blissdom highlights

so you didn’t make it to blissdom?  bummer.

but good news!  i’m going to spill all i learned, just for you!

first, i want to send a little shout out to the ladies of the lovely guide – you girls rock!  they set up the handmade marketplace for us and it was a success!  how fun for an event to be such a hit on its very first time at blissdom!

the opening keynote speaker was jon acuff and he was great!  i, being a busy mom and business owner, have little time to learn much other than whatever we are studying at the time (shakespeare and queen elizabeth right now), so i hadn’t heard of him before.  actually, i was clueless on most of the speakers there (oh, the shame!).  he is a husband and father and a bit of a twitter addict!  he was very relatable and funny, but definitely had some pressure points i was feeling.  here are a couple of them:

– hang up and arrive.  when you get home from work, or your kids get home from school, be done with the phone and be present with your family.

– you’ll never say you’ve done enough in social media, there is no end, you’ll never “finish” twitter.

– listen to your kids: let me be your kid, not your content.  not every bloggable moment needs to be documented and blogged.  it can simply be savored.

– if you need to be selfish, be selfish at 5am, not on your kids’ time.

– learn to disappoint the right people.  (hint: your immediate family are not the right people)

– 1 insult (negative comment) + 1,000 compliments = 1 insult.  ignore the haters.  for every negative comment you want to respond to, first reply to 100 compliments.


next i heard holly hamann of blog frog speak on the topic how to think like an entrepeneur.  i think she had some really good points, but they applied more to people who had huge ideas.  i was able to gleam some tidbits for my much smaller scale dreams, though.

– if you have a good idea, you will have competition.  if you don’t have any competition, your idea’s not good enough.

– pick what you want to be good at and become an expert at it.

– 5 key questions to ask yourself: 1) what problem are you solving? 2) who are you solving it for? 3) how big is that problem? 4) who will solve it (the idea of having a team was put in place here)? 5) how will you make money?

– how can you be innovative: low cost provider, luxury, faster, smaller, stylish, high quality, special needs, social good, quieter, unique…

– top 10 skills to build as an entrepeneur: 1) ability to recognize opportunity (looks like a problem) 2) ability to build teams (get help, recognize talent you don’t have) 3) ability to drive innovation 4) ability to gather and process information (customers, employees, competitors, profit and loss, statistics) 5) focus 6) tolerance for risk 7) ability to make decisions 8) willing to be wrong (you’re going to make bad decisions or have a bad idea.  don’t be so stubborn that you’re not willing to shift after a mistake.  release products/ideas early to get feedback, go back to the drawing board, and re-release) 9) have a network of mentors 10) learn how to talk about money (need to know costs and profit margins)


next i heard christine koh speak on doing less as a life strategy.  she had a worksheet that was really helpful for me, so i’ll give you the gist of it and maybe you can try it out yourself.  it was extremely eye-opening to me to go through the process of answering some of these questions and totally inspired change in me!  this is an exercise in being present, to figure out what you’re excited about and figure out the non-essentials.

1.  start with the big picture.

a. identify 3-5 things you would love to have happen in the next year.  big or small.

b. identify 3-5 things you would like to DO LESS of in life.  big or small.

c.  identify 3-5 things you would like MORE of in life.

2.  reflect/reassess/recalibrate exercise

a. pick the most palpable item from section 1b. write down the emotions attached with this item.

b. take 5 deep breaths. seriously.

c.  now list a couple of reasons why you spend so much energy on the item you selected for 2a.

d. think of  a specific recent example for item 2a. and answer yes or no to: 1) was the content necessary or meaningful? 2) did i do this for myself and/or to help someone else, or did i have another motive? 3) was i being selective in my action? 4) was i being patient? 5) what is one thing from your list in 1c. that you could have done instead of the example in 2d?  6) how did it feel to envision the alternative action?

3.  beyond today

a. identify the thing you would love most to have happen from section 1a.

b. what are the top things from your DO LESS list (1b) that you can trim to make the space for 3a?

now i’ll be honest – i didn’t answer anything from section 2d.  but really truly, all the rest was super helpful.


i also heard tyler merrick speak on putting purpose first – benefits of working with intention.  i thought he was a good speaker and had an amazing story of success and leaving it to do something good.

– examples of purposes (why you do what you do): income generator, creative outlet, community builder, advocate, or hobbyist

honing your purpose:

1.  identify your purpose

2.  taking inventory – have you stayed on purpose?  or have you gotten sidetracked by outside influences?

3.  optimize your purpose

4.  establishing goals and tactics to accomplish your purpose – what guard rails do you need to establish to make your purpose a reality?  what bad habits do you need to say goodbye to?

success leaves us unfulfilled if we never defined a purpose.  here are some questions to help you define your “why” so you have greater clarity on your “who, where, what and how”:

1.  do you find yourself fulfilled by the success of your blog/website?  why or why not?

