Monday, September 1, 2014

ProBlogger 2014 - You Were Awesome!

IMAGE : THE MOTHER LOAD  | ProBlogger 2014 - You Were Awesome

This past weekend, I attended ProBlogger - Australia's largest blogger conference on the Gold Coast. What a fantastic community of passionate, talented and dedicated people I am lucky enough to be part of.  I'm so pleased I forced myself to attend even though the idea of staying home and remaining curled up under a blanket of bloggy anonymity appealed to me so much more than getting in the taxi to the airport. Now on the other side of the experience, I'm happy to report that I'm changed! ProBlogger has changed me! Not in an "I've found God" kinda way or even in an "I'm going to give up sugar" kinda way but in an "I know where I want to go on my blogging journey" kinda way! Zing! (Yep - waaay too many exclamation marks here I know, but there's no other way to provide you with the full version of my excitement and post-conference energy so bear with me, OK?).

I have new motivations, new goals and most of all a heightened sense of sheer appreciation for the people who are my readers. That being said, I still can't quite believe I have a group of people I can call "my readers" but nonetheless, I'm overflowing with gushy gratitude towards all of you.  In a sense, you were with me on the ProBlogger conference quietly reminding me of your importance and relevance to my goals. So again, thanks (and sorry I ate all the free food without sharing it with you).

Once at the fabulous QT Hotel and despite my overwhelming desire to park my ghostly white Melbourne arse on the bed in the hotel room, eat room service and watch cable TV,  I managed to get along to every event, seminar and workshop that was physically possible. I lived momentarily outside my cotton-woolly comfort zone and it was pretty exhilarating. I had this invisible version of myself standing behind me throughout the duration of the event violently pushing me into groups of people I didn't know and thankfully the pushing of myself got less necessary as time progressed.

Although bloggers would have got the most out of the event, a lot of what I learned was relevant in life generally so stay with me even if you're not a blogger.  Here are some things I learned from the ProBlogger conference which I think are worth sharing:

1. My reader community is my most important asset. I definitely knew this before but I had it reaffirmed to me over and over at ProBlogger. The readers are the reason I write and the reason I want to improve and take my blogging journey further. Thanks to Nikki Parkinson from Styling You who helped reaffirm this point and despite all of her great success she still values her community above anything else. 

2. Set goals and break them down into smaller goals so they're easier to achieve. Matthew Michalewicz is an entrepreneur and a speaker and has given keynote speeches for organisations on topics of personal motivation, success and entrepreneurship. His presentation was not specifically about blogging but I learned so much about success and how to give yourself the best chance at achieving it. I learned that someone who is able to list and work towards their goals will earn roughly nine times more over their lifetime than someone who doesn't have a clear plan. Wow - just wow. Although my goals are not about money, I still find that fact astounding and I'm more motivated than ever to set them, work for them and hopefully reach them.  Matthew also taught me that when you set goals, you will have the greatest chance of reaching them if you "unpack" them first. Unpacking your goals is about breaking them down into smaller goals to achieve along the way. How cool and obvious is that? Surely great things are so much easier to achieve if you see yourself succeeding at smaller pieces of that goal along the way? Way cool. Read more from Matthew here.

3. Follow your instinct - it's your most powerful tool. I have always been a big fan of listening to and following my instinct and I realised that perhaps when it comes to considering the future of my blogging journey, I haven't been paying much attention to my 'gut feeling' lately. Lucy from The Design Files still has full control of her hugely successful blog largely because she firmly relies upon intuition and has a strong desire to maintain the integrity of her brand when making business decisions. That's me too (despite my distinct lack of 'brand'!) and now I know that there's no right or wrong way to progress, only the way that works for you instinctively. I guess that's also true in the decisions we face in everyday life when I really think about it so it was good to hear it from someone I really admire.

4. Get on board Google+.  I learned that Google+ is still a big part of our online social future as bloggers. I dismissed it a long time ago and now I feel ready to tame the wild beast once more, thanks to Rand Fishkin the "wizard" of Moz, a software service company based in the U.S.A. that sells inbound marketing and hosts the web's most vibrant community of online marketers. Rand was a fantastically vibrant speaker and an all round nice guy. Follow him on Twitter here if the internet and marketing is your thing.

I gained so many more snippets of wisdom during the conference but the common theme was resoundingly about how much bloggers appreciate the community they create and how hard we need to commit to maintain and expand it. Rather than spell out further gems here, I intend to just put it all into practice. I am setting my goals for The Mother Load carefully and enthusiastically in the coming weeks - stay with me if you can because I'm likely to fold like a deck of cards if this virtual room is suddenly empty.

ProBlogger 2014 - you were awesome! Special thanks to Darren Rowse and his team who made the event as great as it was.

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