7 Pivotal Moments That Led To The Creation Of Nesting Story

In celebrating Nesting Story’s new website and the addition of it’s contributors, I wanted to share the 7 most pivotal moments that got Nesting Story to where it is today. It’s had some unexpected twists, very exciting turns, and I wouldn’t change a thing…

#7: Feeling like I needed to create something that was mine.

I think entrepreneurs are cut from a certain cloth. We are idea people, who no matter how many times say we are going to take a step back, end up waking up the next morning with five new ideas. It’s in us, the urge to create something from nothing.

I’ve always had this sense, but it became impossible to ignore once I had my first two babies. So, I began dabbling in creative outlets, hoping that one day it would turn into a full-fledged business. I had Etsy shops where I created and sold hand made headbands and mobiles. I created a baby concierge service, which never quite made it past the planning stages, and eventually landed on an Interior Design and mural painting business, with a focus on children’s spaces. So in 2013, Nesting Story was officially born.

busy mom

This little business began to thrive, and it felt great putting my Interior Design and fine arts skillset to use. But it came to a halt when I had the surprise of a lifetime… twins! I was pregnant with twins, and had terrible pregnancy sickness to accompany it. My days of climbing a ladder to paint were officially on pause…

mural

#6: Craving connection during an isolating twin pregnancy.

My twin pregnancy brought me to my knees. Although our twins thrived, my body struggled through the entire process. I would black out after climbing stairs, my hips were in constant agony and I even lost my vision at the end. On top of this I had two older kids that needed me.

Many days were spent laying on the sofa, with a pillow between my knees, beds for my kids made on the ground, feeding them bowls of Cheerios while watching a movie.

pregnant with twins

It’s amazing how alone you can feel when you are surrounded by so much support. I longed for connection with other parents of multiples. I didn’t know one person with twins. So family members began connecting me via email with twin parents they knew. I was shocked by the negative emails I was receiving from them, with the over-arching tone being “your life is over.”

I wouldn’t accept it. I began scouring the Internet for twin-mom bloggers, who hadn’t lost their identity, but came up short. It was this longing, as well as some encouragement from friends to switch Nesting Story over to a parenting blog…

#5: Sharing my twin pregnancy story and finding my tribe.

When the dust settled, and my twins were around six months old, I began to blog. I shared everything, from what it’s really like to be pregnant with twins, to the depression I experienced during my twin pregnancy.

It was during my twin pregnancy and birth series that I started to gain some traction. With the help of my twin mom Facebook group, we got the posts out into the world and more and more mothers began to resonate with it.

twin mom

I found my voice with writing and shared every gritty detail, but always ended on an inspiring or solution-based note. The last thing I wanted to do was scare other moms like the emails that were sent to me had done. Besides, although I was in the trenches, I was able to find my voice and was slowly rehabilitating my (new) body…

#4: Hitting a viral nerve.

Going viral is not a natural or normal human experience. Anyone who has experienced going viral can probably agree that it is a bit of an out-of-body journey with a roller coaster of emotions that follow. Although it can bring some incredible opportunities, it can also throw your life off course. Here is my story.

In 2015 I had been pretty pumped about the fact that I was finally falling into a rhythm with my early morning workout routine and could actually see my body coming back after having my four kids, (including twins). I knew that my body would forever be changed. I had a few followers expecting twins that I wanted to share my body after baby story with.

So, after a finishing dinner with a big glass of wine I sat down and began to write. I laughed with my husband that I probably shouldn’t be blogging because I was a little buzzed. I cranked my music and began. It poured out of me. I enjoyed going through my pregnancy photos and finally felt balzy enough to throw in those postpartum photos I once felt so ashamed about. After only an hour and a half, (record time), I finished and went to bed, waiting for the morning to hit publish. 

Over the next day I could see the post was resonating with everyone, not just moms expecting twins. My website traffic was slowly climbing and the comments were pouring in. “Cool,” I thought to myself, “my post had legs.” Over the weekend I watched the numbers climb. I mentioned to some family that one of my posts was going viral, “oh that’s nice,” they replied, not knowing what was about to happen.

Within days, Nesting Story reached just under two-million page views. The crazy viral numbers started to level out and slowly decline. Then came the press. For the next couple weeks I averaged four interviews a day, (on the phone and reporters in our home). I was featured on media outlets like People magazine and Fit Pregnancy. It felt like a dream.

viral

As the buzz tapered, so did my energy. I had to find my footing again and figure out what was next. I hadn’t even monetized my blog yet…

#3: How do I turn this into a business?

