10 Lessons I Learned From Haven Conference

I could tell you to make sure to wear your flats, bring plenty of snacks and water and don’t forget your charger. But let’s be real. That’s not going to help you decide on making one of the best investments in your blogging career. If I’m going to be honest, Haven Conference was not on my radar. But there was a pull on my heart around May that changed everything for me.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek at Haven Conference 2019

After I learned some of my blogger friends were going, I seriously started to consider it. Maybe it would be cool to say I went… but I still didn’t know exactly what I’d get out of it. Then one day I found out that Egypt Sherrod was the key note speaker, and I knew I NEEDED to be in that room.

Haven’s motto is, “Transform Your Home, Transform Your Heart”. And I can say without a doubt that being in the presence of so many amazing women has transformed my Heart. I don’t feel like you have to be a blogger to apply these lessons in your life. There were so many nuggets that I will apply to every area of my life.

1. Give yourself permission to just be you

One of the common themes among some powerful and successful women in this industry was to be un-apologetically YOU. I have to be completely transparent and honest, and say the thought of going to Haven intimidated me. When you think of a home blogger, there’s a certain image that comes to mind. And faces like mine don’t fit that image. KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms delivered a POWERFUL speech during lunch. KariAnne’s words felt so real for me.

KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms delivering powerful speech at Haven Conference 2019

I’ve been in many rooms where I felt like I didn’t belong. I’ve wanted to give up because I’ve felt like my face wasn’t the face brands would want for their campaigns. And I know what it feels like to be standing in front of someone who thinks you aren’t worthy of their time. But hearing KariAnne’s message resonated with my spirit and freed me to finally just be me.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid of Home on Poplar Creek with KariAnne of Thistlewood Farms at Haven Conference 2019

2. Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or ending

It’s so tempting to look at someone else’s journey and feel inferior. We’re all guilty of it. At least I know I am. But the truth is, we all start somewhere. You never know what someone has gone through to get to where they are. Your journey is so unique and it can’t be duplicated.

Carmel Phillips of Our Fifth House and Jewel Marlowe of Jeweled Interiors share about the importance of collaboration over competition at Haven Conference 2019

3. Find Your Tribe

Another common theme at Haven is to find your tribe. And I’m so grateful I found mine. Having a tribe is so crucial to growing in this space. Your tribe will support you, hold you accountable and help you find resources.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek at Haven Conference 2019 with bloggers Katrina Blair, Erin Marshall at Live Pretty on a Penny, Gbeke at Simplicity for Designs, Carli at Made by Carli, Tori at Scotshillshouse and Yuni at Love Your Abode

4. Don’t do it for the money

Blogging can be a lucrative business once you find your sweet spot. Everyone wants to get paid for the countless hours you spend researching and putting together blog posts. But true fulfillment in your blog is deeper then the money. You have to find your why because there will be times that there will be no income. Will you still be motivated to show up for your audience? My Haven mentor Yvonne at Stone Gable Blog touched my heart when she spoke about her deep love for her followers. She makes it a point to show her followers her love for them.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek at Lamps Plus booth

5. Step outside of your comfort zone

Networking is not my thing. I’m super shy AND an introvert which means talking to people I don’t know makes me uncomfortable. And it’s draining. If you’re planning to go to Haven next year and you’re like me, I have one big piece of advice. Network during unpopular times. During breakfast, during workshops or during lunch. I chose to sit out a round of workshops with the purpose of talking to brands. That was one of the best decisions EVER. There was less traffic, noise and distractions which took the pressure off feeling like I had to compete with more energetic people for the brand reps attention.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek at Elkay Booth

6. It’s ok to say no

Don’t feel pressured to do all the things. Haven can send you into sensory overload if you allow it. Pace yourself and take breaks if you need to. Go be alone, take a walk, do something fun or take a nap to recharge.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek with Blogger Andrea at DecoratingCents

