with Mir Kamin
I'm a freelance writer and mother of two working from home, which theoretically means I can set my own schedule so as to best accommodate my family. In reality, "flexible hours" often equals "working too much." Yes, I'm my own boss; no, that doesn't mean life is easy. It's hard to leave the office when you live there. But I love what I do and feel very lucky. And not just because I get paid to work in my pajamas.
To learn more about Mir, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! or visit her blog at http://www.wouldashoulda.com/
I had no idea what to expect from this trip. In fact, part of the selection process involved garnering votes, and I don’t think I have to tell you that having to campaign for myself is right there on my list of super-fun activities, somewhere between “jabbing sharp things underneath my nails” and “cleaning up vomit.” The fact that I had to ask my community to vote me up made me uneasy, and the selection process was sort of opaque (”voting is just one of many factors we’ll consider”), which made me—for lack of a better descriptor—a little suspicious, too.
But I’m trying to grow Want Not, and this seemed like a good opportunity to do that, so I applied, I was selected, and I went. And I’m thrilled to say that it completely exceeded my expectations.
I’ve always said that the Internet is big enough for everyone, and the more cooperation we see amongst colleagues, the better off everyone else is. I know it sounds a little kumbaya-ish, and really, it’s not like anyone has to listen to me. I’m just one person, and not a terribly powerful one at that. But I can’t even tell you how exciting it was to go to this conference and hear the Loren Bendele (the CEO of Savings.com) say—several times—that he believes a rising tide lifts all boats, and the path to success for all of us is to work together as a community, help one another, and build partnerships.
I waited for the “but” to come in. I waited for the “and here’s what you can do for us” or some other sort of “gotcha” moment. And it never came. This successful company spent a lot of money bringing a bunch of people to their conference to build connections and goodwill. And didn’t ask for anything from us in return. In fact, they spent a lot of time this weekend promoting us to the media, and also asking us what else they can do to help.
I’m not saying everyone has to operate this way, but I am saying it was pretty refreshing. And very, very cool.
As for the other bloggers I met, well, that was a whole new experience, too. I’ve been to a lot of blogging conferences, but never one focused solely on frugal blogging. Here was a roomful of people all working in the same niche, and not even a hint of competitiveness or one-up-manship to be seen. Not only was everyone helpful and genuinely happy to be there, I spent two days marveling over all of the note comparisons and advice flying around. I learned a ton. And I know a whole bunch of new people I can go to in this space to call colleagues, now, whom I didn’t know just a week ago.
I think Loren is absolutely right that cooperation means greater success for all of us, and I love that I’m now watching this in action in this one sector of my business. I hope it catches on in some of my other work, too. This is the model to which I aspire—raising the tide for all of us.
Disclaimer: I had a really nice free trip courtesy of Savings.com, but y’all know that’s not enough to make me say nice things about them unless I truly believed them, right? Right.
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