Exclusive Interview with Co-Founder BlogHer: Scalability & Sustainability Are Biggest Challenges
With 50 million unique visitors per month, BlogHer is the largest community of women who blog.
LG: What advice would you give entrepreneur just starting out in this industry? (I ask every interviewee this same question, love the replies – helps a great deal!)
Firstly, understand your passion, and what's valuable about it. Because you'll be working as hard as you've ever worked in your life...it better be about something you're intensely passionate about.
2. Secondly, make your fears specific, not abstract. People stop themselves because they're afraid they'll fail. So make sure you specify exactly what would happen if you failed. Often it's uncomfortable, unfortunate, and unpleasant...but it's not tragic. And it's not a reason not to try.
LG: Why did you begin BlogHer?
EMC: My two co-founders, Jory Des Jardins and Lisa Stone, and I started BlogHer to answer a question we knew needed to die: "Where are the women who blog?" But we expanded and grew BlogHer to make a new kind of media company that made money *with* women, not *off* women.
LG: What would you say your biggest challenge is TODAY (with BlogHer?)
The biggest challenge for most start-ups is scalability and sustainability. And these economic times just make that even more challenging than usual.
We have pent-up demand from both our community and our brand customers. Knowing what to green light and what to pause in order to grow in the most intelligent way possible is always on our minds.
LG: Recently you wrapped up BlogHer12 in NYC. How was the experience for you? I heard this is the largest event to date, is that true?
EMC: BlogHer '12 was indeed our largest conference to date, with over 5,000 attendees! There were nine tracks of programming, 3 parties per night, our first Fashion Show, two 200-person full-day pre-conference events, not to mention our buzz-worthy keynotes...Martha Stewart, Katie Couric, Soledad O'Brien, Christy Turlington Burns, Malaak Compton-Rock and, of course, the opening remarks live via video from President Barack Obama. Wow, I'm tired just listing it all out, so as you can imagine the event was a bit of a frenzied blur for me :)
LG: If there is one thing that you learned this year at the conference, what would it be?
EMC: My lesson is *always* to remember to eat and drink!! Seriously, that's just one way to nourish one's self while working hard and managing something massive.
Sometimes nourishment is a meal, but sometimes it's talking that 15 minutes to connect with one person, and let all the frenzy around you fade away while you focus on their story.
Don't miss the opportunities to nourish yourself, even when you're supposed to be taking care of others.
LG: Why do you think women are so inspired by BlogHer? This seems like a really well knit community with strong individuals across all industries.
EMC: BlogHer's mission, since 2005, has been to create opportunities for the women in our community...opportunities for education, exposure, community, and economic empowerment. We take that mission seriously, and that's why we were so proud to talk about what we call the "BlogHer Economy" at the conference.
We've paid $17 million dollars out to the bloggers in our community over the last three years...three tough years economically speaking.
That's fair payment for their words, for their work, for their reach. Not every woman in our community *wants* to monetize, but everyone in our community can appreciate how hard we work to be the conference, the network, and the media company that the community continues to build with us.
LG: What’s next for BlogHer?
EMC Well, we have built some strong verticals across our network that now we are working to bring the bloggers across every vertical more opportunities horizontally...meaning across mobile, across the rest of their social graph beyond their blog, via video. We have some exciting tools we've already launched (check out the new enhanced BlogHer.com profiles) and are getting ready to officially launch (such as BlogHer TV). So, more to come...
Laura Greb-Anand lives in New York and created Artmeme to empower and educate visual artists by providing real life business tools to enhance job security and advance career growth. For the past several years, Laura has worked with an array of artists as her passion grew immensely to help visual artists attain the essential business skills needed in order to move forward with their career confidently.
While Laura is not focusing on artists, she is an avid writer and has interviewed an array of founders, mentors, artists and other likeminded individuals. She's extremely passionate about technology, attending business events, meeting people and sharing information to help others reach their goals.
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