7. Be True to Your Brand

At some point in your blogging career, you have to be totally honest with yourself. Once you establish your personal brand, you know who your ideal audience is, you have a pretty good idea of who you are as a blogger and you know the brands that fit into your personal brand. Don’t feel like you have to pitch to ALL THE BRANDS because your colleagues have worked with them. Be true to what you represent and only work with companies you value AND who also value you. Your readers don’t want to feel like you’re throwing ad after ad at them. You should only share what feels right and what is genuine.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek visiting Sinkology booth

8. Outsource, outsource, outsource

I know you’ve heard the saying, ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’. This saying is sooo true in the blogging industry, and in life. I sometimes think I can do it all. Then I end up wasting valuable time trying to learn something in one day, that the experts in that area have spent a lifetime learning. If there is something so foreign to you, consider outsourcing it to an expert. Your blog is your business and you want to invest in your business. That could mean investing in a photographer, an SEO expert or even an assistant. Whatever that looks like for you, always work smarter not harder.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek sharing a look at vendors set up at Haven Conference

9. Be open minded

What do you think of when you think of your tribe? Does everyone look the same? Does everyone do the same exact thing? As you grow in this business, you will meet people from all walks of life. Some will share the same interests as you or look the same, but some will be completely different. Be open minded about welcoming them into your circle. You can benefit so much from learning from people that are different from you.

10. You have a unique story to tell

You may not even realize it but you have a unique story to tell. And believe it or not, someone needs to hear your story because your story will free them. How many times have you felt like you have someone all figured out just based on what you see on the surface? Egypt Sherrod, Author, Television Host and Speaker and Amy Howard at Amy Howard Home literally had me in tears. It’s easy to look at someone and think life has been easy for them. But I could not thank them enough for their transparency… both sharing about loss and finding their purpose. They have given me so much hope and inspiration to share my own story, which I hope will be freeing for someone else.

Lifestyle Blogger Nicole Reid at Home on Poplar Creek with Television Host Egypt Sherrod

So there you have it! I laughed, I cried and laughed some more. This experience has truly been life changing. Are you considering going to Haven next year? Or if you’ve been before, share me about your own experience down in the comments.

Until next time,

July 22, 2019

  1. Carli

    July 22nd, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Nicole, I think this was a perfect synopsis of Haven. I appreciate your perspective and agree with you on so many levels. It was so amazing to finally meet you!

  2. Torie

    July 22nd, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    Nicole! This is everything!!! Thank you for sharing your heart and I’m so glad we got to meet🤗😘.

  3. Andrea

    July 22nd, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    Now you’re making me wish I would have gone. Maybe next year. I need to learn so many things when it comes to blogging. I’ve been doing it a while but still need help. Things have changed. It was so nice to finally meet you. You were exactly as I imagined. Love ya girl!

  4. Gbeke

    July 22nd, 2019 at 7:42 pm

    This is perfect Nicole! You truly touch the highlights of the Haven conference. I am so glad we got to meet in person! Well said! 🙌🏾🙌🏾 🙌🏾

  5. Jamala

    July 22nd, 2019 at 10:39 pm

    This has officially made me regret not going. I’ve felt those “not worthy” to be there moments and just didn’t think this would suit me. I thank you for being candid and perhaps next year it’s on my agenda.

  6. Erin

    July 23rd, 2019 at 3:40 am

    Awesome post Nicole. You did a great job of summing it all up. So glad to have met you. Loved your kind and gentle spirit. Hope to see you again soon!

  7. Jessica

    July 23rd, 2019 at 4:22 am

    Not only is this a great read, you took some great pics! I am so happy we were able to cross paths! I can’t wait to see what you do and how your blog evolves!!

  8. Veronica

    July 23rd, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    I already felt I missing out when saw all of y’all’s Instagram stories. Your reflection here solidifies that I totally missed out. I’m glad you had a great experience and allowed yourself to step out beyond comfort. Thank you for this recap. Faces like ours, we don’t see often in this space/on the stage.

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