Where Can BlogHer Entrepreneurs Take Your Business? An Interview with Elke Govertsen
Our BlogHer Entrepreneurs '13 is just around the corner. Our Events team is busy, busy, busy getting things ready for two days of information sharing, networking, mentoring and general conference goodness. On my end, I've been interviewing some of our previous attendees along with some mentors and speakers. Today I'm featuring Elke Govertsen of mamalode magazine. She attended the BlogHer|BET (Business, Entrepreneurism, and Technology conference) in 2011 -- and it changed everything.
So I asked her some questions about where she was prior to the conference, what clicked at the conference, and where she is now, in 2013. If you're unsure whether or not you're "ready" for a conference like this, I feel that her answers might inspire you.
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Can you explain where you were with mamalode when you went to BlogHer|BET in 2011?
When I arrived at BlogHer BET in 2011, I had a free local publication for moms, based in Missoula, MT. It was called Mamalode and was a terrifically fun project, but a terrible business model. The first person I met was Lisa Stone, who happens to be the CEO of BlogHer, and also happens to be from Missoula, MT. Right then, I started to see where I was from as a possible asset.
My mentor that year was Pattie Sellers, Editor at Large at Fortune Magazine and co-chair of Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit. What was mind boggling was that earlier that day I had been working in my hotel room on some foreclosure paperwork for a spec house we had built (which we did no wind up foreclosing on, but that is an entirely different saga!) I like to think of that day as "Foreclosure to Fortune" and know there is an essay in there somewhere, one with a happy ending.
I was struggling to find my footing, personally, financially and professionally. I felt like I had something special, but couldn't define what it was, or what to do with my seemingly disparate skill set.
What changed for you at that conference? What "clicked" for you?
While I was at the conference my perspective shifted at all levels. I understood for the first time that I was an "entrepreneur" and that was exactly the word for my cumulative skill set. I told my husband I had "found my people". My network expanded beyond my local business community, and suddenly included some major players in the world. Particularly in the world of media.
I saw the opportunity in what I had built-- it was an excellent prototype for a national media presence. I marched out of that event with a new vision-- of my company and myself.
Where is your business now, in the beginnings of 2013?
Fast forward now to 2013, I now have an amazing business partner, Dori Gilels, and we are scaling mamalode everyday nationally (and beyond). Our intention is to be the premiere media for mothers, with our community based around meaningful content and connections. Our writers are our readers and they continue to amaze us. We have a Greatest Hits for iPad available, as well as a new website in the wings with increased tools for engagement, content delivery and feedback. We have paid subscribers to the print magazine in all 50 states and ten other countries.
I am also happy to report that the network I plugged into in 2011 is still vital and alive. Those connections continue to care about and stay engaged and supportive as I grow and evolve -- as a person and as an entrepreneur.
For those not sure about going -- or those who might be nervous even though they already have a ticket -- what might you say to encourage them?
If you are unsure about attending this event, ask yourself this: Do I know there is something inside of me-- an idea, a spark, a possibility-- that is bigger than what I am doing now? This can be anything from an inkling of an inspiration, to the next iteration of your already thriving business. Do you believe it can be more--- do you want to turn that spark into a flame? A firework? A source of energy for MORE?
The access to the information and network at Entrepreneurs is unprecedented, not to mention the scale of the event is prime for creating real, lasting and impact full connections (more than a business card, but a real relationship). I recommend it to everyone, evidenced by the fact that last year there were 3 people from MT and a few other friends of mine as well.
Take the leap. Make the move. It might just change everything for you as it did for me.
Thanks BlogHer, it really was a game changer to attend that first (and second, now third) BlogHer event for entrepreneurs.
See you there-- please come introduce yourself to me.
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