Doing things new on your own can be scary, but I’m usually pretty brave and willing to give most things a try. This was the case of attending Haven back in 2012 – the very first year. Step out. Being Brave – Attending a Blogger Conference on Your Own
Haven is a DIY-blogging conference I attend each summer in Atlanta. Why this one? It’s close to me so travel costs are better for me, and it’s actually one of the lower priced conferences you will find. I have formed friendships with people from all over the country and Canada, met a few celebrities, and really learned a lot. That’s not just about blogging, but also DIY, communicating with companies, and being more adventurous.
Let’s go back to the very beginning. In 2012 Pinterest was starting to take off big time and you was hearing about these blogs that people were writing. I thought, “Maybe I should do that” so off to explore the world of blogging.
One day I googled something like learn to blog or blog conference and here was Haven in Atlanta in just a few weeks – sold out. I learned there was a wait list or people would sell tickets at last minute if things came up.
It happened though the week of Haven was also a family vacation for us. Oh the dilemna. I convinced the guys if I got a ticket they could do a “boys vacation” because they knew how much I would enjoy this. Just learning more about DIY made it appealing.
So on Friday before it started on Wednesday, I secured a ticket and a roommate, a group of Texas girls who I didn’t know at all. Business cards were suggested – didn’t have so off to the copier and laminator it was.
I knew going in I knew no one but had heard of Marion Parsons, Miss Mustard Seed, through my cousin, who knew her parents, etc. Wednesday night cocktail party I mingled but soon found most had buddies already, but I found another single from Virginia so we connected.
Thursday morning was opening speakers – everyone was all abuzz about John & Sherry – WHO? Young House Love was a popular blog – Who knew? I had never heard of them or their blog, but apparently they were blogging royalty. Yes, they were fun and great to listen to their story and how they became “big time bloggers” as people say. And, remember how much better cell phone pics are now too.
But remember Twitter, Instagram and FaceBook was just beginning to be a thing also.
I wondered around to sessions and learned about painting and power tools. It didn’t seem blogging wasn’t as much of a business then, or maybe I just didn’t realize it. I also fell in love with Ryobi tools.
One day at lunch I saw Marion at a table my herself so I asked if I could join her and of course, she said yes. It was fun getting to know someone in the blogging world who was just a regular person.
I mean, some of these people are now nationally known and rockstars – KARIANNE Wood of Thistlewood Farms! I think she came the 2nd year. And is now she is the closing speaker and soon to be published author. And I have no picture of us – how can that be?
You never know where coming to Haven can lead you.
Ana White showed us how to build a bench with cubby holes while wearing high heels, coming all the way from Alaska. She’s had a show on HGTV.
I came home thinking I can do this thing called blogging – well, it took a while.
Fast forward almost 6 years later, I got a blog up and going, and enjoy it. Still making friends, doing projects, and appearing on lots of local TV shows. HGTV hasn’t called me yet.
I think last year was as much fun and worthwhile to me as any. I felt I learned a lot, made more connections, and had a better direction for me. I came home extra enthused and motivated.
Well, two days later that fell apart when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Thankfully I’m fine now and looking forward to Haven this year. I can’t say how many of my fellow bloggers reached out to me with messages during this time, which meant so much.
This little world of bloggers is a big family.
What would I tell someone who wants to attend an event for the first time, or start a blog? Go for it – don’t be afraid. Will my blog ever hit the number of viewers some do, probably not, but that’s ok. Do I enjoy the projects, doing TV, and making friends – yes I do. So, that’s the important part for me.
If you are new to this whole world or attending Haven, your first or your fifth, don’t think you are bothering someone if you introduce yourself or ask a question. See an empty chair, have a seat. Remember you are in the South and we offer Southern Hospitality.
And a couple questions that always comes up – what to wear & what to bring.
Be comfy – lots of sitting and walking. A sweater or jacket as some rooms can be cool. But Atlanta is HOT & HUMID. The cocktail party is sometimes held outside on Thursday evening. No formal wear required.
Business cards, laptop (up to you), note pad, pens, extra room in luggage for swag to take home, camera or phone, and most important a smile and willingness to meet new people.
See you in Atlanta. Introduce yourself.