Apr 6, 2016

A Non-Professional's Experience at BlogHerPRO 2013

I just got back from an intense few days at the BlogHerPRO conference which was held in Silicon Valley this year.

Let me explain: I do NOT consider myself a "Professional Blogger" by any means.  
If I had to survive on my income from blogging to feed my family, we couldn't even afford Ramen. Blogging still has to fall into the "pastime" category for me.

I will confess, the only reason I attended was because I live in the Bay Area and it was going to be an "easy commute" over to the venue.  The reason I have "easy commute" in quotes is that anyone who lives around San Francisco/Silicon Valley can testify that there is no such thing as an easy commute.  On a good day I was facing at least an hour in traffic, but I had an unforseen complication of a public transportation strike to make it even more exciting.  I ended up staying in a hotel close to the venue to save myself the headache and turned the two days into a mini-vacation for myself. BEST.DECISION.EVER!

Not only did I learn quite a bit at the conference, but I also came home refreshed.   Check out the venue for the opening night's cocktail mixer:

One other cool thing about this specific conference (vs, say Haven for example) is that the participants were very different.  There were hardly any DIY bloggers there (I may even say there were NO other DIY bloggers there.. at least that I met), and I only recognized a handful of blog names.  I did however meet a TON of local bloggers whose blog topics ran the gamut from MommyBloggers to FoodBloggers, Self-HelpBloggers, TechBloggers and even a few people who blogged professionally about things like Medical Care, Law, and Business Development.   

There were a lot of bloggers at this conference with tens hundreds of thousands of followers and millions billions of pageviews and it would have been easy to be intimidated, but most people were super nice and easy to talk to;  Regular ol' people with regular ol' lives.  Even though I am a tiny blogger, I could actually relate to a lot of the "big guys."  In fact,  Britt Reints  (who spoke about Pivoting your Brand) even gave me a little shout out, after hearing my story of re-branding my blog earlier this year.
It was fascinating really (at least to me, who doesn't really run in non-DIY blog circles) to hear about other people's motivations for blogging and how they have found success.  (Pinterest isn't exactly a big traffic driver if you are blogging about Medicare or Binding Legal Contracts!)

And even though was quite a bit of information in the sessions that didn't (and probably won't ever) apply to me (like turning your blog into a marketable physical product,) the message of "You don't have to be perfect!" "Give yourself a break and just do the best that you can." and "Don't compare yourself to others!" still resonated.

All these (now) big professional bloggers had to start somewhere.  It struck me when keynote speaker Porter Gale said: "Miracles and success are an accumulation of small steps.  Baby steps still mean you are making progress!" (Totally random anecdote: She and I actually had a discussion about how the houses on Houzz are insanely large and over-the-top and just how fun that makes them to look at! See.. I told you.. regular ol' people! )

If you are interested in the information presented in any of the sessions, you should peruse though the Virtual Conference Blog Posts.  I promise, if you are a blogger, big or little, you will learn something.  
The final highlight of the whole event was the announcement that the next BlogHer conference (you know, the "BIG ONE!')  is going to be in San Jose!  My backyard!!  I hope that I will get to see a few of favorite fellow BlogHer Sponsored DIY bloggers there!
 I'm going to BlogHerPRO '13!

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