I sometimes look back at when I went viral and think, “that woman had no idea what she was doing.” Okay, in terms of storytelling, the old me knew what I was doing. In fact, I am kind of jealous of the filter-free Joanna. I’ve definitely found time, growth and my kids getting older have made me more filtered. But what I meant was, I had no idea how to turn a blog into a business. Here I was on the heels of a media storm, basically holding a golden ticket and I had not idea how to cash it in.

I began calling PR agencies and after some negative encounters, (and what felt like Pretty Woman moments, “big mistake, huge!”), I decided to go to a blogger conference. So I snagged a ticket, and booked a flight to Scottsdale Arizona and attended my first Mom 2.0 Summit, a conference for bloggers.

Finally being plugging into a blogging community was everything. I no longer felt like a lone wolf. I created friendships and learned faster than I could take notes. Then on one fateful day, after a lovely lunch conversation with a fellow blogger, she said “I’d like to introduce you to someone. This is Baby Center.” My jaw dropped, I felt like I was in the presence of blogger royalty.

This chance encounter with the Baby Center team was a huge moment on my journey. They ended up adding me as a contributor, and through them I was able to get my first paid gig and learn how to work with brands.

baby center

Brand partnerships soon followed on Nesting Story and I was able to start making an income. My dream of creating my own company from scratch was coming true. I continued to share my story on my blog, but I began to feel like writing and photos was limiting some of the stories I wanted to tell…

#2: I guess I’m also a video creator.

I could have continued telling my story on my blog, but some needed extra explanation and visuals. I really wanted to give my twin mom audience a nursery tour and show them how I fed my babies, without help during the night, from day one. “Could I film it?” I wondered. I decided to give video and YouTube a try. I had already slapped a few videos up on YouTube, what’s one more? Besides, I could embed it in a blog post so that it can actually be viewed.

So, I invited a friend over and asked her to film me in my twins’ nursery with my phone. After a couple failed attempts with cranky babies, I swapped my twins out for dolls and I was off to the races. That video now has almost 100,000 views.

I enjoyed creating that video so much, I thought I’d try sharing a “day in the life.” I was able to capture my day on my phone and edit it together. Success!

I dabbled with video here and there over the next year, and slowly I gained 5,000 subscribers. I would do this thing where I’d film myself casually, talking to the camera, and then show my day. It wasn’t until that year’s Mom 2.0 Summit that I was told by someone that I was really good at vlogging. “What was vlogging?” I thought. I had so much to learn, and apparently some YouTube to watch.

I was soon after introduced to Kin Community Canada, being told that it would be a great fit for me. After some adjustments to my videos and my channel, they signed me. I didn’t realize that Kin would not only become a huge stepping stone for my career, but would also feel like family. It was also through Kin where I met my “work wife” AmandaMuse. Together we have created videos, a business, and spoken at events.

Over the next few years Nesting Story transformed, and grew with me. I began to share more about me, and a little less about my kids. I began to share more lifestyle, home, DIY projects and wellness content which all made my heart sing. But something was nagging me. I didn’t want to abandon the twin community that meant so much to me. I wanted to pay it forward and help other new bloggers the way Baby Center helped me. And I didn’t want my blog to fade into the background, being overshadowed by video…

#1: It’s come full circle.

By late 2018 I began saying something out loud to a few of my closest people, “I want to add contributors to my blog.”

“You’ve wanted to do that for years.” They’d say.

I had. I had been saying it for years. I had held back out of fear. Fear because I didn’t know if anyone would want to write for Nesting Story, fear because I didn’t know how it would all work. But it was time. I also had an incredible team by this point who I knew would help make it happen.

So we put out a call, and boy did you deliver! We had a huge response. I was so excited to pick our final contributors and I am even more excited to share their stories. So, who are Nesting Story’s contributors? Some are twin moms, some are new moms, one isn’t a mom but is a master of minimalism. One specializes in makeup, while another one specializes in Interior Design. But the common thread is each of them speak from an honest and inspirational place which I am sure is going to resonate with all of you. I’m sure as our contributors own platforms grow, they will move on and we will be ready to add the next wave of writers.

I see this point of Nesting Story as a full circle moment. I am able to continue telling my story and do what I love, but I am also excited to share the spotlight with new writers and budding bloggers. I am exciting to work behind the scenes on some other projects including ebooks, an ecourse, a shop and lots more.

