It’s Blog Hop day! What does that mean and are people actually jumping? Well kinda! I am jumping up and down because I have a really fun announcement! This July I am going to one of my favorite blog conferences in South Carolina. That’s right! That is our annual “ask-all-the-babysitters-to-help-us” event! We are headed to Charleston this year to attend the Haven Conference and this year we are gonna be Mentors AND Speakers! *enter the gif of me jumping up and down with crazy hands
Haven Conference 2017
I actually have never missed The Haven Conference (it has always been local for me here in Atlanta but this year they switched things up!) and this will be my third time speaking. It’s THE biggest honor…and this time with the darling Rachel of Shades of Blue Interiors. You may know her for her incredible decorating style and ability to create magazine-worthy spaces out of nothing. She has some serious skills! Here is one of her most famous before & afters…
Also how adorable is she?! #modelstatus
Together we are gonna be teaching a staining class with Rust-Oleum. It’s gonna be one of the few make-n-take classes and it will be first-come-first-serve. It will fill up fast so if you are coming to Haven, please plan to get there early! I CAN NOT WAIT TO SEE YOU!
Now the bigger piece of news is that we are gonna be Mentors again! That means that we get to break out into small groups and we get to facilitate a down-n-dirty discussion about all things blogging. I mean….ANYTHING GOES. We have had INCREDIBLE groups in the past! And I know that this year will be even better now that we have some experience under our belts! I have been telling people – if you want to be in our group….nag the tar out of the Haven people and maybe we can make it happen! I would LOVE LOVE LOVE it! And if you don’t get to be in our group – don’t worry….all of the other mentors are rock-star-status-bloggers so you will definitely be in good hands!
Now part of this fun blog-hop is to answer some questions. Each mentor is answering these questions and I am enjoying how different all the answers are! So let’s get to it….
WHAT IS YOUR TOP 10 PIECES OF BLOG ADVICE?
- Be YOU all the time – it’s easy to see other bloggers success and try to mimic them, their voice or their brand….but it will make this job harder in the long run – also, readers are freaking geniuses and they will see right through the fakery.
- Allow yourself to be in charge of your blog – there are a lot of voices out there and they are very contradictory at times. What do you do to make it a success? Do I focus on SEO or Social Media? Do I spend time on branding or content creation? Do I need a VA or a Make yourself happy with your content and allow yourself to be the boss. It doesn’t mean you aren’t listening to input…it just means that you are confident to choose your own path.
- Invest in your business – I especially had a hard time with this. It’s because I’m cheap. But once Jeremy convinced me that it was good business to get the LLC and make investments in good camera equipment and good tools, I saw how it positively impacted the growth of the blog.
- Don’t be afraid to look stupid – I literally am terrible at asking questions because sometimes I don’t know what I don’t know. It’s hard to know the right terminology and the right questions to ask when you don’t even know how to describe your issue! I ask people multiple times to break things down for me and ask for them to explain it how they would explain it to an eight year old. Editing, coding, issues with servers, questions about content – I ask it all. And yes – you will look stupid….but that’s ok. If you never ask for help, you will never get it.
- Label your photos – I didn’t do this starting out and now…..with tens of thousands of photos later….I am kicking myself.
- Don’t do it for the money – Ten years ago, it was pretty frowned upon to blog for money. In fact, I blogged for three years without actually making enough to buy a burger with. I loved blogging for blogging sake….and that’s a really healthy mindset to have because sometimes this job is a REALLY hard one. That being said – if the money dissolved tomorrow….I would still blog because I am passionate about it. So if you go into it thinking that tomorrow you can quit your day job – that’s simply not the case. Build your content first.
- Failure is part of growing pains – I remind myself of this constantly. We all want growth….we want our numbers to go up, we want our influence to expand, we want personal growth even….but there are pains with that. Mistakes, judgmental comments, even being told no by sponsors….those are all growing pains and should be expected. Be ready to learn from them (dare I say, even welcome them?) because they will be indicating that others are reading and you are taking risks! Sometimes the lesson is humility (heaven’s knows I have apologized for saying the wrong thing!) and sometimes the lesson is you are becoming a better maker and sometimes the lesson is to not be afraid. The point is – this job is a completely new one that people are still figuring out. YOU might be the one that cracks the code for YOU.
