My new favorite song…

Warning, this song will haunt you.

BlogHer’11 obsessed much? Is this normal? Part 1

bh 11

I’m seriously losing sleep at night people.  BlogHer is literally on my mind 24/7.  I haven’t flown on a plane since before 9-11 and haven’t left my husband and kids for more than one night, which was spent in a local hotel hanging with my SIL’s.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve never hailed a taxi on my own, slept in a hotel room on my own, eaten in a restaurant on my own…Is this normal?  Oh and the big thing…I’ve never been to BlogHer!

So for this trip there will be a lot of firsts for me and I am as excited as just about any one adult could possibly be! 

BlogHer was just a dream.  For years I watched BlogHer conferences come and go, I admired those who could make it, but I never let myself even explore whether or not it was a possibility for me.

So what changed that?  Well around the beginning of this year my husband went to a Fire Conference with a few of his firefighter buddies (co-workers), they stayed in a hotel, attended training sessions during the day.  The trip was paid for my his department.  I thought about how cool it would be for me to attend BlogHer, if I could get sponsors, and so I brought it up to my husband, pretty much assuming he’d say it was just out of our reach, maybe some other time, etc.

To my delight, despite the fact that it was all the way across the country, on a plane, away from home, would cost hundreds of dollars AND he’d have to watch our three kids for four days…he said “go for it!”  I was left wondering why I hadn’t dared dream or discuss BlogHer outloud before?  I think I was afraid to get my hopes up only to find out that we could not afford the trip.

Things began to fall into place, I got my BlogHer ticket, thanks to an online buddy (The Eco Chic) who pointed out that they were on sale for ONE more day!  I felt like getting my ticket was committing, no going back, setting the wheels in motion for my dream to come true and accomplishing my goal of attending BlogHer.

Next step, sponsors.  Since I am a BlogHer newbie I didn’t feel like I should be agreeing to represent companies at BlogHer because I had no idea what to expect, what was kosher, and I didn’t want to not be able to provide what I agreed to providing.  I agreed to do for sponsors what I do best; blog for them and about them, tweet about them, advertise them on my blog and facebook, and give them a sampling of what it is that I do as the Cloth Diaper Geek and She Thinks Media.  My sponsor packages are pretty much, a very cheap, sampling of what it’s like to hire a marketing rep for your small business.

But was I worthy?  I wondered if anyone would see the value in the reputation I was building and in the services I provide.  The answer was yes and I couldn’t be more ecstatic.  It’s a great feeling to have fellow small business owners validate your work.  Thanks to my great sponsors my trip is paid for and now all I am left to do is obsess over the details, what to wear, who to meet, what sessions and parties to attend…

Rather than to write a novel this morning I’ll try to come back and write a second part about BlogHer obsessed ramblings!

Are you obsessed?  Been blogging about it?  I’d love to read your BlogHer thoughts and advice!

The battle for originality and individuality…

Services & Pricing

The battle for originality and individuality in blogging, business and media.

Creativity and innovation are not easy to come by.  Some are naturally gifted, unique ideas flow without much effort, or so it seems.  But with the the world wide web, can you be truly unique and/or original and is it possible to set yourself apart from the rest, even if it is just for a brief moment in time?  What exactly is originality?

orig·i·nal·i·ty
noun \?-?ri-j?-?na-l?-t?\

Definition of ORIGINALITY (according to Merriam-Webster)

  • the quality or state of being original
  • freshness of aspect, design, or style
  • the power of independent thought or constructive imagination

From my experience having been an online retailer I realized quick that your “admirers” a.k.a. competitors keep a close eye on everything you do, and you may do the same, in fact if you’re smart you WILL do the same.  For the most part they do it in private, they can read your pages, follow your blog, twitter, facebook, etc. and keep tabs on your every move.  They can even copy your every move if they really want to.  So after pouring over your new package deal or promotion or other new concept, they can essentially rewrite your idea and pretty much instantly begin competing against you using it.  Sad but true.

Aside from watermarking your photos, what can you do?  If you suspect someone of copying your content a little too closely then you can try and contact them, but do you really have time to look over everyone else’s sites and try to determine if they may or may no have copied you?  What good is that going to do you?

So what can you do?  In my opinion all you can do is keep moving, keep innovating and continue trying to outdo yourself.  While the feeling your being copied is discouraging, it’s not the end of the world.  I like to think that internet karma will prevail.

Essentially, to succeed in business, blogging and marketing online, whether you feel you’re being watched or not, you should live and work like you are.  Remain passionate about what you do, continue to challenge yourself, strive to be inventive and unique and although keeping an eye on the competition is important, don’t let it paralyze you.  Think you may have a copy cat?  Feel flattered.  No one wants to copy someone who they don’t think highly of.  If someone considers you their competition, their rival, then let it inspire you to keep moving in the direction you’re headed.

This is just my two cents.  What are your thoughts?  Ever felt like you’re being watched?

 

Countdown to BlogHer’11: My to-do list, roommate and thoughts on leaving my family.

Thanks to Calley, the Eco-Chic, for pressuring me…ahem…encouraging me to write a to-do list.  BlogHer ’11 is fast approaching and I am a little scared, a little nervous and a LOT excited!  I haven’t flown on a plane since before 9-11 and that alone has me a bit freaked out.  Oh and I’ve never left my kids or husband before for more than a night…let alone to go across the country!

