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What I Learned At BlogPodium 2014

by - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Has it really been a week since my last blog post?? The past few days have been a whirlwind and I'm still both exhausted and energized by all the ideas in my head. Crazy! BlogPodium changes every year, from venue to content, from sponsors to attendees, so its always a bit of a mystery on how things will actually turn out. Thankfully, everything went as planned and I really think we did deliver on the best BlogPodium yet. I can't wait for next year!!

While I don't get to attend the sessions myself, just like last year, I find that there are some big lessons that resonate throughout the day and stay with me. Here's my takeaways:

1. How to be authentic? Don't think about being authentic.

The day started with Donna of Funky Junk Interiors telling her personal and moving story of how she started her blog during the most difficult time in her life. It continued with Scott McGillivray being very candid about his ambition and drive to be successful - but also about how he hates travelling because it takes him away from his family. Monika Hibbs talked straight too, revealing her secret photo apps, how she generates revenue from affiliate marketing, and the fact her breakfasts do look as good IRL as they do on Instagram. I surprised myself as well, getting a bit sappy talking about how I love to help other people shine, to help them find their own success. I kinda knew that about myself, but I've never really articulated it before, let alone in front of 300 people.

Those moments of honesty, of people really saying what's on their minds, is what helps you connect. "Authenticity" is the hot topic for bloggers these days and I got to see it put in action. What does it mean for me as a blogger? I think Scott put it best when he said "chasing whatever is popular will turn you into a bunch of little pieces of other people". That's an easy trap to fall into when you're surrounded by other bloggers all talking about the latest gold spraypaint DIY, featuring a weekly fashion post or joining on a blog house tour. If that's not you, if you don't really enjoy those things, then don't blog about them. Just be you, because you are fabulous enough. "YOU" are what your readers keep coming back for. Your uniqueness is the blog.

2. Friendships can help you get where you want to go.

BlogPodium has become big. Really big. Some people think I do it all myself, including sending out all the tweets, taking care of the website, and posting on Instagram too! That is absolutely not the case - I have a fantastic team working with me. I'm constantly amazed at how people were willing to help me achieve my dreams and each blogger in that room is in the same position I am: you're surrounded by friends and connections that can help you accomplish whatever it is you want to do. We tend to think that blogging is isolating and individualistic and competitive - but it doesn't have to be. It can be supportive and uplifting and positive.

KristineJulie, Sean, Tia, Britt, Lisa, Lindsey, Brittany & me

3. Success takes time.

Scott told the audience that "successful entrepreneurs need to get used to the idea of delayed gratification" and he was so right. We all start with 0 readers. If you want to grow your blog, be patient and do it right. Learn what you need to know, develop your skills, work hard at your content, and you'll see the trees that grow from those seeds.

4. The fun is just as important as the work.

One of my favourite things about the conference is the chance it gives me to reconnect with blogger friends. To give a hug to friends I've never met (even if they are wearing the same dress as you, ha!). To have spontaneous bathroom conversations with one another. To get goofy in the photo booth. Those are the kinds of things I remember when I'm tired and worn out and blogging seems more like a chore than something I enjoy doing. At the end of the day, you can put all the hard work into your blog but it will only survive and thrive if you have fun with it too.

I think HandyMan needs to wear bowties more often! #dapper

I'm already dreaming up ideas for next year's event. Did you go to BlogPodium? I'd love to hear what you thought of it.

All photos courtesy of Flow Photo and Snapshot Photo Booth.

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