5 reasons why you Gotta Hafta go to Haven Conference
It’s been pretty quiet here in this space for about a week, but not because nothing has been going on with the blog. More like because all sorts of exciting things have been going on!
I was blessed to spend this past weekend in Atlanta with over 400 pro-bloggers, 100+ sponsor representatives and a whole big bundle of excitement everywhere we went. In all the excitement, there was little time to sleep and even less time to blog, a little pre-planning issue I intend to change in the future. In the meantime, consider this your advanced invite to join us at Haven 2017 because once you hear these 5 reasons why you gotta hafta go to Haven Conference, you’ll want to reserve your ticket too!
What’s that you say? You don’t have a blog so you can’t go? Au contraire! I met several amazing women this year who don’t have a blog but are wanting to start one. What a brilliant way to learn blogging before accumulating a host of mistakes to correct. Wish I had thought that way a year ago so I could spend much of the next month creating instead of correcting. I heard about another non-blogger who came with no desire to start a blog, but simply an excitement to enjoy DIY classes and exhibits with some cutting edge products and project ideas.
So without further ado, 5 reasons why you gotta hafta attend Haven Conference …
1 | Because Grand Hyatt, Grilled Salmon, Starbucks & Chandys upon Chandys
It’s not that you’ve never stayed in a nice hotel, it may be more like you’re kind of an outdoor girl at heart. An awesome family vacation for you might involve the mountains or beach, a nightly fire with s’mores and an overcrowded tent. So, yeah, the Grand Hyatt is a bit swanky.
And the chandeliers are everywhere. The Hyatt staff pretty much expect all of the DIY/design bloggers to take multiple pictures of the chandys. You’ll still look ridiculous staring up at the ceilings and snapping away, but it would never stop you from appreciating such beauty! This ginormous one in the main stairwell may quickly become a favorite.
Although it’s gorgeous, it’s not the design that you’ll love. It’s the group of women who will gather, ones who had previously only shared a few sentences online if that. You’ll love how the adventure begins immediately as you run across the street through a deluge of rain so you can dine in a trendy restaurant looking as stylish as a pack of drowned rats. You’ll have absolutely no inkling of how special each woman will become by the end of your weekend. Maybe there’s some sort of magical bond formed when you walk into a classy restaurant looking all disheveled and soggy. Whatever it is, it’ll work!
From that first night of swanky accomodations, to the grilled salmon and roasated veggies for lunch, to the morning Starbucks coffee on tap and plenty of spaces to sit and chat – you’ll quickly find it to be the perfect venue for gathering and connecting deeply with others who get you.
2 | Because Geeking out on Tech Tips, New Apps, Analytics and Knowing there’s Always Something New to Learn
But, I’m not a techy person, you say. I’m not a business-minded person, you say. And this blogging thing requires a good bit of both. So when you have the experts in the field sharing the tips, tricks and techniques they’ve learned along the way, you listen. And you take notes. Lots and lots of notes. And when you miss some, one of your new-found friends will mail her notes to you. And just in case, lots of the speakers will add their notes for all the Haven attendees to enjoy. Even if you didn’t even go to their class in the first place!
And oh my, the ways to really discover and understand your readers! What matters to them? What’s the best way to connect with them?
And if you already know that stuff, or don’t need to know the techy stuff, then the hands-on classes are some of the best you’ll get anywhere. From water painting with crazy gifted artists to photo styling to building cool stuff out of concrete.
3 | Because Swag Bags, Dance Parties, Awesome Brands to Work with … and did I mention Swag Bags?
Perchance “free” is your thing … who am I kidding? Have you ever known anyone who didn’t perk up a bit when they heard the word “free”. If not, then I don’t know how to say this nicely, but our friendship from here on out just might be on shaky ground.
The first thing that happens when you check in at the Hyatt is that you’ll be offered some yummy fruit infused peach tea. Becuase, Georgia and peaches go together like oreos and milk. Next, you’ll pick up your name tag and your swag bag.
When I say swag bag, think ginormous tool bag, that one in the bottom right corner above, stuffed with all sorts of tools and treasures. Like, bring an extra suitcase big, because if you can somehow fit your swag bag contents in your usual luggage, you’ll never get all the other giveaways in there too. There’s just that much stuff these companies send home with bloggers. And we’re not talking stress balls and pens here, we’re talking coolers, hardware, specialized paints and stains and a Dremel tool, the same one that’s been on your wish list for a few years now. You also need to be prepared to explain to the men in your life that the power tools are part of your swag and not their Christmas wish list. Yeah, have fun with that!
4| Because Mentors, Tribes, Friendships and Big Girl Sleepovers
One of the new features of Haven this year was mentor groups. As a Haven attendee, aka. Haven Maven, you’ll be placed in a group of about a dozen or so others and a mentor, all of whom are quite experienced and gifted.
Your mentor just might be Mandi from Vintagerevivals.com, whose tagline on her home page reads “This DIY blog runs on paint fumes and blind enthusiasm. Consider yourself warned.” What’s not to love about that?! You may not think you’re much into the mid-century decor stuff until you see her blog and promptly change your mind. After reading her crazy-fun-embrace-life creativity you too will respect her, even more, when you hear her heart on life, marriage, facing fears and growing strong in the grit of life. What a gift to hear her heart and see her genuineness and her desire to encourage others and most of all to remain true to ourselves and our readers.
