With Blogtacular 2018 just around the corner, I don’t know why it's taken me a year to get the proper write up of last year's conference on this here old blog. I think it's a combination of a few things. One is that Blogtacular gives me so many pearls of wisdom that it was a lot of information to collate and gather into some valuable topics. That combined with it being a tough year of looking after my now 4 year old boy. My focus has been on him and, if you are a parent, you will relate to this, simply surviving through the demanding routines. He starts school in September so I am very much looking forward to getting a bit more me time back and dedicating more time to my blog and handmade items to sell.
Blogtacular 2016 (write up of that one here) was my first time. I returned again last year, filled up a whole notebook, wrote a blog about Finding Your Community and another one where the photo walk I attended in 2016 inspired me to create a new hashtag #localphotowalk. Which I haven't done very well in 'blowing it up' as it has a pitiful 7 posts on Insta! So please do fill it up! To find out more on what it means to do your own local photo walk, read here.
Blogtacular 2018 is just days away and I am so excited to be attending again, my third year in a row! My favourite thing about it is the creative community. As a creative lifestyle blogger and part time designer maker, it is so nice to find people on the same journey as you. I have made friends with creative lifestyle bloggers who do it as a hobby, those who blog for money and designer makers who sell their creative wares. Wherever you fall in these categories, there will be something for you.
My journey is such that I started this blog as a creative outlet when my son, Eli, was born in 2014. I always knew it was going to be a 5 year plan and the foundation of eventually having a handmade business. Because, remember, you cannot be an overnight success. If you really want to start your own creative business, you need to be patient. Put the work in and let it build. Which brings me to my first top tip on building your creative business. From Nathalie Lue who was the opening keynote speaker last year.
The Blog is not the business. It's the foundation.
Now I really needed to hear that last year. It gave me reassurance that it is ok to let the growth of my blog, social media followers, sales etc be organic. That it is ok not to force it. It has been too slow for my liking but we can only do what we can do. I wrote a blog post a while back about Seasons of Change and it was about recognising the season you are in and finding peace in that. It has been my season to be a Mum. I will continue to be a Mum but as Eli grows older and more independant, I can dedicate more time and focus than currently is the case. Which also brings me neatly onto the next point of building your creative business.
Find the right balance that works for you.
This is to do with knowing what works for you. Do you hate traditional 9-5 and would love to go full time into your business? Do you need stability and can afford to work part time on a day job and part time on a side hustle? Are you happy to just blog/make as a hobby? These are the sort of questions you can ask yourself in striking the right balance. Don't feel pressured to go full time on your business if you have a job you enjoy! I've heard of lots of examples of people's side hustles leading them to their dream job as an employee. But equally if you are in a job you hate and love the idea of dedicating full time to your business, then take the plunge! Nothing is a failure, nothing is wasted. All you can do is learn from your experiences, enjoy the knowledge gained and come back stronger, knowing what you can do differently to make it work. Because remember:
You have a long career - Emma Gannon, closing keynote speaker
Another pearl of wisdom from Emma was to trust your gut. If it feels icky, don't do it! One of the workshops last year was a panel discussion that included Sunita Harley of Lucky Things blog, Allison Perry of Not Another Mummy blog and Emma Gannon. It was called 'Staying Sane in the blogging world'. Which brings me to my next top tip.
Collaborate, don't Compete!
From the panel discussion and Emma's closing key note, collaboration was a theme. When I talk about Blogtacular, I practically gush over my gratitude for finding this community. I cannot describe how much of a wonderful thing it really is. But remember, we won't gel with everyone and that's ok. Don't push a relationship if it doesn't feel right for either of you. Find people that 'get you'. That you can be vulnerable with and know you can share your thoughts, fears and worries without being ignored or judged.
These are my hands! And my notes from the panel discussion. It's pretty exciting when you get in a photo from the official photographer!
Have a vision
I never made a business plan. But I've always had a loose vision. Build a blog first, build content to give something of value for free, build a following, then sell my handmade wares to that following and potential customer base. Your vision may change in the finer points as you experiment what works best for you. You just never know where things will lead.
Have an idea first, then pick a platform where you feel most authentically you
So think about what you want to do. What will your niche be? What are your strengths? What do you enjoy and could see yourself putting the work in to achieve it? Grow the idea first then choose the platform second. Whether that might be blogging, podcasting, a book, a play, video, stand-up, e-book, audiobook or movie.
I cannot wait for this year's conference! The excitement is building and I will be in full prep mode this week! There may still be a few tickets left, there were less than 20 last time I checked so go grab one now! And remember, next year will be a fallow year. Cue withdrawal symptoms as your next opportunity to go won't be until 2020 if you don't grab a ticket now! And don't forget, this year they are running an affiliate scheme. So if you're feeling generous and I've inspired you to come, don't forget to enter 'J_CreativeJulia' where it asks for affiliate name. It just means I will get a few pennies back if you mention me. Go here to get your ticket.
Photo credits - all photos (except photo of colourful building, taken by moi on the photo walk of Blogtacular 2016) copyright of Amber Rose Photography.
You can listen to Emma Gannon’s podcast ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ and find out more at www.emmagannon.co.uk.
You can find more about Nathalie Lue at www.baggagereclaim.co.uk.
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My main sections are: creativity including crafting, poetry and interior design; well being including mental health, recipes and my faith in God; personal including parenting and my general introvert deep thoughts. You can also have a browse in my mug shop and Etsy shop.