Post by BlogPaws Co-Founder, Yvonne DiVita
Rock stars are made, not born. It often seems that our favorite rock stars became the big success stories they are because they were born to be in the public eye. Many of them even say they knew as children they were destined for greatness. Or, they say they always wanted to be on stage so it was natural for them.
The truth is a bit different. Ninety-nine percent of rock stars were NOT overnight successes. They worked hard, for years and years and years at their craft…to become the household names they are today.
How do I know this? I learned it…from personal experience.
People often ask me how I got the idea for BlogPaws, and then how I made it into the success it is today. The first thing I do when asked that question is say, “I didn’t do anything. My TEAM did a whole lot.” ‘Cause, no man is an island, thank you, John Donne. This company was a collaborative effort with Tom Collins, Caroline Golon and many others including Chloe DiVita and the team we have today, Carol Bryant, Felissa Elfenbein, Robbi Hess and a boatload of talented bloggers!
The second thing I do when asked that question is say, “There were many long nights, a lot of hard work involved, and … yes nail biting. Lots of nail biting.”
Granted, we are still a young company and our “success” seems like an overnight kind of thing, but if you look more closely…examine the backgrounds of the people who “built” BlogPaws, you will find years of trial and error and a whole lot of doubt and worry, mixed in with the excitement and expectation.
We are all professionals of one sort or another. In our “other” lives, we worked in PR, we worked in publishing, we worked in accounting and in digital. All of us are writers of one sort or another. I, myself, count writing as the core of my being. Above and beyond all other things I do or accomplish, is the desire to write – to communicate with the written word. I cannot live without my writing. I have dozens of journals filled with my scribbles – and I have thrown away dozens of journals filled with my scribbles (at some point in time you have to purge!). I have novels in boxes, that will likely never see the light of day. I have novels brimming in my head that I hope to write down someday. I would do nothing but write, all day, given the choice. BlogPaws was created in 2009, which seems like a lifetime away to those of us at the Executive offices in CO. It was an idea – a wish to give back to a community that was not being served properly by the emerging digital world of ads, blogs, brand engagement and relationship building. We didn’t sit down and say, “Let’s start a community for pet people and make a ton of money!”
We said, “Let’s do it.” Which meant, Let’s create an experience like the one we just had at BlogHer ’09. Only, for pet bloggers, instead of lifestyle bloggers.
And, without having a clue about how to do it, we began. We took our years of individual experience (Tom, Caroline and me), and hired a designer to create a logo… then, we discussed the concept of a conference. Some very smart people encouraged us to create our community first – you need people to come to the conference, we were told; community should come first, we were told; your community will support everything, we were told. In the end, we chose to do the conference first because our desire was to teach…to connect…to serve. We felt we could bring a few dozen folks together for educational content, learning and some fun, and THEN create a community.
As many of you know, that’s exactly what we did. We launched the conference in 2010 and it was a success. The hard work involved, the worry over budgets and bloggers and brands evaporated into the clouds, as we watched our dream become real.
Since then, BlogPaws has been on a whirlwind of growth. Our late nights paid off. Our commitment to our bloggers paid off. Our community grew, our conferences grew, and our goals expanded. We still want the best for our bloggers, but we also know, now, that we have to serve our brands, also. This world is made up of great brands and talented bloggers and new brands and new bloggers and it’s our job to keep the door open to the conversation, while working with both brands and bloggers to understand where this industry is going and how we can help it achieve success…for the health and welfare of animals everywhere.
We don’t live in a vacuum, folks. BlogPaws is in the business of educating bloggers and brands, on different levels and for different reasons. But, in the end, our purpose… the reason WE, the original co-founders, started this company, is to serve the greater good. And yes, to achieve that we need to make a profit because this is business. Without a profit, I cannot feed my dogs and my cat. Nor can the rest of our team. When airline attendants tell you to put YOUR oxygen mask on first, they know of where they speak. Just saying…
Understand that we are honored when you call us rock stars, but our rise to the honor of being rock stars is completely based on the years of experience we bring to the table…and on the desire to help others.
Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t. But we are always working to that end goal of knowing BlogPaws, as a pet community, will accomplish great things in the world of pet health and welfare. It isn’t about “us” the Executive Team… it’s about “US” the entire community.
As you rise to rock star status, and many of you already are… embrace the glory but don’t erase the blunders you’ve experienced along the way. Bring them with you and use them to make the future better. We are each of us a compilation of our entire lives, and in those lives, I believe we have great opportunity to grow and improve, if we take time to look around, listen to others, be focused on our goals, and wrap our arms around the experience of doing good.
If I am a rock star, it’s because I work with all of you. If I am a rock star, it did not come easily. If I am a rock star, I now have a responsibility that weighs heavy on my heart, at times.
To me, being a rock star is wondrous…and worrisome, at the same time.
What does it mean to you?