It’s almost one in the morning. Brenda Gaddi is wide-awake in her cabin room, still wearing the dress from last night’s dinner. It’s the morning after the three-day Digital Parents Conference aboard a cruise ship, a first in Australian blogging history, and she’s on full assessment mode.
With four kids, Brenda is certainly not a stranger to late nights. But tonight is all about the business and the world of blogging. If you asked her four years ago, Brenda would never have thought she’d be running a conference for blogging parents in Australia four years in a row. She started out as a mummy blogger, one of the early ones who made it ‘big’.
“It was a huge surprise for me when people started following my old blog, Mummy Time. It was even more of a surprise when I got brands to sponsor my travels overseas. I never imagined that could happen just because of what I was doing,” she says.
It was this thought that started the seed in her mind about doing something for the parent blogging community in Australia. In 2010, Brenda bravely decided to put her own money into founding the first parent blogging community in Australia – the Aussie Mummy Bloggers now rebranded as Digital Parents.
“I was wondering as to why there was no organisation for the blogging mums out there, like in America. So I took the chance and started it myself. It was really daunting but I knew others wanted the same thing,” Brenda says.
Organising the first ever conference wasn’t easy, to say the least. But the success of that first conference sprouted even more events in the blogging community. Brenda started the Blogger’s Manifesto – a loose guideline for Aussie bloggers, Digital Parents Unplugged – a night of QnA between bloggers and brands, as well as Digital Parents Collective – a blogger outreach agency.
And no, she adds, she doesn’t sleep. “Sleep is for the weak!” Brenda laughs. She manages a couple of hours work before picking up her kids from school and tending to their afternoon tea. Her house is not immaculate but it’s well organised. She revealed she made her entire family do a major clean up one weekend, even including her six-year old daughter to the family task.
“I was getting tired of the chaos and I wanted to organise my space. It was affecting my work because I couldn’t think properly with all the mess around,” she says.
It’s this skill to get everyone together for a cause that makes Brenda quite effective in her role. She enlists others who share her vision to help her with the projects.
In the course of watching Brenda work, it is starting to seem like you need balls of steel to do what she’s been doing. Not because the work is extremely hard. In fact, she’s dealt with far more high-risk positions in Manila before migrating to Australia. She worked in the real estate industry selling multimillion peso properties.
But her work today is harder because she’s dealing with people from an industry that doesn’t come with a business manual – aka bloggers.
“This is an unusual industry to be in. I’m dealing with bloggers all the time, half of them don’t know what regulations there are to follow, if any. Every single one of them has their own rules, personalities, quirks, which I suppose makes it all the more interesting” she says.
Recently, she’s made a personal resolution to balance her online and offline world a little bit better. “Social media can be a large time suck if you allow it t be!”
She sometimes wonders if there is any point to all her efforts. Her events have helped many parents and bloggers and she’s not short of accolades coming from the community. But Brenda says it’s still a business that hasn’t realised its full potential.
“That’s the dream. To one day have enough money to have an office and hire staff. I love what I’m doing right now but it needs to be sustainable. That’s the ultimate goal for me,” she says.
Find out more on http://digitalparents.com.au
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