Why should I go to BlogPodium?”
I thought about how to answer them quite seriously and I realized that maybe sharing what happened in the months after I went to BlogPodium, what I learned at the conference and how I applied it to my blog may help clarify things a little better.
What did happen to my blog after I attended BlogPodium was this.
- I started a Facebook group to keep my new blogging friends connected to each other to keep the momentum going. Through this I found my blogger tribe which is a group of women I chat with regularly all the time and we help and support each other to grow our blogs.
- I got the courage to pitch brands on my own rather than waiting for them to contact me. Now before I do any project, I think of who I would love to collaborate with. The worst they can say is no. The best they can say is yes.
- I revamped my blog design and introduced a Project Gallery to make for a more user friendly experience.
- I got a better handle on HTML, CSS and all the technical behind the scenes work it takes to run a website. Things that only added to my computer knowledge on my resume.
- I sorted out which social media networks I enjoyed the most and put my time into growing the ones I did like.
- I stopped working for free. I am now proud to say I am bringing income into our household for the first time since I became a stay at home mom almost 5 years ago. In fact, I’ve created career opportunities for myself. Social media manager, freelance writer, brand ambassador, website producer, etc. The list goes on. I will say this 100 x over but Karen’s (The Art of Doing Stuff) presentation About Monetizing Your Blog had by far the biggest impact on the direction I chose to take my blog. You can read about what happened when I met her here.
- I got a chance to meet other bloggers who became mentors. Like the lovely Lynne Knowlton from Design the Life You Want Live. Having a blogging mentor is so empowering.
- I practiced and started taking better photos. This is a photo of one of the first card crafts I ever did along with the worst watermark ever.
Yeah. Take it in. I actually posted this and thought “Why wasn’t this re-pinned?”
Compared to the Christmas cards I made this past Christmas.
- I pushed myself creatively and rekindled a passion for design and creative projects that got buried for a long time. As a result I’ve had projects featured on Apartment Therapy, IKEA Family Live, Sarah Richardson Design and Babble.
- I’ve worked with brands including Sears, Kamik, Minted, Garnier, Home Depot, Presidents Choice, Consumer Crafts and am most recently embarking on a new journeys with Nikon and Frigidaire.
I mean are you kidding me?
Three years ago I was a stay at home mom who didn’t know the first thing about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or how to even set up a menu on a website.
So when someone asks why should they should attend BlogPodium, I tell them because it will cause you to rethink your blog, how you blog, why you blog and be in a room full of people that understand exactly what you’re going through.
Because what you take from the event and the connections that you make, will last you a lot longer that just that day.
In fact looking at all the photos from last years event, I now see faces not as strangers, but as friends whose lives I know more about, whose writing I love and whose own blogs have grown by leaps and bounds.
Hopefully that will be you this year.
You won’t regret it. In fact it may just change the trajectory of your blog.