I don’t know entirely what’s down the road for Nesting Story, and after some of my surprising twists and turns I’ve stopped trying to predict the future. Right now I am going to celebrate this new launch and just breathe it all in.

Join Nesting Story on this exciting journey on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube!

How To Pack For A Conference & Free Packing Checklist

I am about to head to my tenth conference, and this week I am heading to my fifth Mom 2.0 Summit conference.

Over the years I’ve really been able to turn packing for a conference into a craft and have picked up many tips along the way. I’ve also learned hard lessons from real life situations, like forgetting all of my makeup once, so now I rely heavily on a checklist. Which you can download here:

On my last trip I was told to check my carry-on at the gate because there was no room and the airline lost it! No more carry on case for me.

I filmed me packing for my trip to Austin, Texas and have added lots of packing tips, including what to bring to a conference. Enjoy!

Did I lose my identity again?

Did I lose my identity again?

This past spring I fell into a depression. I had been trucking along and a couple small events completely derailed me. I won’t get into too much detail about those specific events, but it gave me a glimpse into the future, a road I was heading down. This was a huge wakeup call which has lead to some positive changes in my life.

First, I want to mention, and remind myself that personal growth is a lifelong journey. I will never be done. Actually, I feel like that is what a lot of my thirties have been about.

Growing.

This depression was hinged on the fact that I suddenly felt like my whole identity was tied up in my job, or more specifically, the industry I’m in and social media. My self worth was much too tied up in the noise that can surround telling my story through Nesting Story and it had to stop.

blogger

I slowed down, switched my focus to my family, work that was on my plate and babied myself for a few weeks.

Just as I began to pull myself out of the fog at the beginning of summer, our whole house got sick. So I rode it out. But I promised myself that I would slow down enough to enjoy summer, enjoy my family and create content for Nesting Story that I was really passionate about.

Yesterday I was one of four women who recorded a podcast together. Myself, along with three close friends in the industry discussed friendship. This almost two-hour raw and honest conversation forced me to not only self-reflect, but receive feedback from my dear friends. This feedback was surprisingly positive.

Isn’t it sad that I was surprised that they thought I was a good friend?

Since yesterday it has dawned on me, I, once again, despite promising myself I would never do this again, had lost my identity.

Nesting Story was born from a place of loneliness, isolation and a promise to myself that I would never lose my identity again. Something which I did during my first three weeks of motherhood.

creating a blog

I worked hard to not lose my identity when my twins were born, and I kept it in tact. But in the past couple years as Nesting Story has grown, I feel like I have lost my way.

Back when I switched Nesting Story over to a personal blog, and I sat at my small desk in the corner of my living room, poured my heart out in the evening to the handful of readers that I had, and buzz words like monetization, strategy, engagement, etc… never entered my mind.

corner desk

I just told my story.

A lot has changed since those days. My kids are older and my last two are beginning school. My little corner desk has turned into a large office space. Nesting Story has gained a lot of media attention. I have a team of three amazing women (and moms who I couldn’t live without) who work behind the scenes at Nesting Story. And Nesting Story has become a full-time career, providing an additional household income, taking a lot of weight off of Mike’s shoulders.

But through this amazing growth in my business, I lost who I was. Yes, I had   weekly date night with Mike, and I was secure as my identity as a wife and partner. Yes, I was constantly pouring love, time and attention into my kids, which made me know who I was as a mother.

But who was I? What was I doing for me? What did I like?

Everything else was tied up into my workaholic tendencies and I needed to go on a journey of self discovery. This realization isn’t new. The writing has been on the wall for a while… just check out the theme of my blog posts during the last year.

I am happy to announce that since writing those blog posts about finding joy, slowing down, self care and happiness, I have made some changes. Here are a few:

  • I’ve begun working out… for me, not a trip or an event. Just to feel good.
  • I’ve made sure our family is vacationing more, because I’ve realized I really like travelling with my crew.
  • I love playing Marco Polo. I know, this is an odd one. But for years when we’d go swimming at my parents’ house I’d just sit and watch our kids swim. But this summer you can find me with goggles and flippers on, swimming all around the pool. It’s so fun!
  • I love running with our dog Oliver. But, I don’t like long distance running. Two kilometres, three times a week is my sweet spot.
  • I love my friends. I have reprioritized my closest friendships and have been investing in those relationships more.

vacation with twins

You get the idea. I am finding me and it is wonderful.

