The Funfest Blogger Summit was one super-slick, welcoming, informative, inspiring and most importantly, fun day for all the family on Saturday.
A festival which encourages you to bring your children along where CRB checked, trained childcare workers look after the kids on-site, makes it a family-friendly event for all.
With global leaders in the baby and toy markets exhibiting there along with the all-important programme of speeches and a chance to network it was an unmissable event for both new and established bloggers and vloggers.
Saija Mahon, MD of Mahon Digital’s shared her insight into Google and SEO and as it was brilliant to hear from the No 1 Global Teen Influencer Amazing Arabella, her Mum and manager Shadio Daho and their family and friends (who form the IT Kids) and are also part of the UK’s No1 Family YT Channel ‘Meet the Vloggers‘.
Another highlight was the thought-provoking panel discussion on kids’ digital footprints and reaffirmed that I’m personally happy with my kids being part of my blog.
The Expo allowed to me to chat with representatives from family-favourite brands The Entertainer and JCB and it was great to find out more about Tuck ‘n’ Snug an award winning bedding concept.
Here are some photos from the day!
Fab brands exhibiting!
The best thing about blogging events is the pals you get to make. It was so much fun hanging out with the gorgeous Laura aka Waffle Mama and her family on the day. Nothing like an IRL meet up with a twitter pal huh!
Here with Shadio Daho below.
These guys are such a talented bunch, it was a pleasure to chat to them. Vlogging child stars Amazing Arabella and the IT Kids, along with their family reached 19 million views in just 2 months recently! Ah-mazing!
Big shout out too to the brilliant Simon of KidRated too who I forgot to get a pic with (next time)!
…The brand exhibitors provided so much fun for the children on the day. It was a blogger’s dream: connecting with awesome brands whilst your kids are entertained!
…I was honoured to return to the festival after giving a speech on my career as a professional blogger last year. This time I shared my tried and tested ways on dealing with the imposter syndrome, becoming more confident and finding success.
I wanted to share my keynote speech below for those unable to make the day and so my readers all over the world (hey guys) can hopefully feel inspired! Let’s kick fear to the curb and embrace our potential!
I was touched by the response on the day so I really hope it resonates with you too:
Hello and thank you for having me at FunFest again! I feel privileged to share my journey so far.
So let’s talk about confidence.
To kick off, when I googled what being confident means, this came up,
‘Having strong belief or full assurance; sure: confident of fulfilment…. sure of oneself; having no uncertainty about one’s own abilities, correctness, successfulness, etc.; self-confident; bold: a confident speaker’.
So the irony is not lost on me that right now, as a speaker on confidence, I didn’t actually feel that confident to speak. In all honestly, I felt a little scared. Fearful. And that’s despite speaking here last year. I know, right? It makes no sense.
And that’s the thing, confidence is a little bit of a con. Even the most confident amongst us will have times they lack confidence. That’s life. When we want something (and I really wanted to be here honest) we are often scared. Scared we’ll let people down, won’t share all the points we hope to, live up to expectations (usually our own crazy out of reach ones) or you know how much twitter holds my hair
When we want something (and I really wanted to be here honest), we are often scared. Scared we’ll let people down, won’t share all the points we hope to, live up to expectations (usually our own crazy out of reach ones) or simply #hairgoals being met as twitter holds my hair in such high regard 😉
But I’m here right and that’s the difference between those who achieve and those who don’t-despite the fear, the former do it anyway.
Corny as hell I know, but true.
I love the quote Sheryl Sandberg shares in her iconic book ‘Lean In’ (my go-to book on how to live my life) that Mark Zuckerberg, founder of FB would ask his troops, ‘What would you do today if you weren’t afraid?’
Just go do that.
So let me take you back a little to my story, just briefly as some of you know it already but I want to offer some context.
Many things I’ve set out to achieve since a young age have actually materialised (although getting my first book out-hopefully, in the next year or so and making my first feature film are still aspirations burning brightly)…but working backwards and unravelling why I have achieved a lot of what I’ve set out, has been enlightening for me.
I think as Darren Rowse of ProBlogger says it’s all down to the small steps, the tiny milestones that lead to the bigger picture, and in my case, a picture I hadn’t even visualised from the start either.
No one, not even Mark Z could have envisaged the internet as it is now when we were kids.
You don’t know how tech and culture will change and impact on your dreams and that’s absolutely been the case for me.
If you asked me now where I thought I’d be as a child or even a few years ago as an award-winning filmmaker, I would have said a feature film director or still directing TV.
Features were the ‘big dream’ and they still are to some extent but dreams are fluid and life/kids/situations change dreams and that’s what’s so beautiful about life.
First-time parenthood, a traumatic birth with my first child and the BIRTH and BOOMING of blogging meant my career took a different path to that I’d imagined as a 19-year-old -and here I am, still a writer, a filmmaker, a creative but a digital storyteller- someone who creates and curates, publishers and collaborates.
A dream-maker, pro-creator and booty shaker.
I am an example of how working flexibly around your kids can create a solid, lucrative business that can offer your family stability and feed your soul. My kids are my driving force and this way of working is a testament to the fact ambition does not need to die in the water pool or operating table…
The digital landscape has created a more honest discourse amongst all of us, allowing us to connect with others online to build bridges across time, space and geography, a means to ensure we feel less alone and more informed in a way that was inconceivable before social media.
We are all incredibly lucky to live in the age that we do. That our collective skillset and means of communication, our VOICES only serve to help us THRIVE. Since the beginning of time, the arts have been limited by financial and time constraints yet in spite of these, creativity prevails. It almost needs these limitations, these sparse moments of light and water to bloom, to be free.
Since the beginning of time, the arts have been limited by financial and time constraints yet in spite of these, creativity prevails.
