I loved attending the SNAP Conference. You know, just in case you could tell from the 2500 pictures I posted on Instagram while I was there. I loved it.
But it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. To say the least.
I suppose I was expecting a roomful of perfectly creative size 00 Barbie dolls who were all perfectly chipper and who were possibly a little snooty or catty. (As super successful and lovely women often are, unfortunately.) I was also expecting a tighter structure and a whole lot more stress and pressure.
That’s not what I found at SNAP. I found a group of perfectly creative real, wonderful, warm, and generous women. I found time to both learn and have fun. And I found joy.
Sounds cheesy, right? Well, maybe it is. But it’s true. I did find joy, and you know why? Because I found MYSELF. The me that has been missing for a long, long time. Now this is a topic for a separate post, so if you want to know far too much about my personal issues then come back tomorrow morning and check out my second post about SNAP.
Today I am here to break it down for you from the perspective of a SNAP newbie. So if you are curious about the SNAP Conference or if you want to attend next year then read on. You have nothing to be nervous about, and you may be surprised by what you read.
So, with no further ado, I give you the top six things that struck me and stuck with me as the *reality* of the SNAP experience. We will go backwards.
6. SNAP is not Downton Abbey.
Prior to SNAP I read a few articles on how to dress for SNAP. Those articles led me to believe that everyone would have a perfectly put together, hip, and unique Anthro-esque wardrobe. And, not only that, but they would be changing into fancier clothes every night for dinner.
Say what?!?! I don’t know about you, but that is just counterintuitive to me. I may be able to start the day off in Spanx, skinny jeans and red lipstick with heels and perfectly styled hair, but as the day progressing I get lazy and my appearance deteriorates. My hair bugs me when it’s down, my lipstick rubs off onto my Dr. Pepper can, and I am DYING to get into my flip flops and ratty old PJ pants. Get more dressed up at night? Oh, heck no.
So, if you don’t want to change your clothes at night…..DON’T! Hardly anyone did! If you think it’s fun to change clothes often and you have a fab fashionista wardrobe then go for it, girl! Do what you love and be true to your own style and what makes you happy. But as for me, I will never bother to bring more than three outfits again. Three outfits for three days. It just makes sense.
5. Stressed? Skip the extras!
A whole lot of people handed me business cards with little trinkets attached to them. Guess what? I can’t remember a single person who gave me something extra! There were a few things so cute that I vividly remember them…..but I can’t remember the blogger who GOES with said cutesy card/trinket. Whoops.
You know who I do remember? The people I spent time really talking with and getting to know. Frankly, I don’t even need their business cards. We made a connection. We are tight now. (Plus, I just “Friended” them on FB that night and now I can message them whenever I want. Ain’t technology grand??)
I was so stressed out prior to SNAP when I realized that people were doing things like adding trinkets to their business cards, bringing perfect Media Kits (I was only asked for one, by the way, and I just gave her a card instead and emailed her a Media Kit later), and roommate gifts.
I threw together roommate gifts at the last minute, but at the end of the day I know my roommates didn’t care about their roommate gifts. They cared that we stayed up late every night laughing, talking, and bonding. At least that’s what I cared about!
Skip the extras. They are great if you think it’s fun to make them, but they aren’t necessary. You will not be “behind” if you don’t bring them. Just bring plenty of attractive business cards and your own spunky self.
4. Your professional life is not going to magically change on the spot.
The sponsors are flooded with people raving about their products, the big bloggers who have lots of followers and tons of clout are fawned on by everyone….there is a lot going on. You are not going to suddenly be offered tons of free stuff or money or a permanent guest posting spot on a blog with 1M+ views a month just because you met someone. It just ain’t gonna happen. Not for the majority of us, at least.
What is going to happen is that you are going to chat with sponsors and feel out what is right for you. There were a couple of sponsors that I thought I was really going to want to work with and then I just didn’t feel the spark at their booth, so I moved along to the next booth after exchanging pleasantries. And there were a few other sponsors who I thought were a bit “Meh” and ended up clicking with and loving!
Come in with an open mind and the determination not to just be going after free stuff and money. Go in to go after your passion. I didn’t spend much time with the main sponsor of the conference. It’s an awesome chain of hardware stores, but I am not a big DIY blogger. I am not who they were there to meet, and they are not who I was there to meet. Know your strengths and where you will be a good fit. And then be yourself.
3. Head shots are deceptive.
Thank goodness for name tags, people! Whew! The majority of people do not look like their profile pictures!
Man, I sure wish I looked like my headshot! My friend is a whiz with angles and Photoshop, not to mention that I spent HOURS straightening and curling my hair that day and applying the perfect makeup for family photos. 99% of the time my naturally curly hair is pulled back, I’m greasy and unshowered because I hate getting wet (weird and gross…but true!), and I am living in pajamas. Yep, it’s the truth.
Now, at SNAP I was dressed up. I did buy some new clothes (albeit from places like Target and even Walmart), put on makeup, do my hair daily, and wear my best handmade jewelry. But I still didn’t have the perfect angle to make me look 20 lbs thinner than I actually am. Reality is different than professional photos.
So just keep that in mind. Because the bloggers you see who post head shots of their lovely selves using tricky angles and such are not all size 00 Barbie dolls. They are real women. Lovely, wonderful women of all shapes and sizes.
I must say, it was quite a relief to make that discovery.
2. “Big” bloggers are real people.
Yep, it’s true! I’m sure I was one of the “smallest” bloggers there (figuratively speaking, not literally), and since it was my first time I didn’t know many people. So I got to meet and greet a ton of new people. And I learned a few things.
Generally speaking, the creative blogging world is a lovely, supportive, and welcoming place. I was truly overwhelmed by the warmth and acceptance that I felt in that community. But it is still a place full of real people. Even if they get millions of views a month and make big money from their blogs.
Some of them are thin, some of them are fat. Some of them are plain, some of them are stunning. Some of them are friendly, some of them are standoffish. Some of them are outgoing, some of them are shy. Some of them want to meet new people, some of them just want to spend time with the blogging friends that they already have and not make small talk with strangers. Some of them are party animals, some of them are terrible dancers. They are real. Real successful, yes, but also just . . . real.
And I, for one, appreciate that!
1. BE YOURSELF!
I am sure you have noticed this theme recurring through this entire long-winded list. And you are going to have to read a whole lot more about this if you choose to come back tomorrow to read about my personal SNAP moments. The bottom line is this: the happiest and most successful women at that conference were TRUE. TO. THEMSELVES. True to the style they love. True to what inspires them. True to the brands they trust. And true to who they are. Be yourself. No one else can be!
Cheesy, I know. But true.
Thank you to Tauni and the entire SNAP! team for the amazing conference. It was exactly what I needed at this moment in my life.