UPDATE: I’ve been to SNAP three years in a row and found it worthwhile every. single. time. I was worried the financial payoff wouldn’t be there but it has been. Even the first year as a smaller blogger! You can grab tickets for the 2018 event RIGHT HERE.
Hurray for a SNAP re-cap! If you’re not a blogger, or you haven’t heard of SNAP, it’s a creative blogger conference- and it was the first blogging conference I’ve ever attended. Today I’m just chatting like we’re old friends (which we are by now, right?) about my experience, what I took away, and some of the key things I learned. Oh- and I’m probably going to brag a bit that I got to meet Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess (awesome, right?!). I also got a photo with them but it’s the WORST lighting and I’m going to spare you of that. I left my camera at home and just carried my phone- so all these beautiful photos are from the conference photographer Alex Adams.
I haven’t read too many conference re-caps, so hopefully this gives you all the goods you’re hoping for! I’m often too honest for my own good, but I’m really hoping to give you real picture of my experience (spoiler: it was awesome) and not just the parties (which were also awesome). And just as a heads up… I started and just couldn’t stop- this is a long post y’all.
I’ve been back home from SNAP for a week now, and I thought I should pull together a re-cap before I start forgetting things! I do feel like I’ve lost my mind a little bit since coming back. I learned so much and while I’m trying to put it into action, I’m busy catching up from my prior commitments. I went through a bit of a ‘YES!’ phase when the new year hit- and now all those commitments are reaching their due dates. I 100% love what I get to do by blogging- I started this as a hobby and I’m so thrilled that I’m able to call it my job now. BUT, the last couple months has felt a bit more like work and I was getting discouraged. Heading to SNAP was just what I needed to remind me how awesome blogging is- and how awesome other bloggers are, that I can only call friends because of this blogging thing.
I learned a ton at SNAP, but in full transparency, I believe you can learn pretty much everything you need to run a successful blog by being a student of all the awesome resources on the web. The biggest thing I took away from SNAP was relationship- and encouragement. I know bloggers preach how awesome relationship is in blogging, but really- I sit behind my computer and kind of do my own thing most of the time. Meeting people in person and being able to joke (without having to put in brackets that it was sarcasm) and talk about real life and real issues was incredible for me. I’m going to work at keeping those relationships now that SNAP is over and not get back into my go-it-alone routine.I loved meeting bloggers that I’ve
stalked followed online and finding how genuine they really are. But I also loved brand-new-to-me bloggers that I want to walk alongside in this crazy adventure.If you haven’t been to a blogging conference before, I’d say that’s the BEST reason to go.
BUT if you need more of a concrete- convince your husband it’s worth it- reason? I paid my own way- so this was my biggest question before buying the ticket (two weeks before the conference- like any procrastinator). Because I just told you that you can pretty much learn everything online if you were committed to it and I know how much it costs to fly to a conference (especially from a small Canadian city!). I’d say chatting with the sponsors. I have tried signing up for networks and seeing what there is out there for brand/blogger campaigns and guys- I just can’t do it that way. I really want to create high quality content for you all and something that I truly believe in- not because I’m getting paid for it. That’s why I do other things, like blog consulting, to bring in income- I don’t want to take on things just for the mula. The only sponsored content you’ve ever seen on Lemon Thistle is the result of me asking brands that I adore if they would consider working with me. And that can be a lot of work, not to mention intimidating emailing blindly.
I loved being able to meet real people, face to face and learn more about what brands expect when they’re working with bloggers. I was able to sit down and chat with brand reps and ask questions and just learn from them. When you’re trying to pitch an awesome idea… there just isn’t time for that in emails. I’m hopeful/excited for some projects coming from this but mostly I’m happy to be able to email a couple awesome companies as friends- and now I understand a bit more what a blogger/brand relationship looks like. And that there’s really no set rules for this, they might just be into your crazy idea- or they might have a very specific program you need to go through.