It almost needs these limitations, these sparse moments of light and water to be nourished, to be free.
I see this with blogs.
We are busy, often harassed mother hustling (and father hustling) folks, endlessly juggling yet within that chaos, e-businesses and blogs, innovative ideas, concepts and communities spring forth and bloom.
I always say it takes a maternity leave to grow a business. A village to raise a child- and a village albeit a global one- to raise a blog.
And therein lies the beauty of this field. You write and Google trawls your blog and organic SEO drives eyeballs to your space meaning other like-minded people discover you.
That community, and mine- reaches all the way to America and Australia- keeping blogs afloat along with the many, many faceless clicks that seek ‘mummy pants’ (wrong place amigos) and are asking search engines, ‘Is George Clooney Greek?’ and ending up on Honest Mum.
Maternity leave has given me and others a window to create, to write in snatched moments at the start, when your baby sleeps or feeds. An emotional lifeline at a time of wavering direction, we all used that time to make something that was ours.
We realised the strength and beauty in our voice.
We grew in confidence or for those who haven’t embarked on a blog yet, will no doubt find that too, because every small step from deciding your blog name to setting up a domain and hitting publish leads to the next step and the next enabling your confidence to grow by the day.
…Until those small windows of opportunity you seized at the start (mostly thanks to the babysitter otherwise known as Cbeebies) has led to a business and potentially reaches millions across all platforms.
Success can look relentless too, this much I know, viewing others and often feeling their own success is not within your grasp can be tough yet it can serve to inspire, to help you pursue your own dreams.
It is futile to compare yourself on day 1 or 21 to those 6 years down the line like myself. Experience and Google rankings come with time. That’s just science.
But back to where I started, everything I’ve ever done has come from a place of fear: filmmaking, blogs, kids, Redbus now Lionsgate and eventually becoming a director.
Imagine if I’d let fear win.
And that’s the key, to not allow fear to paralyse and STOP you. To give yourself permission to be yourself and not sweat those who try to kill your vibe or misunderstand who you are.
Plus, it’s never too late to follow your dreams however whacky they might seem. I have friends who became actors later in life, I know 70-year-olds who went back to art school, those who switched direction and decided to simply #crackon with their goals.
I love the point Darren Rowse made recently- that you can’t know what you’re passionate about unless you actually try something and see if you like it. I couldn’t agree more.
I always say to myself what’s the worst that could happen? I miss out on that commission? I’ll live and learn for the next time.
It’s great to dream big. My husband calls me Craig David as I dream to crack America one day-but no one does that in a day, it takes lots of small baby steps and lots of rejection too.
You have to stop being scared of making mistakes and simply take the plunge. To take on board others’ feedback but to not stop trying. Just look at JK Rowling.
Remember, that your brain is plastic so the more times you practice this rewiring of your thoughts- positive affirmations and telling yourself you are capable, beautiful and more, results in you feeling more confident and TAKING ACTION.
The more you make going for success as your default, the more natural it becomes. Taking chances and risks become second-nature. And they are literally second-nature because you taught yourself to behave like that.
You need to hone your voice + take your time + and consistently push with as thick a skin as you can and with the help of your village (told you you need a village) supporting you.
I call these people my ANCHORS, the real friends and family members who have my back, can be completely honest with me and who are there for me when I lose confidence, can’t go on and need support.
We all need those people on our sides so clear out the negative dementors from your life be it Facebook or in your family (latter not as easy, but choose who takes your time), redirect your energy, surround yourself with positivity and watch your life and energy blossom.
From there comes strength, the ability to take more risks and thus opportunity and you will feel better about reaching out to others for support, tweeting that journalist with your idea for a story, approaching that PR and promoting yourself.
So here are a few takeaways or as Marie Forleo says, tweetables-
- Feign confidence until you believe in it.
- Tell others your dreams- and we’ll try that in a moment because by doing so it makes you more accountable and helps you start believing anything is possible.
- Pick yourself up again after rejection, don’t deny the hurt (have a cry) but move on swiftly.
- Start planning the next post, business idea etc.
- We don’t share our failures usually as we want to focus on the positives but it’s important to know I am rejected a lot too. That’s life. Remember that when you next see me mention a goal ticked.
- Be open to criticism and learn from others’ whilst retaining your vision.
- Write what you want to read yourself.
The imposter syndrome is real and even when you reach the heady heights of success it will no doubt crop up, trying to pull you down.
Even my hero Mayo Angelou suffered-
‘I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.” ‘
The gifted Tina Fey also said this of it,
‘The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud’.
Even Oscar winner Kate Winslet feels it,
‘Sometimes I wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this. I’m a fraud’.
We’re in great company right? Wrong. It needs to stop. Or at least not stop us from succeeding.
You HAVE TO accept you’ve worked hard, have talent and DESERVE success. It’s that simple, yet of course, not that easy. It takes practice.
Stop yourself before your wreck yourself- and that means your own internal dialogue too which could well be preventing you from pushing higher and reaching your potential.
Women are told from a young age not to be tenacious, to not ‘lean in’ as Sheryl Sandberg would say, to keep quiet in class or not take their seat at the business table or in the director’s chair. I wasn’t that girl. With feminist parents who instilled great self-belief in me, I tend to feel pretty strong most of the time, no doubt because of that vital foundation.
I have that constant reminder ringing in my ears, even now, that anything is possible.
Like Tina Fey, I will ride the wave of euphoria when it comes, and will endeavour to glide through the inevitable self-doubt.
Know this, though, success has a domino effect, it leads to the next door opening and endless connections so reach out, be open, warm and professional. Over-deliver on every project ( I do), don’t be proud, if you are starting out in a new industry, do work experience, we all did at the beginning and know your worth.
If you show the world you are confident in you, your abilities and what you can offer, they will believe in you too. I promise.
Thank you x