I am an introvert. I’m super-cool with this fact, and am grateful that I have been able to design my work life in a way that reflects my penchant for peace, quiet, and the wearing of pyjama pants.
It’s not that I’m shy, or a complete social misfit – I like talking to people and hanging with my friends. It’s just that I’m never gonna be the life of the party, and I’m always gonna wanna leave early.
So you can probably imagine the slight sense of discomfort I felt at the prospect of spending a whole weekend meetin’ and greetin’ peeps I don’t know in the name of networking and making industry friends. Yep, it was the Problogger event – where the best and brightest from around the blogosphere gathered for a weekend of lectures, lessons and ‘in real life’ meet-ups.
It was my first time going to the event (hence the aforementioned social discomfort) and WOW did I learn a lot. And not just about blogging and business and cracking the big-time.
As well as all the cool ‘theory’ stuff I learned, I also learned a lot about myself (isn’t that always the way with these types of conferences?!). So I thought I would round up everything into one list – the professional AND the personal stuff I learnt from my first Problogger event. Ready? Here we go!
1. Aligning your online persona with your offline (i.e. ‘real) personality can be tricky. What’s the biggest compliment you can pay a blogger? You’re exactly the same in real life as you are on your blog. Authenticity and alignment are big for us heart-fuelled biz ladies – not just because that’s what draws in readers and tribe-members, but because that’s truly how most of us want to show up in our work every single day.
During the event, I met heaps of people in the flesh whom I had previously only known through emails or blog posts. Every time I met someone who seemed genuine and just like how I’d expected, it was a breath of fresh air (of relief, even). It’s a real skill to be able to infuse your personality into your words and your website, so that the special something that makes you unique translates for the world to see.
As for my own ‘persona’, a few people told me I was funnier and more playful in real life than I am online. Truth be told, for a second or two, it stung a little (But I am funny and playful online! I write articles about Frozen and going bra-less and I post Hot Man photos every Friday, come on!). But I decided to look at the lesson behind the words. Perhaps sometimes I might come across in my work-life as a totes professional, guarded type of person. I am a professional, of course, but I’m also pretty chilled and ‘normal’. And I like peeling back the curtains as much as the next blogger – I goof around all the time, I swear like a trooper, I shop like a demon, I’m currently obsessed with Orange is the New Black, and just last week, I got so insanely clucky over a newborn baby that I wanted to run away with it (that smell!). So yep – maybe it’s okay to infuse some more of that ‘me-ness’ into my blog. Alignment and authenticity all the way, baby.
2. Our online heroes are just real people. Ummm, there were a lot of raving fan-girls at the event. Not my fans (in case that wasn’t clear but fans of well-known bloggers (Bloglebrities? Celebloggers? Might need to work on this catchphrase further!). Picture this: loads of giddy grown women dying to chat with their online hero, and hopefully score a few selfies in the process. In a nutshell, there was no small amount of hero-worshipping going on, and frankly… it was a liiiiitle uncomfortable. Both to watch, and for the peeps in the proverbial spotlight.
The thing is, Big-time Bloggers are just people. Yep, just like you and me. No matter how ‘famous’ they are, they still put their pants on every morning like the rest of us (well at least, I hope they do). The lesson? Say hello like a normal person. Ditch the gushing in favour of genuine conversation. And don’t expect to jump straight in as their newfound bestie (even if you have read every single one of their blog posts).
3. Public speaking is a true art form. Everyone who spoke at the event was so brave and had great stuff to share… But within this group of industry leaders, there was a whole other league of speakers. I’m talking about the peeps who totally sucked you in – personal stories, family photos, behind the curtains revelations. These were the ones who made you laugh, made you think and touched your soul. Sometimes all within the space of a minute. These speakers were like artists – weaving their magic, shining their light, and taking us all along for the journey. Truly amazing.
4. Bloggers like to part-ay. Most bloggers spend their days alone – trapped behind a screen, tapping away at their computer, with no one to talk to but the dog. So, when they do meet up in person – and when you throw in some free drinks and tasty canapés – they go kinda cray-cray. Think: prancing pirates, giggling sailors, a few merry mermaids… and plenty of sea-men jokes. (Oh, did I mention it was a nautical theme party yet? Yep. Us bloggers be crazy.)
5. There are lots of ways to make money. In case running your own online business wasn’t overwhelming enough, there are now loads of new ways to make money from your website! Think podcasts, courses, ebooks, videos, webinars, memberships… the list goes on! As biz owners, it’s important to keep up to date with what’s going on ‘out there’ to make sure we’re staying abreast of the market and leveraging our platform effectively. Which is why I’m hittin’ up the Amazon store and loading my kindle with all kinds of biz books. Total #BlogNerd (and proud of it).
So that’s a smidgen of what I learned at Problogger on both the personal and professional fronts. Now it’s over to you, lovely: what’s been your favourite industry event? And what’s something you’ve learned about yourself while attending one?