Things I Didn’t Expect to Learn at BlissDom ’12

I’m a blog conference veteran. Doesn’t mean I know everything about everything when it comes to blogging and conferences but after a while you do start to get a sense of confidence and security. A bit of the “been there, done that” mentality. And I kind of went to BlissDom with a bit of that feeling. I ended up walking away learning things I never expected to.

  • I didn’t expect to be introduced to so many bloggers that I didn’t know. Just when you feel like you know almost everyone in the blogging space, you’re reminded of how incredibly HUGE the blogosphere is. For example, the first night at the welcome reception, I ended up sitting next to @PrettyHandyGirl, a DIY blogger who lives practically next door to me. I met at least 6 bloggers that I didn’t know lived close to me.

  • I didn’t expect to need a map to get to and from my hotel room. I only got lost twice. Okay, maybe three times.

  • I didn’t expect to feel overwhelmed. As a Community Leader, my job was to help put everyone at ease. It finally dawned on me that there was nobody to put me at ease. So it was a little stressful. No worries though. I minored in theater so I played the part well anyway.

  • I didn’t expect to have tears in my eyes at the welcoming rah-rah video. It was a piece of quality video with the message and music that made you want to say, YES! I AM A BLOGGER AND I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
  • I didn’t expect to like our Welcoming Keynote speaker so darn much. Jon Acuff (@jonacuff) is what I would normally consider a churchy, Christian type (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). So I thought he’d be just another motivational speaker. I honestly thought he was amazing. As in, AMAZING. Funny, smart, and insightful when it comes to social media and balance in life.

His message to me in his new book “Quitter” when I told him about Charitable Influence!

  • I didn’t expect to listen to Holly Hamann talk about being an entrepreneur and really think that she got it. If I’m being honest, I tend to have more respect for people that are successful in the blogging space that have been successful outside the blogging space as well. I walked away with exactly what I needed to hear to make me feel confident in Charitable Influence. (see my notes at the bottom of the post)

  • I didn’t expect to be blown away by Stephanie Smirnov (@ssmirnov) as someone who gets that popularity doesn’t equal likeability. And more importantly, I didn’t expect to have such a a lively and engaged table during our small group discussion. (see my notes at the bottom of the post)

  • I didn’t expect to be so taken in by yet another motivational type speaker and come out so emotional on the other side. The session on building a life plan was something I thought would be a little too touchy-feely, loosey-goosey for me. And yet I went anyway. I walked away with a lot of insight into my own life and a need to reprioritize what I’m doing (and no, I’m not going anywhere).

To be honest, though, I didn’t have any expectations of BlissDom. Instead, I went in with an open mind, set off to experience new tracks, and connect only with brands that seemed right for me. While I’m exhausted, I came home totally fulfilled and ready to start a new day.

Hmmm. Maybe I’ll become a motivational speaker…

(If you missed my post about the glittery side of BlissDom, I have all the pictures here to prove that it truly is a sparkly affair.)

My notes from some of the sessions:

Is Your Idea the Next Facebook? How to think like an entrepreneur

5 key questions you need to answer:

  1. What problem are you solving?
  2. Who are you solving it for?
  3. How big is that problem?
  4. Who will solve it (team)?
  5. How will you make money?


A poor economy is a bad time to start a business.

Obsessive, relentless, curious = makes you better than anyone else.


This idea is too crazy.

Example: chicken diapers


You have to raise funding to start a company.

Bootstrapping is very common among start-ups.


The market doesn’t need one more.

There is ALWAYS room for innovation.

How can you be innovative:

  • low cost provider (Walmart)
  • luxury (Mercedes)
  • faster (Intel)
  • smaller (Smart car)
  • stylish (iPhone)
  • high quality (moleskin notebooks)
  • special needs (Udi’s)
  • social good (Tom’s)
  • quieter, more unique, softer, new flavors, signature names, etc.

Top 10 skill sets to build as an entrepreneur

  1. Ability to recognize opportunity
  2. Ability to build teams (can’t be controlling, type-a)
  3. “Who you choose to team with will be the single most important business decision you’ll make.”

  4. Ability to drive innovation
  5. Ability to gather and process information
  6. Focus
  7. Tolerance for risk
  8. Willingness to be wrong
  9. Network of mentors (techstars)
  10. Learn how to talk about money!
  11. there was a 10th one but I missed it!

