I’ve been to conferences many times over the years, usually for work. Occasionally I’ve even spoken at them. Normally I HAVE to write a summary of the key pointsnot share with the team. This time it’s different. I chose to go, I had such a great time and learned so much, that I WANT to share it with you. And I’m not alone. As Bec from ‘Seeing the Lighter Side’ said ‘the great thing about hundreds of bloggers getting together is they all write about it …and they share it’. So this is my take on PBEvent 2016 – there are many more you can access from the link below.
I spent last Thursday to Sunday in Queensland, and I didn’t even see the beach. Normally this would make me sad because I love being at the beach. Missing out didn’t make me sad this time though – because I had something even better to do*. I went along to my first conference all on blogging – PBEvent 2016, along with around 500 others in the blogging space.
It was a very new experience for me for a number of reasons:
- I’ve set up my blog about two years ago, but I still feel new to it. Maybe because I squeeze it around work, family and the rest of life, and maybe because I haven’t been clear about my reason for blogging. These past two years have been good though, because I’ve been able to feel my way. I’ve been working out what I want to write about. I’ve been getting my head around the complementary actions that I could or should do to support my blog. I’ve even (briefly) contemplated how this blog (or a newer one) could form the basis for other projects and potentially business ideas. I was ready to take the next step and move from wondering to making some decisions about the next step. The time was right.
- I didn’t really know anyone in person (except the lovely Danielle from Eat my Street – and even then, I’d only met her in person a couple of times). It was such a different experience to other conferences where I’m surrounded by a range of colleagues from past and current jobs, or whom I’ve worked with. So the not knowing people part was a bit nerve wracking.
But the main reason it was a new experience was that it was quite different to any conference I’d been to and more valuable as a result. How was it different? Here’s a few reasons why.
The value of preparation
We had homework to do. Yes, we did. And if I’m set homework, I do homework. (I’m obedient that way). And it was helpful: it set my mental framework for the conference and what would follow.
The straightforward process of spending some time clearly articulating what I was aiming for with my blog, and what actions would help to get me was something I knew I needed to do for a while. And it was hard – because I’ve struggled and wrestled with this question before.
Having a time frame helped me to keep going. And it gave me greater clarity for my time away, which helped both with nerves and with deciding which of the many sessions I wanted to attend. It gave me a lot more purpose – which was great.
Scanning for positives
I find big events scary. And yes, even with Jason by my side at all times, I still felt quite nervous heading up there. But Jason didn’t even need to make an appearance – I (generally) had it in hand on my own. Many people might not have known he was there with me.
That’s because, on the advice of someone I’d shared my feelings of nervousness with prior to the event, I flipped my normal approach to anxiety – scanning for danger – to scanning for positives.
Over time, maybe the scanning will lessen (mindfulness and some other techniques might work which will be great − it’s tiring being on alert). But in the meantime, this positive scanning worked well. And there were a lot of positives.
The people you meet
Pre-conference link ups were a great way to ease into the conference – a very positive initiative of the organisers.
More importantly, with my positive mindset in place, I offered to share my room with another blogger looking for somewhere to stay. This is very unlike me, but I hoped someone would do the same for me, if needed. This turned out to be one of the best things I did.
As a result, I met the ever enthusiastic Jess Peachy, from Peachy Keen Mumma, and was absorbed into her group of blogging buddies. Between Dani, this wonderful group of women, and the others I met online prior, I felt very much at home.
Dani (Eat my Street) and Simone (Basil and Chook)
Last night drinks – Melissa (Hugzilla), Karin (Calm to Conniption), Rachel (Tween2Teen), Jess, Rebecca, Natasha (Gift Grapevine), Emily (Em Hawker), me and Rachel (Parenting Central)
After reading her blog A Life Less Frantic for so long (now morphing into a new format), listening to her podcasts, and reading both books, so lovely to meet Kelly Exeter in person.
Being open to ideas and possibilities
Opening speech from Darren Rowse, who heads up Problogger
There were heaps of new ideas presented. Sometimes I find this daunting – and I do still have a lot to digest. However, the structure of the event, which kept bring us back to thinking about one main thing helped overcome the overwhelm.
There were lots of lessons and ideas – I’m going to write up a more detailed post to follow – but a few overarching themes kept coming up:
- Know your purpose – your ‘why’ – will help keep you focused.
- Planning ahead can make so much difference – and many different approaches were shown, so I can work out what will work for me.
- Don’t wait for everything to be perfect – start, keep going and refining along the way. But nothing will be perfect at the start – and maybe not ever. And that’s ok.
- We’re all learning and progressing – we’re here to communicate – and that’s an ongoing process.
Plus the idea of looking at things differently – I’ve got a whole new understanding of how I’m going to approach this blog and I’m really excited, and it’s come about just from flipping my thinking.
Wherever you are, there you are – and you can move on from there
There were long term bloggers, there were bloggers who lived comfortably off the proceeds of their work and affiliated businesses, there were bloggers who didn’t really blog much any more, there were some who supplemented their incomes with their work, and there were some like me, finding their way (or yet to start).
Everyone was at a different stage and that was ok. We’ve all got things to learn from each other (and that was very much the vibe of the conference – including the vibe from the speakers).
The value of leaving with a plan
As with the start of the conference, we we’re also encouraged to leave with an action plan. And that’s meant I’ve left with a process to put in place, which I’m really excited to implement.
The food / the accommodation / the relaxation / the sunshine *
The view from our room – not bad. Not bad at all …
Although this aspect isn’t as rare to me – I have experienced it at conferences before – it’s something I never tire of.
I love, love, love having room service, no meals to prepare (even though Al does the bulk of it), no cleaning up, no picking up after everyone and no thinking of what to do next / keeping track of what to remember to do – it’s all laid out and planned for us.
And the food – well, sensational. Who could resist these desserts?? Certainly not me! If I was a food blogger (or good at taking photos), I’d show you, but you’ll have to look on other sites for this. And there will be many photos. The RACV Royal Pines Resort certainly laid it on very well for us!
As a result, the event was relaxing and invigorating, rather than intimidating. Plus, I got to share these experiences with so many friendly, lovely people (yes, I’m gushing but really, I had that good a time).
And I’m all fired up for the year ahead. What more can you ask from a conference?
Have you written about ProBlogger Event 2016, or want to find out more? Share your post on one of the link up sites below:
This ProBlogger Event 2016 link up is co-hosted by three event attendees, Karin from Calm to Conniption, Rachel from Toilets Aren’t For Turtles and Rebecca from Seeing The Lighter Side. By linking up on one of those sites, you will be seen across all three blogs.
Also, check out what others are saying too.
*And it rained in Queensland. And we’ve booked a holiday for later this year. But even still, I didn’t miss the beach. Or the pool. I really didn’t. (*Puts bathers away for later this year*)