Because sometimes you need to take a chance in life. Sometimes you need to zig left, when everyone else is zagging right. That is what I did this past week. I took a big, fat, scary chance.
As a blogger, if you want to grow you need to put yourself out there. You need to reach out to people, even when it seems impossible that they would ever e-mail you back. You need to build communities and friendships with those who share your passions, and sometimes you need to attend conferences. I have attended them before – Sewing Summit and Alt Summit, which you can find recaps HERE. I absolutely adore going to these events. As heart wrenching as it is to leave your family (and trust me, it is). I love going and meeting up with friends, meeting the brands that recognize the force that bloggers are, and learning new tricks and tips to help me grow. But this time I was taking a chance.
I made up my mind last year that I would attend Mom Summit 2.0 this year. Not the obvious choice, SNAP – which happens to occur the week before Mom summit, makes it impossible for me to attend both. I was going to put myself out there – and attend a conference that isn’t exactly my ‘niche’, where I knew next to nobody attending. I was going to take that LEAP into the unknown.
I was going to zig left. I went to Mom Summit 2.0.
Taking a Chance.
It was hard, I was awkward. I remembered what it felt like that very first time I ever attended a conference…ever. Feeling like an outsider, like the outcast on the fringe of a ‘clicky’ group of friends. People didn’t look twice at me, and on MORE than one occasion I would overhear snide remarks about those ‘crafty bloggers’ (in which I burned with indignation and then quickly turned the other cheek and walked away). They didn’t know who I was, they didn’t know me – and they certainly never expected one of those ‘crafty bloggers’ to be there among them in attendance. After all, why should I be? Why should a crafty blogger be at a Mom conference?
Well for one, I am a Mom. Let’s just start with that basic undeniable fact. But secondly, a little unknown fact here among my fabulous CRAFTY BLOG WHICH I AM IMMENSELY PROUD OF is that I am indeed a ‘Mom Blogger’ too. I write numerous stories for Disney’s Babble, which do very well and I love writing. Babble gives me an outlet that doesn’t always fit on this DIY blog space, to talk about my family and children – to talk about the struggles of motherhood, and to sometimes just laugh about it all. You can see all of the articles I have written for them HERE. In fact, some of the stories I have pitched them ended up on this blog anyway – simply because I felt they were good stories that needed to be written. Extensions of myself that I wanted to share with the world. I write for a lot of companies, and I love that aspect of my job dearly. I love being able to put different pieces of myself out there – in the hopes that it helps someone who might be having a bad day, someone who can relate.
But why else might I consider attending Mom Summit? And probably the most important reason for my business financially, the thing I need to consider when deciding if it is worth spending just over $1,000 on a work related conference expense. The sponsors, companies, and people I would have an opportunity to meet. Sponsors that might not normally look at my niche of blogging, but SHOULD.
We craft / sewing / DIY bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. We are starting a MOVEMENT among women, and we need to be heard. We aren’t just women sitting at home with glue on our hands. We are smart, successful, creative women with a passion to share and teach. We weave our own stories, either through words or pictures that help others every single day. Whether that is through teaching a new skill, or making someone smile, we are here – working hard day in and day out, all for the love of an underlying passion. To let out the artistry within us. With our own stories to tell, these companies and brands provide us with an opportunity to reach new audiences by getting in front of new faces. That is why I attended Mom Summit. To stand up among a room full of one blogging niche, and say I AM HERE. I am one of you, I am a Mom, and I am here.
So how did it go for me, was it worth it?
My recap – the first day, I was miserable. I was so scared, and kept asking myself – did I make a mistake? I don’t fit in here. I am not like these women, many of whom apparently look down upon my craft and skill. These are not ‘my people’. I admit that I sort of sank into the shadows that day. I allowed my sister to do much of the talking. (Did I mention that? My sister was there with me too – which was AWESOME!!!!). Here we are together…she is pretty dang beautiful, inside and out.
My sister can be quite the personality, we are pretty much opposites in every way. She comes from a marketing background, and I admit that I allowed the introvert in me to sink behind and let her lead the way that first day. I was the wilting flower, not wanting to rudely interrupt. I went back to the hotel room utterly defeated that night, I had messed up. The next morning I literally had to force myself out of bed to make it down to the conference. I didn’t want to go, I simply wanted to hide. Have you ever felt that way? I did. I am not gonna lie, I have felt that way even at conferences where I have numerous friends. That feeling of being unworthy. It crippled me.
But that morning I pulled myself out of bed and went on the Mom Summit 2.0 run. The course was beautiful, and I forgot to wear sunscreen – lol. It was freaking TOUGH. The hills, oh the hills that are never on my treadmill but were in great abundance on this run. On that run I had a mental struggle, I pushed myself to finish that race. To not stop half way through and walk back, to continue running up each hill – even when I thought I couldn’t take another step. Willed myself into strength and endurance, knowing that if I could finish that race – I could conquer the day as well. I COULD DO IT. I would. And I did.
I went back to the hotel room after that run, and I got down and my hands and knees and said a little prayer. Nothing in depth, but I just asked God for help. Help to bring me to the right sponsors, help to make the divine appointments, that His light would shine upon me and I would sparkle at this conference. That among a group of incredible talented Motherhood authors, I would somehow shine with my specific talents.
And you know what? I did.
That second day was MY day. I owned it. I met the right people, made the right connections, and even bumped into some friends. I let my sister do her own thing, so that I wouldn’t fall back into relying on her. Instead I relied on God to be my wingman, and of course – He never disappoints.
So as I sit here, recapping in my head the conference and ask myself the same question I ask myself after every conference, ‘Was it worth it?’. I simply need to answer YES.
Once again, yes.
Nothing is worth spending time away from your family, but sometimes for business these things are a reality. And God helped me through, and helped me to SHINE. I simply needed to do my part. I needed to get out of bed, get dressed, and get my booty down there. I needed to be open, and friendly, and prepared to talk. I needed to have my game face on. And then I needed to let God do the rest and not worry about it.
I have no clue whether it will lead to partnerships financially, but I can tell you that I have new insight as to things I can implement on my blog. Things that will help my work grow, even if they too are scary at first. And some company connections that, if they work out, I believe you as my readers will really enjoy. And might even help grow our community. Which is really what this sewing blog thing is all about. To help teach others that they too CAN SEW. They can be empowered to craft, sew, or do just about anything they put their mind to! If only they would try. That is what these companies offer, as they put their product in my hands – we help each other. I put their product in front of readers who might not normally see it, and they put my blog in front of readers who might not normally have thought about sewing or crafting. It is a mutually beneficial relationship, that helps all when done right.
This thing we are doing, its called LIFE.
And I can confidently say, that Mom Summit 2.0 helped me do just that, take a chance and live a life thats just a little bit fuller now. All with the help of my ever present wing-man, God.