If that mentoring weren’t enough, you may also have the privilege of making the 6-hour trek to and from Atlanta with someone like Cyndi from cyndispivey.com. Cyndi is a fashion blogger who not only shares great fashions and tips, but also beauty for the heart as the foundation of our outward beauty. Cyndi did not teach classes at Haven this year, but she has in the past, so it was like another 14 hours of blog / life mentoring. Note to self, a 12-hour round trip can easily become a 14-hour round trip if
I’ve you’ve had very much coffee to drink.
You may even bump into someone you met several years earlier for just a few short minutes. And even though you each knew the other was attending Haven, you would have no idea how quickly you would connect and how excited you would be to see what God does with that friendship in years to come.
And you may just end up rooming with a few women you’ve never met until you checked into the hotel. And you’ll smile at the blessing they were and will continue to be on this journey. And you’ll come across those crazy talented creatives with loads of energy who make it hard to wait and see what they do and how many they inspire in the years ahead. But you’ll watch nevertheless because you just know it’ll be worth it.
Then you’ll meet women from all over the US – Kentucky, Oregon, North Carolina, Washington, Arkansas, Tennessee … This will become your tribe. Some of them will be such huge influencers that it could be intimidating that is, if they weren’t also so down-to-earth and interested in journeying together.
What encouragement, laughter, wisdom, and general silliness you’ll share together. Not to mention some pretty tasty dinners too! You’ll hear everyone talking about the networking friendship thing almost as soon as you register. But you can’t grasp the depth of what they mean until you’re there, at which time it’ll become crystal clear and beyond your wildest expectations.
And then you’ll just settle in and enjoy the best big girl sleepover of your life.
5 | Because Coaxing, Pushing and Soaring out of our Comfort Zone are non-options in this life
You may find that right up until just a few days before Haven you’ll be excited but you’ll mostly be intimidated. Unlike a lot of bloggers, you may be an extrovert. You may love meeting new people, hearing their stories and connecting. You may even love setting out on new adventures and learning new things. But, you may not love all of those things happening at once, without the comfort of people you know or a base of knowledge. It’s so easy and natural to compare. Comparing ourselves to others who are further down the path we’re pursuing, yes. But even comparing ourselves to where we would like to be. Some of us are true over-achievers in this area. It can be completely defeating and hard to pull out of once we head that direction.
Scary stuff here, mixed with a bit of excitement too. But some days, mostly scary.
Even with the scary intimidating stuff, you’ll not find a better way to spend your days. And you may need to have lots of conversations in your own head as needed. You’ll recognize them after a bit because they usually start with, “Suck it up, Buttercup” and move on from there.
And the best part? You’ll quickly discover that everyone’s feeling the same way. Even those with tens of thousands of Instagram followers, and subscribers that extended beyond immediate family members. And the beauty of the assortment of those gathered is in seeing how sensitive so many are to including others instead of allowing them to be left sitting alone. Because when that’s the prevailing attitude, the “alone” never lasts very long as it’s quickly replaced with a “Hey, come join us”.
Along the lines of doing brave things that terrify us, you may find yourself and your new blogging friend being roped into participating in a fashion show. Along with the blogging mentors, remember the really big bloggers that were holding your hands and walking you through this adventure that is blogging, yeah, them. Let me just say, you may be the type who would rather spend a Saturday afternoon at the mall in mid to late-December than do anything that involves a catwalk and others looking at you. That’s when you’ll text a pic like the one above to your family, along with the “You better be praying hard because I just might puke” command.
They will. And somehow you and your friend will both survive and manage to have a little fun along the way. And then you’ll get to work with an awesome company like Glamour Farms Boutique. There will be more on them and some of their sweet clothes and accessories in the days to come. Trust me, you’ll love their hilariously fun selves and their great selection of clothing and accessories!
Then, after your first of many Haven Conferences, you’ll be so so so very glad that you did what you knew to be the brave thing and started a blog. The thought of putting your ideas and words out there for others to receive or reject can be quite intimidating, but you’ll know that you know that the idea of living all boxed up in your little comfort zone can quickly become quite stale and drab.
Because it’s all about the journey, those we journey with and what we learn along the way
The really cool part is that none of this would have been possible without another friend like Traci. A friend who would gift something huge to you, freeing up the finances to even make Haven a possibility. It’s a beautiful picture of this entire Haven journey. It starts with one kindness followed by the kindness upon kindness of others that make this a conference you’ll plan on attending for years to come.
And then as you go about working to improve your blog space, and learn more about your readers and what makes them tick, you’ll want to be more mindful of encouraging others.
This isn’t a race – not with ourselves or others.
This is a journey. And most journeys are meant to be made together.
Your being here encourages me more than you’ll ever know!
So thank you! Thank you for the comments and the sharing! Thank you for coming back! And thank you for joining in on this adventure!
And since you’re here and still reading along, how can I encourage you today?