One exciting tidbit is this, my roommate at BlogHer will be….Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry!  I’m looking forward to getting to know Kim a little better.

So what crazy last minute things do I have in the works? (I do work better under pressure, and at the last minute, so I’ve learned to cope with the fact that there’s always a lot to be done in practically no time at all.)

  • Advocacy! Get my super cute advocacy buttons that I’ve custom ordered from FunkyLindsay on Etsy!  She makes the cutest buttons and I’ve ordered a ton of them to take with me and hand out!  Maybe if there are some left then I’ll give them away on my blog after BlogHer!  There will be Knickernappies buttons, Cloth Diaper Geek Buttons and more!
  • Shop for clothes! Yes I work at home, this means I wear the same pair of jeans virtually every day, and a couple random tank tops, and flip flops…So. I definitely need to beef up my wardrobe and quick.  However, I am cheap and always on a budget, but that’s ok because I love shopping at Thrift Stores.  So between now and then I need to get some new, err…new-to-me clothes.
  • Order business cards! I’ve been hearing a lot about zazzle.com, or if you all have any good, quick and inexpensive places were I can order last minute business cards please let me know!  That’s definitely on my to-do list.
  • Print tickets! With all this electronic fanciness I have no paper copies of anything.  I need to print plane tickets?  Can I do that?  Do I do that?  It’s been so long that I have no clue.  I also need to print my ticket to get in to BlogHer, my Hotel reservations, etc.
  • What do I do with my hair!? About a month ago I went pink, but first I bleached it all out.  Now it’s faded pink, I have roots, I need a haircut.  I need to decide, do I whether I want to re-do the pink, re-bleach my roots….Ah, the decisions.
  • My elevator pitch? Apparently I need a pitch, a brief description of myself, my job, my blog(s), what I do and why.  I am assuming I wouldn’t need this if I wasn’t going to get asked, possibly in front of a room of people…which the thought of makes me break out in a cold sweat.  At BlogHer though networking with other bloggers is the name of the game so I better come up with something good, and fast.
  • Map out some Geocaches! Yes, I love Geocaching and truth be told, I don’t have a whole lot of opportunities to geocache out of state and so I am not going to leave San Diego until I find at least one.  Geocaching in the different places you visit and on different trips is kind of like taking or leaving a souvenir and a great way to remember all the places you’ve been.
  • Netbook! Check!  I got a great deal on an Acer One Aspire, let’s just hope my kids don’t break it before my trip!
  • Personal goals! My personal blogging goals are to be able to continue to grow my FaceBook Fans and Twitter Followers between now and my trip.  With the help of my new netbook I hope to continue to blog while on my trip.  I’m really looking forward to meeting some fellow cloth diapering and mommy bloggers while at BlogHer and I can’t wait to report back to you all and perhaps turn you all on to some great new blogs and the moms behind them.

I know I have to be leaving some things out, not sure what, but so far, my above checklist should serve as an idea of where I’m at and what’s left on my things to accomplish.

For the last few years I have longed for the opportunity to go to BlogHer but I never tried or even let myself entertain the idea of it being a possibility.  This year I decided I was going to do it and make it happen.  I hope it inspires some of you who hope to attend in the future, set your sites and never stop believing that you can make it happen if you really want to.

Thanks for reading!  Love ya!

Julie, Cloth Diaper Geek

Don’t let the fact that you’re self-taught dictate your self-worth.

This is something I struggle with daily in my new field.  Over the last 4-5 years I have learned a lot and taught myself a lot whether through watching tutorials, googling solutions to problems, a few college courses, trial and error and a TON of hands on experience.  However, with no paper to prove my qualifications I struggle with finding the confidence to stand behind my services and prices.   I am forever doubting myself.

What if I say I can do something and then it turns out I can’t?  What if they don’t like what I do? What if…Seriously the list of “what ifs” I can come up with are seriously crazy.

Do you struggle with confidence in your line of work?  Whether your a blogger unsure of your writing skills, a crafter who’s taught herself how to sew, a consultant or something else completely.  I’d love to know I’m not the only one feeling this way.

I’ve heard that the best way to act is like you can take on the world, surely that’s easier said than done.  Confident people get noticed, I’ve definitely seen them.  They command your attention, come across as knowledgeable and reliable, and are downright admirable.  And I’m not talking about overly confident a.k.a. cocky people.  I’m referring to those who you just know that they know what they’re talking about!

It’s getting a little late for new years resolutions but I’m going to give this a shot regardless.  I’ll consider, whether anyone is actually reading this or not, to be my own little personal pep-talk to myself.

I am confident, I am knowledgeable, my work has value!  Roarrr!

On a couch in the corner…

Another blog post from my iPhone, yes I am crazy! But it is kind of fun. My kids are driving me crazy right now. Having twin 4 yr old boys is turning out to be a whirlwind of karate moves, constant eating, and a house that’s in a never ending state of disarray, at least until they’re in bed…Ground Hog day every day!

So among the screaming and running in and out of the house, here I sit tucked in a little corner attempting to write a blog post with one finger, again!

Taking a break from an e-book I am reading about social media that is totally blowing my mind. The possibilities are so endless its mind boggling, and just when you think you’ve mastered the art someone comes along and changes it all right in front of your eyes.

Education is the key, the knowledge and skills you need to grow your business and/or your blog are out there waiting for you to discover them. Don’t ever just settle for what you know, grow what you know, you will be so surprised at the renewed sense of inspiration that learning something new brings.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone