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How Entering a Contest Literally Changed My Life

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BelleLive Blog Tour

How Entering a Contest Literally Changed My Life

Sound dramatic? This catchy headline is an example of one of the many things I learned by participating in the creativeLIVE workshop, Build a Successful Creative Blog” taught by  April Bowles-Olin of BlackburgBelle.com

But this headline isn’t just “link bait”.

Here is the story…

Reading my myriad emails one day, I saw that PhotoJoJo was promoting a contest to win a fancy camera. I personally only use my iPhone to take pictures (and, up until April 2013, my Motorola Razr!) but my husband is a photographer and he’s always saying he needs another camera, so I entered. The contest was run by Snapknot, a blog for photographers, and of course, to enter you needed to sign up for their newsletter. This was not a problem for me, being a serial newsletter subscriber. I figured I could just as easily ignore their newsletter as I could the dozen others that pour into my inbox.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
My inbox. For real, you guys.

One day, though, Snapknot promoted a free online class for photographers, maybe it was for Photoshop, I can’t remember, but being a knowledge junkie I clicked the link and ended up at the creativeLIVE home page.

It may as well have been Heaven.

Free classes for creatives? Five channels? Every Day? Yes, please! I immediately created an account and started RSVPing for classes. My first was “The Art of Selling What You Make” by the ultra fab Tara Gentile. After that, I was hooked. I watch creativeLIVE just about every day now.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Me, watching Janine Warner talk about me on CL. Is that meta?

 

So, a couple months back, I was checking out the calendar and saw a new class listed, April’s class for bloggers. Of course I RSVP’d. Then, for some reason, I decided to take the next step and apply to be in the audience. I do stuff like that sometimes. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would actually be chosen so imagine my shock when I got the email from producer Kate welcoming me to the studio audience. I instantly panicked. Side note, I have suffered from anxiety for a while, but this past year it has ramped up to pretty much full-blown panic disorder and mild agoraphobia. So I was all sorts of stressed out, which I blogged about here. But, I love living life and collecting experiences, so I just knew this was something I had to do, whatever it took.

I worked out all the details, made the plans and traveled with my husband from San Diego to San Francisco so I could be a part of the adventure. I am so glad I did. Besides the amazing information, instruction and encouragement that April graciously shared with us, I got so much more out of it. I built relationships. Working from home, I felt very isolated at times. I didn’t have the  “tribe” that my mentors spoke of. That all changed with this workshop.  I met some truly amazing ladies; my fellow front row participants and April, all the wonderful people at creativeLIVE, and the fantastic community that was built from the vast online audience. I found my tribe and it rocks.

Red Scorpio at CreativeLive
Red Scorpio at CreativeLive

 

The greatest takeaway from April’s workshop is the relationships. They are vital to creating a successful blog and a successful business. In particular, the friendship with the simply marvelous Jane Dolan. We became “accountability partners” after meeting at the workshop and it has made a huge difference for me. I need to be kept accountable and Jane is the perfect partner. Not too hardcore, not too laid back, and I don’t want to let her down. We click. If you are struggling with keeping on task, I highly recommend getting a compatible partner to help you stay accountable.

 

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.

And my friend Kimberly, shown here wigging out with April at a CL wrap party.

Wigged out Wednesday

I’ve also kept in touch with Sage Grayson and her wonderful blog, Shasta on Twitter and Instagram and Jennifer‘s blog. I try not to be a creepy stalker and “like” everything they put out, but they are all really good at what they do.

So, when I say that entering that contest changed my life, I am not being hyperbolic. My life changed. I have learned so much from creativeLIVE and from April’s class, and a lot of it was stuff I learned about myself.

Red Scorpio creates bold unique statement jewelry. 100% Handmade by richelle shadoan. Beaded bracelets and necklaces make perfect gifts for the woman in your life who has everything. How to be awesome. Step out of your comfort zone. Live an artful life. Dare to be awesome.
Got this in my email Monday

 

 “This post is a part of the “What ‪#‎BelleLive‬ Taught Me” blog tour. In order to continue your journey, visit Anastasia Parmson  & Tiny Trailer Adventures,  or for a full list of participants please visit jocavagnis.com . Thanks for stopping by!”