When it comes to work and Nesting Story, I’m still here. In fact I am hoping this new zest for life will trickle into the content I create. I am being more selective about how much time I learning and strategizing and will be sinking more time into creating. I will be delegating more to my team so I can focus on storytelling.

But here’s the big one…

I am going to write like no one’s reading.

That might sound weird, but when I went from getting feedback from a few hundred people on one platform, to tens of thousands on multiple platforms, it messed with my head and made me hold back.

Actually I think the image of me playing Marco Polo is a perfect metaphor for what I want my life to feel like. I don’t care who’s watching, despite the fact that my kids think I look like an sickly Ninja Turtle with their googles on.

So here’s to a new chapter. An imperfect, authentic chapter full of self discovery about who I am at this stage in my life.

Joanna Venditti - Nesting Story

You can find more of Nesting Story on Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook.

I am owning my time, my body and my career

mom 2.0

Each year when I jet set off to Mom 2.0 Summit, (which has been three years in a row now), I seem to walk away with some kind of epiphany.

Year one it was figuring out how to monetize my blog, and how to go from having a fun hobby, to an actual business.

Year two was learning to stop doing what I hate, and do more of what I love. Although I wasn’t going to stop writing, I made the decision to go full speed ahead with video, and I haven’t looked back.

This year was interesting. I felt this incredible peace come over me. I found myself floating from session, to pool hang, to bed, to lunch, to party to, to bed. Okay, I was fighting a cold the whole time, hence the time spent in bed. But I didn’t feel any pressure to be somewhere, or someone other than where I wanted and me… just Joanna.

I knew what I was doing and I know what my goals are. I just took my time and didn’t allow myself to get sidetracked with some new information about a social media platform I probably should be dominating, or worrying about pitching to brands.

Instead I focused on reflecting, having fun and building relationships.

One thing I realized while away is that I feel really comfortable in my skin lately. Everything I put on, I just relaxed into. I even wore a bikini without constantly feeling embarrassed that I had to cover up. I credit hitting my mid-thirties with this new found confidence, (more on this soon).

Coming home, I purposely slowed right down and it has felt so good. I have organized and cleaned my house, created a calendar, did wonderfully mundane “mom stuff” and have also tried to kick this lingering cold.

So, what are my takeaways from Mom 2.0

1. I love what I do. Seriously. I love it. I love the work, the creativity, the conversations and the people. This is so my jam.

2. I love where I am in life. There is really something magical about being in your thirties. You just feel settled. There are not many other ways to put it. I feel good in my skin and I feel good with my decisions.

3. I am in control of my time. Slowing down just a touch has been really nice. This is definitely a pace I shouldn’t and truthfully couldn’t keep up with every single week, especially as I grow my business, but something has got to give. I think it is time I hire someone to help with Nesting Story, (more on this soon too).

Regardless of what takeaways I have each year, this I know for sure; stepping out of your life, especially if you are a mom is a game changer. You are able to gain a new perspective that you can’t get at home while you are in it. Whether it’s to a conference, or just a weekend away, I highly recommend you step away, just for a moment.

Just in case you missed out on my Orlando vlogs, here they are…


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(Video) Mom 2.0 2016 – While Mom’s Away, Dad And The 4 Kids Will Play

Mom 2.0 Summit 2016

Going to blogging conferences is so important for not only me, but my whole family. It gives me an opportunity to step away from parenting and my work, and gain some much needed perspective.

I always walk away with new insights as well as new opportunities. Although I miss my kids and my husband Mike, I head back into our home refreshed and ready to dive back into the trenches.

Mike also really enjoys the one-on-one time with the kids. Although it is a lot of work, he really loves the change of pace and is so encouraging for me to go.

This was my second year attending the Mom 2.0 Summit, while my husband stayed home with our four kids. This year took place at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. There, I was inspired listening to and learning from other bloggers, vloggers, celebrities and influential women with powerful careers.

Although I was inspired the whole time and absolutely loved being with my tribe, my mind often wandered to my family, wondering what they were up to.

So Mike decided to set up a GoPro so that I could see what they were up to.

You will see in the video that Rita Wilson was one of the speakers and also surprised us by singing a song from her self titled album, which you can find on iTunes and Amazon. Also, we had a surprise guest MC the Iris awards. You will have to watch to find out who it was!

Thank you to Kia Motors America for helping us arrive in style. Also thank you to Carter’s for the generous and tasty dinner, with the breath-taking views at the beautiful Montage Hotel in Laguna Beach.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel, and follow Nesting Story on Facebook!