Sunday, November 10, 2013

What I Learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Dallas

Bloggy Boot Camp Dallas
The Bloggy Boot Camp conference was so fun and I learned so much, but let's start at the beginning. 

BBC was my first ever blog conference. I was excited about the opportunities, but if you know me, you know the social part is a little harder for me. I'm great at social media, but I kind of suck at real life social stuff with strangers. Throw me in a room with a couple hundred strangers and I am sure to regress to a chair in the corner with my iPhone. I was determined not to do that. I knew what I was getting myself into when I bought the ticket, and I also know from experience that once I put myself out there, I usually end up having a good time. Comfort zone be gone!

Thursday night before the conference my eye started feeling a little weird and itchy. I didn't think much of it, except I hoped it would flush itself out overnight as I slept. No such luck. I woke up Friday morning with my eye swollen shut. Great! Just what I need! If social situations aren't hard enough for me, I need to look like a freak to totally kill my self confidence.

I felt like a kid going to my first day of school, a mixture of excitement and nervousness about going to Bloggy Boot Camp.
I wore a hat pulled low over my eyes as an attempt to camouflage my temporary deformity. I powered through with my one bad eye and the other bloggers were so nice not show what must have been their disgust and horror when they saw my face. I assumed everyone was scribbling 'pink eye' on the back of my business card in case they woke up Monday morning with it, they would know who to blame. (For the record, the doctor confirmed it was not pink eye.)

I really can't even begin to tell you the things I learned. Tiffany Romero, one of the creators of Bloggy Boot Camp, was combination motivational speaker, mentor, mama, and friend. It was worth the price of admission just to soak up her knowledge and positive energy.

DoubleTree Dallas - Bloggy Boot Camp
All the speakers were so interesting, funny, and informative. I've been blogging for a few years and I thought I knew it all (or at least a lot). While a lot of the information provided was just reinforcing what I already knew, there were so many new great ideas presented that I will be spending at least the next month implementing them all. Google+, yeah I use it, but I had no idea how important it is to the success of my blog.

Fancy dinner sponsored by LG #LGatBBC
After the yummy LG dinner and wine, I drove back home to Fort Worth and talked hubbies ear off about all that I had learned. When he saw how terrible my eye had gotten, he was sure he had found the perfect solution to my problem. Um, no thanks.

I am not the Governor!
Day two of the conference continued with great speakers and my eye continued to get worse. Now it was watering non-stop, swollen, and red. As the day went on, I really started to feel bad too. While other bloggers were having fun taking pictures in the LG laundry room photo booth (LG was a sponsor and OMG I want all the LG appliances), the last thing I wanted was photographic evidence of my face.

When it came time for the afternoon break on Saturday, they offered mimosas and yummy treats from Kroger. When that didn't seem like a great idea, it was just the slap in the face I needed to realize I was actually getting sick. When I say no to mimosas, something is really wrong. I started to tear up at the thought of leaving this awesome conference early, but my body was telling me that I had enough. As much as it was a crushing disappointment, I physically couldn't sit there anymore. I grabbed my swag bag and walked out late afternoon on Saturday with a tear in my eye. I was so disappointed to miss the closing speakers, but I knew I just needed to crawl into bed (with or without an eye patch, you'll never know).

Bye Bye Bloggy Boot Camp!

What I learned at Bloggy Boot Camp Dallas:

1. My business cards suck. You should just see the creative business cards out there. When I asked a fellow blogger where she got her cards made and she used the words modge-podge and circle craft punch, I knew I was way out of my league in the business card department.

2. Social situations are easier when you have something major in common, like a passion for blogging, with the other hundred people in the room.

3. Lynette Young taught me that Google+ is important. Embrace it. Seriously, add me to your circles on Google+

4. I learned how to maximize my presence on Instagram through the gorgeous Lisa Leonard.

5. Casey Peterson taught me that Google is my friend and they want to help people find my site. Just be authentic.

6. People actually make a real living at blogging, but it is through multiple sources of income. You probably can't make it only writing sponsored content.

7. Social Media Strategist is a real job in which many bloggers already have the skills to be successful.

8. Know your end game. This is something I really have to think about, not just in blogging, but in life.

9. Even though I missed the last few speakers, It was worth every single penny of the cost of admission.

10. I'll be back next year with two good eyes!

I wish I could share more, but if you are a serious blogger, or want to become a serious blogger, I highly recommend Bloggy Boot Camp. Not only did I walk away with a notebook full of inspiration, while at the conference, I broke the 5K followers mark on Twitter!

Have you ever been to a Bloggy Boot Camp? What did you get out of it? Any other blog conferences I should consider for the future?

