Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

What I Learned at SOBCon: How to Build a Barn

Filed under: Motivation,Social Media,Work — by at 1:11 pm on Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SOBCon co-founder Liz StraussLiz Strauss continually shares nuggets of wisdom that leave me pondering and savouring it in my mind until I’ve fully sucked out all of the flavour, all of the meaning. 

During her keynote at this year’s SOBCon (Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference), she tossed out another nugget of wisdom:

You’re building a barn, not a coliseum.

Blog Accessibility MastermindI have been pondering, savouring those words since April 30th. While busily building the Blog Accessibility Mastermind course and website over the last few weeks, I’ve realized there are three points to Liz’s words:

1. A barn is not huge.

Coliseums are monstrosities; barns are not. Start with something small.

I had been intending to launch Blog Accessibility Mastermind (BAM) since September, but writing the thirteen lessons was a daunting task and other commitments kept distracting me. Reframing BAM from a 13-lesson comprehensive course to a 6-lesson introductory course made the project more manageable, more doable. The project was then possible to get off the ground; revisions and additions can come later.

2. A barn is solid, not finely polished.

A barn is solidly built and serves it purpose: to house livestock. The walls are not finely sanded and flawlessly painted. This is not imperfection; it’s beauty, in it’s own way.

My main focus is building solid content for the individuals who are kindly paying to learn something new. Although having a forum in which members could discuss course content and share ideas would be nice, finding an accessible forum application and setting it up is time consuming. Using the comment section within the members’ area will work equally as well and is something familiar to the members who are bloggers and know how to interact in the comment section.

3. Actually, it’s a barn raising.

Reminiscing my Little House on the Prairies days, a farmer didn’t build a barn. The community came together to raise barns, with each individual contributing his or her skill or talent.

For someone who, in the past, has tried to do everything herself, to control everything herself, this was the most difficult point to learn. Seeing the strengths and talents in others is easy, but then stepping back to allow them to do what they do best – and accepting how they do it – is the difficult part.

However, in the end, the key to a successful barn raising is accepting the talents and energy from others as gifts and graciously welcoming them into the community. Their wanting to be involved in the project is a testament to the barn being raised.

Once the barn is raised, all those involved join in a celebration meal. Since hosting such a celebration with fried chicken and apple pie isn’t possible virtually, I would like to publicly thank those involved in the raising of Blog Accessibility Mastermind:

  • SOBCon co-founders Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker for inviting me to present at SOBCon09, which laid the foundation for this barn;
  • The Random Twitter People (aka Paul Merrill, Deb Brown, Becky McCray, and Jon Swanson) for their brainstorming, clarity-finding and kick-butting;
  • Mary-Lynn Foster for her service as a sounding board;
  • Oscar Gonzalez for finding the right tool to make a tedious task a breeze;
  • Jason Teitelman, Tony and the graphic guys at BlogCatalog for the free ad;
  • Charles Pennell for tracking down the "pesky" blue and replacing it with mauve in the sidebar;
  • Miss Dazey for being the official PayPal buy button tester and for her energetic cheerleading;
  • Grant Griffiths for his enthusiastic tweets and support on launch day;
  • Lori-ann Engel for her virtual assistance services – she makes me look good;
  • My childhood friend Karen Tsang for writing a rockin’ sales page with me;
  • To those I may have missed here, thank you for your never-ending support.
  • And, last but definitely not least in any way, my wonderful husband Darrell for his unwavering support, patience and understanding, for keeping me well stocked in chocolate and for the ever increasing runs to Tim Horton’s for a caffeine fix.

When the time comes to raise your barn, you can count on me.

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Comment by Leanne

June 16, 2010 @ 1:37 pm


This is almost too coincidental. I just returned from a Linchpin meetup Monday and was saying the very same thing re. “barn raising”.

You’re on to something. Liz Strauss (whom I haven’t had the pleasure of discovering yet) is on to something. We’re all on to something and if we can grasp the fact that “many hands make light work” I truly believe we will change this world.

Thank you so much for this post. *hands Glenda a virtual apple pie* 🙂

Comment by Glenda

June 16, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

Leanne, no coincidence! Great minds think alike! And you’re so right about we can change the world, together.

Thanks for the apple pie!

Comment by Oscar Gonzalez

June 18, 2010 @ 10:19 am

Glenda, this is such good advice. Spot on! We get bogged down with our grandiose plans and sometimes the size is overwhelming and freezes us in our tracks. Approaching a large project like you are doing is very smart and totally helps with managing and getting quality products out the door. This allows you to then add and build upon that base to reach your ultimate goal.
Thanks a lot for including me in this list, I’ve been a big fan of your efforts and the golden information and resources you give to the blogging community at large. Keep it up… impossible? meh! Impossible is nothing as you have clearly proven. Thank you again and reach out anytime I can help.

Comment by Mary-Lynn

June 21, 2010 @ 6:25 pm

Glenda, you are such an eloquent writer. I’d also like to thank you…because your barn raising helps raise my barn too! I think it is great when like-minded people can encourage (and push) each other to greater heights. Congrats again on launching your very valuable program.

Comment by Barbara

June 24, 2010 @ 6:10 pm

Not wanting to be picky, but in your ebook you recommended that acronyms be spelled-out the first time. I would like to know what SOBon is…:) If my oldish eyes missed it, just point me the correct direction, please.

Comment by Glenda

June 25, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

Thank you, Barbara! This is why I love blogging – my readers keep me honest and humble. You’re absolutely correct about what I said my ebook and you caught me not following my own words. SOBCon stands for Successful and Outstanding Bloggers Conference. Thank you for keeping me in check!

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