I recently attended my second Minnesota Blogger Conference. The first time, I’d barely hit the publish button and knew there was a lot I needed to learn. This time felt far less intimidating, but with just as much to learn. If you are not a blogger you may think this post isn’t for you, but the main things I took from the conference had nothing to do with blogging, so stay with me!
Everyone gathered in the newly renovated auditorium on the Concordia campus in St. Paul to hear keynote speaker, Jennifer Kane. The title of her talk How to Become a Fierce and Fearless Blogger had me intrigued, for I am not fierce or fearless. Both descriptors sound bold and sexy, but she was going to have to pack a lot into a short amount of time to move me in that direction. Somehow she managed to tie menstruation and Beyonce into an inspiring talk – trust me, you had to be there. She discussed how being authentic is fierce in itself. She encouraged us to pair our natural abilities with hard work. Perhaps most importantly, she reminded us that in the process of becoming fierce and fearless we would have to try things and get comfortable with failure. She wrapped up with what ended up to be my favorite words of the day that went something like this –
discomfort and fear are the gatekeepers to everything good in life.
After that kick in the pants I went to get a professional head shot taken by Glimpses of Soul. Owner Mandy Dwyer knew how to get a glimpse of my soul, she asked about my family. The combination of photos I’m currently using represent the past eight years and a couple hairstyles, so I guess it was time. From there I went to meet with Monumetric. These fine folks help bloggers make money doing what they love.
Next I went to a session titled “Live Video: Kick Butt and Stand Out” by Erica Hanna. Erica and I have a mutual friend and I’ve heard amazing things about her, so I was ready for her… even if I wasn’t ready to kick butt on LIVE video. Erica was fabulous, but really me and LIVE video? I’m not sure about that. My aha moment from this was that video allows you to control the tone of the story you are trying to tell. And the big take away that applies to everyone everywhere: be prepared, be real, and ask for help when you need it.
After lunch I attended “Hello From The Other Side – Getting Smarter About Working With Small Businesses” by Sonal Gerten. Sonal is founder of Tumblewalla, which is a line of organic baby and toddler clothing. She too spoke on the power of story telling. The reminder I garnered here was the importance of connecting in person, we live in a digital age and sometimes ignore the power of meeting face to face.
The last session I attended was with Jasmine Brett Stringer. And she was delightful. If you’re on Twitter you should follow her for some lively commentary. I can’t stand Twitter, but she loves it and Oprah follows her, so her tweets must be good. The key to this fun chat was another gem we can all relate to: acknowledge what your big dreams are and be prepared for opportunities when they come along. I will surely be reading her book How To Seize Your Life.
I skipped the last session and the after party. An introvert such as myself can only handle hanging out with 370+ people for so long! I learned a lot and some of it was nuts and bolts blogging stuff, but the really good stuff was bigger than blogging. I’m now inspired to get past the gatekeeper and I hope you are too.