As for the sessions? The keynotes were all amazing. Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess are the ones I was MOST excited to hear. They spoke a lot about their story, how they got where they are, but mostly their real talk about setting yourself up for success, being proud of what you’re doing NOW, and overcoming negativity filled my notebook. They said that you decide your own success level- what is successful to you? and that it doesn’t have to be the same as someone else’s (it’s easy to get into the compare game, isn’t it?). No matter what that level is to you, to be proud of what you are doing NOW because it’s more than yesterday. And whenever you accomplish something… even small, to celebrate. I’m so on board with that in life (it’s right in my ‘about me’ page) but I totally don’t do it for my blog. They also spoke about accepting negativity as a price of success. This was perrrrfect timing for me as I have always been small enough to fly under the radar of negativity online but I’ve recently had a couple posts attract some negative nancies (do you call them that too?). Chatting with other bloggers about these experiences (everyone’s had them!) was awesome too. I know you’re curious, so here’s an example. I have had not one, not two, but seeeeveral people tell me lately that my kitchen renovation isn’t actually the same room and I’m using the ‘before’ pictures from another kitchen. It’s my kitchen for goodness sake! BUT, after ranting to my hubby, I’m taking it as a successful makeover- it’s not even recognizable ;)
Other keynotes were David Tutera, Dan Faires, Heidi Swapp, and Whippy Cake. Both Whippy Cake and David Tutera touched on getting personal and being a real human being- not just a blogger/ business person that hides behinds what you’re doing. I really loved hearing this because I’m kind of an over-sharer. I’ve been reading a LOT of articles (and well grounded, researched, reputable people) about taking your personal out of blogging- specifically on social media like Instagram. I didn’t want to do to that, so I thought I was doing things wrong- now I’m content to keep sharing bits of my personal life here. They both said (in different words) that people read/buy you and why you do what you do more than WHAT you do (all the projects). That wasn’t the main point of either of their speeches, but it definitely stuck with me.
Heidi Swapp is one keynote that I wasn’t expecting to be SO amazing for me. I’m not a scrapbooker and I follow Heidi on Instagram and know that that’s her jam. Now, I still don’t want to scrapbook- but I definitely want to start recording memories more. And not just photos (which I try really hard to do!) but words. I totally cried through her talk, thinking about being able to look back on these moments and memories- and not just me, but my kids being able to hear how much I love them and the bits I marvel over them each day. She also spoke about priorities- which I mentioned I’ve been struggling with a bit. I know that the reason I pour so much into my blog (besides loving it like crazy) is so that I can stay home and love on my kids each day. But sometimes all those ‘Yes’s and pressures to do more get the best of me and I find myself responding to emails on my phone too much during the day or I’m thinking about my massive to-do list instead of thinking about them while we’re eating lunch together. In my self-care interview with Wren Bird Arts, I mentioned the best thing I did for myself/family was get a desktop and close the door while my kids are awake. That’s GREAT, but I love what Heidi said about choosing your mindset every day, setting priorities every day. Also… she said this one thing that left me super encouraged. She said, ‘it’s supposed to be hard’. It doesn’t sound very encouraging- but any dream really should be hard! Or else it wouldn’t be worth chasing.
I’ll wrap it up now, because my wordcount is the longest I think it’s ever been. I also went to sessions from some of my favourite bloggers/makers- Hello Tosha, The House that Lars Built, and Confetti Sunshine. And then the last night of the conference, I sat down with my roommate and we talked through all the sessions (she went do different ones than me) so I have pages of notes from sessions I didn’t even attend that inspired me. I’m going to have to go through that notebook a few more times, I’m sure to get every bit out of it.
If you stuck around to the end of this post- woohoo! Thanks, friend. If you have any questions for me, always feel free to comment or shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) I’d love to chat with you. Bottom line- this conference was more than worth it for me. I’m not sure that I’ll see the financial payoff right away, but I’m confident that in the long run it was worth every penny. If you’re deciding which to go to? I’ll put my hand up for SNAP and if you’re on the fence for going? I’d say just jump both feet in, you won’t regret it.