Likeability 2.0: women, influence, and the social web

  • You don’t need to be widely liked to be likeable
  • In the workplace, the perception is that the more likable you are, the less competent you are
  • Build a brand around your lifestyle, need transparency to be likable
  • Example, Creative professional Donna Karan possesses 3 key qualities: Accessible, Authentic, Engaging

How do you build your own influence?

Appeal + Talent + Audience that cares = Influence

Appeal = be polite, be professional, have integrity, don’t be a bitch

Talent = SEO, writing, networking, photography, videography, BE GOOD AT SOMETHING

Audience that cares = consistently engage, take action

  • mycrazybusylife

    I LOVED meeting you!  And I think the best way to go to a conference is with no expectations.  

    • FadraN

      It was great to meet you too! I have been asked many times what I hope to get out of a conference. I just go and love to see what I come away with!

  • Glenda Childers

    I learned so much at this mini-Blissdom. Thanks.


    • FadraN

      So glad!

  • Rachel @ finding joy

    I totally agree. I was in Holly’s session as well and walked away so incredibly blessed. Blissdom far exceeded my expectations!
    Great post.

    • FadraN

      I’m glad it was a great experience for you!

  • Erin Margolin

    1.) I feel so lucky to have met you.
    2.) I’d never have guessed that you were stressed. You were a wonderful Community Leader and there’s a reason you were chosen for that job.
    3.) Thank you for and I love your notes.
    4.) Even though we went to different sessions mostly? It seems like they were ALL pretty incredible.
    5.) I’m in Blissdom withdrawal.

    • FadraN

      Erin – you will forever be etched in my mind with red pants. I just wish I got to do more than just say hello. Next conference? Whatever that will be…

  • shellthings

    The opening keynote was amazing. I think I have 5 post ideas floating around just based on things he said! 

    • FadraN

      I wish I took notes or something. He was just amazing. Trying to find time to read his book!

  • Angie

    So glad to have met you and there wasn’t a hint of stress about you! Jon Acuff completely blew me away too and I was not expecting it. I felt like we should have had an immediate 3 hour break after his keynote to go sit and read his book. Glad to know that the veterans got as much out of the conference as us newcomers :)

    • FadraN

      Yes! We needed small groups after that keynote! I get inspired with stuff like this. Not easily, but when I do it’s fantastic!

  • LDiggitty

    This is really good stuff! Thanks for sharing! 

    • FadraN

      Glad you enjoyed!

  • KimMoldofsky

    Right there with you on Jon Acuff’s keynote speech. It was an unexpected highlight–as was the dinner we shared with so many fabulous women! It was great getting to know you.

    • FadraN

      Dinner was one of my favorite moments. I definitely need to check out your house renovations!

  • KimMoldofsky

    Right there with you on Jon Acuff’s keynote speech. It was an unexpected highlight–as was the dinner we shared with so many fabulous women! It was great getting to know you.

  • Mrs. Jen B

    Fadra, thanks SO MUCH for the notes at the bottom! I didn’t get a chance to attend either of these sessions (oh, to have the ability to be in two places at once…) so this is a godsend.

    • FadraN

      I attended more sessions but these two were the most noteworthy in my opinion!

  • Greta @gfunkified

    I agree, Jon Acuff was AMAZING. And I was telling another blogger about Charitable Influence….the world DOES need it. It is SUCH a good idea.

    • FadraN

      Thanks, Greta! It was so great to meet you and I’m glad you’ll be joining us for the ride :)

  • PrettyHandyGirl

    Loved Jon Acuff! Can’t wait to read his book.

    How sweet of you to mention me in your post! I really enjoyed meeting you as well and hope we can get a Triangle blogger group together soon.

    • FadraN

      We will! We will!!

  • @angelaYblood

    The post was great. I am so glad that I met and talked to you at the first new person meet up, you put me right at ease.  And thanks for the notes, I didn’t make it to the likeability  2.0 and wished I would’ve gone.  Thanks for the post and all the meeting and greeting you did for all of us newbies especially.

    • FadraN

      I have to remind myself to check out your blog. I suspect you are VERY funny. Looking forward to reading more!

  • Asouthernfairytale

    You. You. You. You. You. <3
    Thank you for including your notes, what a great gift from you to others! <3

    • FadraN

      I’m SOOOOO glad I met you. Seriously. You are just awesome.

  • Lisa Waszkiewicz / Frannybolsa

    You were a pretty calm and zen Community Leader from my side of the table. I’m so glad I got to be part of your group in the Likeability session. Thank you for being a friendly face on Facebook and Twitter as well.