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Keep Running,


Ways to (legally) stalk me:

"LIKE" the Running with Ollie Blog page on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter @GeaLenders
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See what I am up to on Pinterest
Add me to your circles on Google +
Follow me on Instagram @runningwithollie


  1. I'm so sorry that you had an eye infection the weekend of Bloggy Boot Camp. What an awful thing to happen right at that moment! I'm a very shy person, so I totally understand where you are coming from. I had thought about going to the conference, but I waited too long to decide. It sounds like it was a really good conference. I wish that more blog conferences would come to DFW. It seems like they are always out of state.

    I had no idea that Google + was that important. I just recently signed up on there, but I haven't done anything yet. Sounds like I need to work on that!

    Hope you feel better soon!

    1. thanks so much! despite my problems, it was still really fun. We should share each other posts on Google+
      :) thanks for commenting! Lea

  2. How disappointing to have to leave boot camp early, but it sounds like you learned some great things while you were there. Thanks for sharing!

    1. thanks Tina! I know, right? and my eye is just about healed today! what terrible timing!

  3. Google+ is definitely a tool I wish I could get more natural about using.

  4. Sounds wonderful. I would be shy about attending, too. Hope that eye is getting better and that you are feeling peachy again too!

  5. Hope your eye is better! I wish I would of had a chance to make it.

  6. Hope you're feeling better, but glad you learned a lot at the conference! I definitely want to attend one year.

  7. This sounds really nice. How long have you been at blogging?

  8. Sounds like an awesome conference! I know there is so much for me to learn and I am so ready to learn it. I will have to try to attend next year:)

    1. Yes! we need to go together so that I "know" someone! lol

  9. You were such a trooper! I am so glad you found value in the conference, and so appreciative of you sharing such a nice write up on your blog. Lets be sure to keep in touch on twitter!

    1. Thanks Tiff for everything you do! It was awesome to meet you!

  10. I'm so sorry you started feeling sick! Thats the worst :( I was at BBC last year in Dallas and was planning on attending this year, until I realized there was a scheduling conflict with my small biz and a market event. So making money on the weekend trumped learning how to make more money with my blog. *sad face* I WILL be at the next one that is anywhere close to my side of Texas! I can't wait to read more about what everyone learned over the weekend! :)

    1. and I wanted to meet you! Hopefully next time!

  11. I was at bloggy boot camp about two years ago and it was pretty awesome then too! Congrats on breaking the 5K mark on Twitter!! Haha! I'm not even close.

  12. I like Google + but don't know enough about it yet. I've been posting all my content there. You were already in my circle! :-)

  13. Oh my goodness! I know who you are because I remember that cute outfit and I was thinking that it was a super cute hat. You must have been at the table right behind me because I'm sitting at that table! I'm in that brown and green striped shirt.

    I need a code for introverts at conferences because they are some of my favorite people. Sometimes it helps to tweet out who you want to meet when you are at a conference. Usually that will set up the flag and they will come find you. lol

    Don't worry about your business cards. I redo mine every single conference I promise. The more you learn the better you get. I'm glad you have been connecting with me. Now I know who you are so don't be shy!

    Blog Elevated in Houston will rock your socks when it comes to conferences.
    FitBloggin might be right up your ally as a runner.

    I've been to...
    Blogathon ATX and those are good for learning.
    SITS Bloggy Bootcamp and the Business Camp (about 3 of them).
    Blog Elevated in Houston great for learning.
    Houston Blogger monthly meet ups.

    Check your area because I bet you will find some local bloggers to meet up with!

    Are you on Daily Mile or have a FitBit? Just curious, you can find me just about every where.

    I have to read why you left the Paleo challenge early.

    Talk to you soon.

    1. Oh I see you in the pic and I remember you too! Thanks for the tips! I am on dailymile, but I have been bad about logging there lately. I really want to go to fitbloggin some day and I think a drive to Houston for Blogeelvated will be worth the trip! Thanks for the tips

  14. I never even check my Google + account, I just see it as redundant, BUT, you have encouraged me to get active with it. I added you to my circles. I am at Grace Duke

    1. oh YAY! I I added you back. thanks! The thing they said is that unlike Facebook or Twitter, the posts you share on Google+ show up in Google search results, so it is another opportunity for people to find your blog.

  15. Hope you feeling better The Bloggy Boot Camp conference was so fun and I learned so much.Thanks

    Posted by brucewilliam| Boot camp Sydney

  16. I enjoyed reading this, and it helped me a lot because I am in the process of deciding whether or not to drive five and a half hours to St. Louis in April for the one day Bloggy Boot Camp. I've been a bit reluctant for many reasons, some of which are similar to your own. But after reading your blog, I think this may be good for me to do. Thanks for sharing!


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