A week from today I fly out to Atlanta for the 2015 Haven Conference.
It will be my first Haven, and more than that, my first blog conference ever.
Last year as Haven approached, I debated with myself and with my husband about whether or not to attend. The cost is significant, once you add up the conference fee, hotel cost, and airfare, and then there is always the issue of who will stay with my kiddos while my husband is at work when I leave town. In the end we decided attending wasn’t right for me at that time. Our finances were stretched, and our summer calendar was already planned and pretty full, so I let it pass without signing up.
As the conference buzz started for this coming summer, I found myself not really interested in the idea of attending . . . which surprised me. Maybe it was the new direction my business was taking as a Fusion Mineral Paint Merchant, or maybe it was blogging fatigue that caused my disinterest–I’m not sure. But for whatever reason, I let it go.
Until about a month ago, when I happened to see that Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed was going to be teaching a workshop at this year’s Haven Conference. You all know I am a huge fan of Marian’s work, so my interest in attending the conference was piqued again by the chance to hear Marian teach.
So over a two-day process, I looked into flights, hotel costs, etc, and talked through the idea of attending with my husband. He was on board with my going, as long as I was sure it was what I wanted to do. He said I wasn’t allowed to attend the conference then come back complaining that it was a waste of money . . . I had to commit to being all-in.
You may be wondering why in the world a DIY/Home Decor blogging conference may seem like a waste of money to a DIY/Home Decor blogger . . . Well, I have a secret to tell you–I am really not a blogger.
Yes, I have a website. Yes, I write regular posts on that website. Yes, I respond (although often delayed) to comments on that website. Yes, I occasionally host giveaways on my website. And yes, I often participate in links with other sites where I promote my posts.
All that considered though, I still have a really hard time defining myself as a blogger. My commitment level to all of this wavers considerably, and I’m not sure I want to go full-steam ahead into taking this website to the proverbial “next level.”
In comparing myself with other women of the DIY/Home Decor website world, I feel woefully inadequate. I am often poorly planned, and my home certainly is not magazine-photo worthy, like so many others are. I worry that I can’t produce the level of commitment really required to be a Blogger, if that makes any sense.
I actually really don’t like the computer, or technology in general. What I do like though is sharing what I’ve learned with others and writing as a creative outlet . . . so it’s sort of like I tolerate the computer so that I can do those other two things.
I primarily see myself as an antique dealer and furniture painter.
I started LostandFoundDecor.com as a way to help promote my local business, to give people a place to land when considering my work and my finds. As my business has grown, this blog has grown and adapted as well.
People ask me all the time if I make money off my blog, and the clear answer is no. Very little direct income comes from this site (not counting online sales of Fusion paint).
It’s hard to quantify though, but I am certain that a good bit of indirect income comes from my blog, in the form of custom work referrals, people visiting my booth because of seeing my site, and Fusion paint purchases in store.
So I’ve always seen this blog as not the end in itself, but as the means to the bigger end of profiting my business as a whole.
Now do you see more why I have a hard time committing all the way to this blog thing?
Well, I have decided that it’s time for me to make a decision on where I really want to take this site–do I really want to be a blogger? Ultimately I am attending the Haven Conference to help answer that question.
I am hoping that at Haven I will have the opportunity to learn from other, bigger named bloggers about what it really takes to succeed in Blog-land. I am hoping to clarify my blog goals as I learn just what it will take behind the scenes to get my site “out there.” I’m hoping to decide if I want to be all-in, or if I don’t.
That is my primary reason for going to the Haven Conference.
I know it will have other benefits for me–learning some new DIY skills, making new friends in my field, meeting some other Fusion Merchants and having the chance to promote Fusion to other furniture painters. And let’s not forget the chance to get all dressed up and be out of the house for a few days during summer break!
I am hopeful though to walk away from Haven with a clarified business purpose, and a better plan of where I want to go and how I want to get there.
To all of you who are so gracious to follow and read this blog, I am so thankful for you. Your support has been amazing, and your patience with me as I grow has been merciful. I live for the occasional comments that come which say something like, “I was just about you start this project and your site has been so helpful!”. They make this worth it for me.
So, check back in about 10 days to hear how Haven went. I am going alone–don’t know anyone and a little nervous about feeling on the outside. But I’m going to put my “big-girl pants on,” as my husband says, and do it.
Let’s see what happens.