Haven Mentor Blog Hop
Welcome old friends & new! Today is a very special day here on Sweet Tea, LLC. I'm excited to announce that I am a Haven Mentor at this year's Haven Conference in Atlanta! There is quite the stellar crew, so we're each taking turns introducing ourselves and our blogs to you. Thanks so much to That's My Letter for sending you my way!
This year will be my third year attending Haven, and my third year as a speaker, too, but it will be my first as a Haven Mentor. Attendees get assigned to a mentor for the duration of the conference, and basically get to pick our brains and talk "blog" in a small group setting. Small groups of bloggers are my jam!
So let's get down to the questions so you can get to know me a bit better, shall we?
2017 HAVEN MENTOR BLOG HOP
Q: How many years have you been blogging
A: Seven years this month! I started my first blog in 2010 called One Tough Mother, essentially as a way to share my craft and DIY projects, and to give myself some much-needed therapy as I was dealing with a not-so-fun life circumstance. *ahem* ex-husband *ahem*
I took a 6-month hiatus in early 2014, and when I came back to blogging, I was in a different season of life. I rebranded to Sweet Tea & Saving Grace, and it's been my home on the internet ever since!
You: So wait...what gives? I'm reading this post on Sweet Tea, LLC.
So here's the thing: When I rebranded, I decided to be successful on my own terms. I never liked all that affiliate and ad stuff, or doing a ton of sponsored posts. It's awesome, but it's not for me. I love to teach and work with other bloggers, so that's my full-time job now on Sweet Tea, LLC! I'm a certified ConvertKit expert (seriously, I nerd out on email), I host the Blog Fuel podcast, I plan awesome small group blog retreats, work with clients, teach courses, speak at conferences, etc.
Cool, right? I think so!
Q: What is your favorite DIY project that you have completed?
A: Dude. My kitchen. Here's a little before (well, in progress) & after action for you:
This, my friends, is my ultimate DIY project to date. We remodeled our kitchen last fall and it's so dreamy and scrumptious and delicious. I had a vision for this kitchen almost five years ago when we bought our house (before Joanna Gaines made navy blue cabinets cool), and it's so awesome to see it in real life! All the heart eyes for this one!
Q: What is something useful you have learned from a blog conference?
A: I was fortunate enough to hear my friend Carly from Lipgloss & Crayons speak at a conference last year about working with brands. While I don't do much brand work here on Sweet Tea, LLC, I do occasionally do sponsored posts on Sweet Tea & Saving Grace.
She talked about how she turned a pro bono blog-brand relationship into her most profitable blog-brand relationship to date, stressing the importance of open communication, and relationship building. So many bloggers turn their noses up at brands who can only offer product initially, but Carly made it very clear that having a conversation with that brand from the beginning can be the start of something big.
If you do an amazing job for that brand, and let them know from the beginning what your guidelines are for pro bono work (like only doing one free post, then offering a discounted rate on the second post, and so on), you are able to build a lasting relationship that brands love, and they will be willing to pay top dollar when they have the budget.
Q: What is something you love about blogging and what is something you wish you could change?
A: I truly love the community aspect of blogging. Over the past 7 years since I started my first blog, I have made some incredible friendships that I know will be there long after the blog content disappears. I have friends all over the world (literally), and we all support one another.
It's so amazing to be able to talk "blog" with people who actually speak your language and can understand the frustrations you have because they have them, too.
If I could change something about blogging, it would be this impulse for people to start blogging for the sake of making money. Blogging profitably takes time, patience, and hard work. It's definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme, yet so many new bloggers burn out because they don't love blogging, they are simply chasing the almighty dollar.
I want people to have fun blogging, and then make some money from it. If you don't love it, why are you doing it?
Q: What is one piece of advice you would offer a blogger--new or otherwise--who is going to Haven?
A: You don't have to do ALL THE THINGS.
I just dropped a knowledge-bomb on you, didn't I? Let me explain.
Blog conferences are so much fun, but they can feel overwhelming, too. There is so much to learn, so many people to meet, and so much activity! Don't stress yourself out about trying to have the perfect business card, or the cutest outfits, or even trying to attend every single session and event on the schedule. Just enjoy the conference - pace yourself, do what you really want to do, and most of all, HAVE FUN!