How Entering a Contest Literally Changed My Life
Sound dramatic? This catchy headline is an example of one of the many things I learned by participating in the creativeLIVE workshop, “Build a Successful Creative Blog” taught by April Bowles-Olin of BlackburgBelle.com
But this headline isn’t just “link bait”.
Here is the story…
Reading my myriad emails one day, I saw that PhotoJoJo was promoting a contest to win a fancy camera. I personally only use my iPhone to take pictures (and, up until April 2013, my Motorola Razr!) but my husband is a photographer and he’s always saying he needs another camera, so I entered. The contest was run by Snapknot, a blog for photographers, and of course, to enter you needed to sign up for their newsletter. This was not a problem for me, being a serial newsletter subscriber. I figured I could just as easily ignore their newsletter as I could the dozen others that pour into my inbox.
One day, though, Snapknot promoted a free online class for photographers, maybe it was for Photoshop, I can’t remember, but being a knowledge junkie I clicked the link and ended up at the creativeLIVE home page.
It may as well have been Heaven.
Free classes for creatives? Five channels? Every Day? Yes, please! I immediately created an account and started RSVPing for classes. My first was “The Art of Selling What You Make” by the ultra fab Tara Gentile. After that, I was hooked. I watch creativeLIVE just about every day now.
So, a couple months back, I was checking out the calendar and saw a new class listed, April’s class for bloggers. Of course I RSVP’d. Then, for some reason, I decided to take the next step and apply to be in the audience. I do stuff like that sometimes. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would actually be chosen so imagine my shock when I got the email from producer Kate welcoming me to the studio audience. I instantly panicked. Side note, I have suffered from anxiety for a while, but this past year it has ramped up to pretty much full-blown panic disorder and mild agoraphobia. So I was all sorts of stressed out, which I blogged about here. But, I love living life and collecting experiences, so I just knew this was something I had to do, whatever it took.
I worked out all the details, made the plans and traveled with my husband from San Diego to San Francisco so I could be a part of the adventure. I am so glad I did. Besides the amazing information, instruction and encouragement that April graciously shared with us, I got so much more out of it. I built relationships. Working from home, I felt very isolated at times. I didn’t have the “tribe” that my mentors spoke of. That all changed with this workshop. I met some truly amazing ladies; my fellow front row participants and April, all the wonderful people at creativeLIVE, and the fantastic community that was built from the vast online audience. I found my tribe and it rocks.
The greatest takeaway from April’s workshop is the relationships. They are vital to creating a successful blog and a successful business. In particular, the friendship with the simply marvelous Jane Dolan. We became “accountability partners” after meeting at the workshop and it has made a huge difference for me. I need to be kept accountable and Jane is the perfect partner. Not too hardcore, not too laid back, and I don’t want to let her down. We click. If you are struggling with keeping on task, I highly recommend getting a compatible partner to help you stay accountable.
And my friend Kimberly, shown here wigging out with April at a CL wrap party.
I’ve also kept in touch with Sage Grayson and her wonderful blog, Shasta on Twitter and Instagram and Jennifer‘s blog. I try not to be a creepy stalker and “like” everything they put out, but they are all really good at what they do.
So, when I say that entering that contest changed my life, I am not being hyperbolic. My life changed. I have learned so much from creativeLIVE and from April’s class, and a lot of it was stuff I learned about myself.
“This post is a part of the “What #BelleLive Taught Me” blog tour. In order to continue your journey, visit Anastasia Parmson & Tiny Trailer Adventures, or for a full list of participants please visit jocavagnis.com . Thanks for stopping by!”