40 replies on “How Entering a Contest Literally Changed My Life”

It’s truly amazing what April’s course has unleashed! Reading your older posts it is staggeringly obvious that you took her tips and ran with them! I love it!
It’s an honor to be introducing your blog in this tour and to be connecting with everyone who took part in this course!

I loved April’s class and bought it and I’m slowly and carefully going through it. I totally agree with you on the accountibility buddy, I just got one recently and we just click too, she’s my new bestie! I felt a connection with you while watching the videos, even if I never wear all black 😉

OMG, I am also one of those people that just sign up for newsletters without a second thought and randomly apply to do things because of course it’s a great idea at the time lol! Sounds like taking part was an amazing experience for you and I smiled the whole way through your post!

I have been signing up for quite a lot of newsletters as well ever since I found out about the existence of those! I think it’s difficult to make a decision on wether or not it will be a “good fit” from the start and I would definitely not have time or energy to just visit blogs & websites to find out if I like them first. So unsubscribing is kind of a natural thing I guess.
But I do feel bad when someone unsubscribes from my list so that makes it more difficult to unsubscribe when I know that the person will notice me leaving…

Twitter has kind of replaced rampant newsletter sign-ups for me lately because people always tweet about their blog posts which makes it easier to read or not read without clogging up my inbox. But most of the inbox clutter was from people with HUGE mailing lists, like Derek Halpern and Ramit Senthi, so I don’t think they will notice when I unsubscribe 🙂
But I did opt-in to a bunch of newsletters on the blog hop. I won’t unsubscribe you guys!

EEK!!! I LOVE PHOTOJOJO!!!!! Okay, now that I’ve finished fangirling about that….this was awesome. I love how that one contest created a domino effect with some freakin’ awesome results!

And it was super fun watching y’all interact in the live group…and I admit to seriously wishing that I could have gone too. 😀

LOVED this post, Richelle!

It is so cool pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and having it pay off so wonderfully. I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey unfolding 🙂
xo
K

Thank you, Kris! The weird thing is I am adventurous and love life and new experiences, so the anxiety is SO annoying to me. It is not who I am, it’s just what’s happening to me. I already want to be in the front row again. I highly recommend it!

It must have been really great to be in that studio audience! GOOD for you! I am in a few groups and slowly building my tribe. I LOVE, scratch that, ADORE handmade! Can’t wait to see what you shoot next!

I loved watching you in the workshop! I totally dig your style (especially being a lover of black & red as well :D) and just being there, being yourself, sharing openly with all of us who got the opportunity to learn from you guys…

I know it must’ve been challenging for you, especially given your earlier anxiety issues, yikes! It was so brave of you to do whatever it takes, I’m really admiring your courage 🙂

Nela, did you notice I changed the graphic header to red? I could NOT have that blue one up there! My core message on both my blogs is to fully live your life and collect experiences, so I can’t allow myself to be held back by stupid anxiety.
thank you so much and I LOVE your art!! So beautiful and evocative!

I love the serendipity of your story! I thought you were going to win the camera — but you won so much more instead! Good for you for following your instincts and pushing through! It was wonderful watching you in the studio audience and watching your commitment and growth here! I learned many lessons from your post including, trust your gut, take chances, push past the fear, and build your tribe! Thank you so much for everything! I look forward to more!

Thank you, Michael! That means a lot to me! Push past fear. What’s the worst that could happen? Skydiving, you might die so that is out, but meeting a group of people? I always like to assume the best outcome. As in your quote, you might fly!
rs

I completely agree with you that working from home can be lonely!

Sometimes I think that I am have nobody to invite over to my birthday party, ha!

It can be great to work on your creative passion and be free but we NEED to
meet and network to exchange ideas and grow, so I am going to go out there and find an event, club or whatever it is and find some local creatives too!

I so agree! That was the best part of April’s class to me, building the relationships. The New Blogger Group is so supportive! I want to get involved with creative people face-to-face as well, I mean the internet is cool, but real live people are even better.

I loved your story. Yes, the title sounded dramatic, but dramatic is what catches my eye. I’m kind of tired of the “post #____” type of title. In no way does that make me want to find out more, but with your title, I wanted to read on, and I loved what I read!

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