2.  why does your blog exist?

3. what is the main focus of your blog?

4. who is your primary audience?  do you have additional secondary audiences?

5.  why do readers engage with the content you create?  what makes your blog/website stand apart from others?

6.  what is your blog’s number 1 goal for this year?  and the next 5 years?

7.  if you could make one big-picture world-changing contribution in your lifetime that you would find deeply fulfilling what would it be?

8.  what are 3 tangible ways that you can incorporate that big picture world changing vision into the work you are doing with your blog?


next i went to expanding your brand – mobile photography, microblogging and instagram with jason hudson and ryan marshall.  this was an interesting session.  i think there was probably so much information that these guys had to give, but it got bogged down a bit by silly questions and long answers.  i mentioned before that i felt like i was a failure at microblogging (instagram, etc) after i went to this session because i saw so much i was doing wrong according to these guys (who i thought had great things to say).

– they were against “pushing” – putting instagram pics onto twitter and facebook polluted the feed

– decide how you want your instagram feed to look, have it tell a consistent story, be disciplined to that.  i am way random on my pictures.  when i saw examples of people who did this well it was definitely much prettier and more cohesive, but i don’t know if i could do that.

– we learned about a handful of apps: camera+, photoshop express, slow shutter, foto frame, vintage camera, grid lens, snapseev, and phoster.


the last speaker i heard was michael hyatt on creating your personal life plan.  unfortunately, i only got to hear him speak for about 15 minutes before i had to be somewhere else, but he cut to the chase pretty quickly.  his ebook on creating a personal life plan is here.

how do you want to be remembered?

– begin with the end in mind

– what are you trying to create with your life?

– remembering that i’ll be dead soon has helped to make big decisions (poorly paraphrased by me, quote by steve jobs)

– write what you want each person/group to remember (spouse, kids, friends, colleagues)

personal reflection – visualize your own funeral

– list 7-8 people who matter most

– write down what they will each remember


so there’s blissdom in a nutshell!  i just saved you a few hundred bucks – you’re welcome!  but i’m sorry to tell you that you still missed out on all the swag, in-real-life connections, late night giggle fests, and bonding with life long friends.  ’cause those things, they are priceless.



  1. 1

    Thank you SO much for sharing these! I hope to make it next year! (And to some of us you do have HUGE dreams and goals! You’re an inspiration to so many – don’t cut yourself short!)

  2. 2

    It was so great to see you at the Handmade Market and to meet you! (We made the same Amelia shirt that I was wearing….) Your products were even more beautiful in real life!

    We were in a lot of the same sessions and you took great notes. Blissdom was so much fun (my first one!) and I am still exhausted! Maybe I’ll recover by next year…

  3. 3

    Great information! and even greater that you have shared it with so many! Thank you.

  4. 4

    Wow, that’s a lot of great information! Do you come away from conferences like Blissdom refreshed or overwhelmed?

  5. 5

    I never realized there were so many blogging conferences. I’m gonna have to get in on one of these!

  6. 6

    I am reeaaallly hoping to make it next year, I really need to make en effort to connect with other bloggers and those in the handmade business to make my blog and shop more successful. Thanks for sharing your notes with us!

  7. 7
    Sarah A. says:

    Thank you for sharing your notes with us! I own a children’s boutique (brick & mortar) and this is the kind of inspiration – and butt-kicking reminder – I really appreciate from time to time. Lots of good stuff to think over and put in action :)

  8. 8

    How come we were at so many of the same sessions and we never met? Great recap. I’m going to point a few of my friends to this. You can also find me over at The Hip Vegetarian Blog.

  9. 9

    Wow- very thought provoking! Thank you for sharing.

  10. 10

    Wow, what great information! Thank you for sharing! I am glad you had great time. :)

  11. 11

    Awesome run down. Thank you for that! I was wishing I was there, and hope I can attend next year. Seems like there is a world of great information and the support from other bloggers is priceless!

  12. 12

    thank you for all of the great notes! wonderful information. :)

  13. 13

    awesome. you just saved me like $900. ;)

  14. 14

    What a great summary, Blissdom sounds wonderful…maybe next year!

  15. 15

    Awesome recap! I was there but we didn’t overlap any sessions, so it was great to hear about the ones I missed. I like the Christine Koh worksheet a lot and plan to do that! Thank you :)

  16. 16

    Wow that was a lot of info just in the post, can’t imagine a weekend full! :0)
    I am hoping to get there next year, it looked too fun to miss.

  17. 17

    I am hitting print right now! I want to take it all in! Awesome notes! Makes me want to go next year!! Thanks!

  18. 18

    What a wonderful recap!! I am going to Blogher for the first time this year and I only hope I will learn this much! :) I loved the first section…so perfect for ANYONE really. I shared it with my husband. :)

  19. 19

    oh this is great!!!! I could not go this year – thank you thank you thank you for sharing!!!


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