- Remember that the people who read are REAL – This simple fact will help you so many times in creating content, responding to mean comments, responding to kind comments, in building actual relationships, etc. Always always always remember that readers are real people with real feelings and going through real things. Sure, some may have moments where it is easier to label them or put them in a little box. And sure, some folks will not like you….they won’t like what you do….they haven’t learned that saying mean things is not acceptable….and it’s okay to utilize your tools for creating a drama-free zone. But in general, I have adopted this mindset and through that I have met best friends who were all readers first!
- Blog about what you love – As far as content goes….some folks believe you should stay in your lane…whether that be kids, diy, fashion. I understand that. You want people to understand what they are gonna get when they come to your blog. But in my opinion, I love my life. Therefore my blog has been a mash-up of everything. And you know what? It’s given me a great gift of longevity. Bower Power started when I had no kids….I can’t even imagine it now without my five little stars! So its okay to go out of your lane. Take up two lanes if you want. Shoot – blog about your underwear if you are passionate about it! The point is -if you are passionate about a subject, it is something that someone else is passionate about too!
- Rise the tide & give credit where it is due – Have you ever heard that saying? A rising tide lifts all ships? That is so true in the blog world. When another blogger gets a notch in their belt – I try to celebrate them! When they get a gig that is validating blogging as a powerful way to advertise – I am ecstatic because it is good for them and good for ALL bloggers. That mentality is important in a world of “I want for me” and where it’s easy to play the comparison game. Remember that when a fellow blogger does something – it’s okay to want that for yourself….but always try to lift others up and celebrate their wins. ALSO….and I feel like these two go hand in hand sometimes….I will be first to say that I got SOO much help from my fellow bloggers. Anyone that linked to me gets credit for Bower Power success. Anyone that shared my blog gets credit. Anyone that ever partnered with me or gave me good advice or told a friend about the blog gets credit. And if that is you….THANK YOU. I hope I always remember to thank you and tell you how much I appreciate your support!
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE FOR A NEW HAVEN ATTENDEE?
Just be ready to feel uncomfortable. Is that wrong to say? Maybe. But it’s true. I know a ton of the people there and I still get a little uncomfortable. The fact is…it’s unnerving to go from writing your thoughts and feelings in your pajamas in the comfort of your own home to a giant room full of gorgeous, talented people who seem to have all their shizz together. They SOUND super smart. They even look smart. They look well-rested and like the talent oozes from their ears and I am over there with baby yogurt on my shirt and fairly certain I have slept an average of four hours a night since 2010.
I know a lot of people have said that it’s very hard to thrust yourself into that situation….it feels like everyone is measuring you….that they see your flaws…and that you don’t stack up. And you can get caught up in it if it’s unexpected….you will have to work through all that in the moment….and then you lose valuable time establishing relationships with other bloggers or learning about new tools or brands or equipping yourself with skills that will help your blog. If you come ready to feel uncomfortable….you can just bypass all that…you will expect it and know the TRUTH. The truth is that everyone feels that way. SO come ready for those moments of insecurity and armed with a whole lot of business cards and just be you!
WHO ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE OR HEAR THIS YEAR?
Personally I am most excited to see friends! That’s a given. But beyond that, I am really interested in hearing some speakers – specifically Trevor Debth talk about video tips and tricks. I am also interested in learning from and meeting some of the girls who are speaking about Instastories and how they use it to connect with their audience. That is something I want for myself! And then of course, I am gonna fan-girl out over Taniya Nayak (we’ve met once before so I literally might print out that photo on a t-shirt to bring and then embarrass myself royally when I act like a complete lunatic)….and of course the key note speakers – Chris & Peyton Lambton (from Yard Crashers & Bachelorette/Bachelor/Bachelor Pad fame!).
And if you guys are wanting to hear a WHOLE BUNCH of other great advice from fellow mentors – they are teaching me and I have LOVED reading their words of wisdom! Hop on over to their blogs and see how they answered these same questions….