I don’t know if I ever told you this, but I have a fear of crowded rooms full of people. I probably didn’t, because it didn’t start until sometime after I started working from home by myself and I got used to being a party of 1. So I headed to Problogger thinking that it would all be fine and dandy.
Well, I walked into a room with 300 other bloggers all chatting away, and it was ok at first. I had some great company from a few bloggers I knew, but my extreme shyness was making me a little nervous and I was really looking forward to listening to the morning speakers. Listening I can do. Mingling, and networking is more on the overwhelming side.
I loved the opening keynote from Darren, I felt like I was in the right place and that this was a good decision to be brave and buy that ticket. I had the feeling that this was the beginning of an awesome two days and that I would learn a lot. I promised myself that I would do the 15 minutes a day to work on my blogging business Darren asked us all to do and I was pumped for the next session.
I went to a session on Monetisation with Products and Services with Shayne Tilley. I didn’t know anything about Shayne before hearing him speak, but in that hour I went from feeling disheartened with eBooks and digital products to believing and understanding how they can work for a business. If you ever get the opportunity to hear this guy speak, I highly recommend it. It’s not all that often that you get a speaker that can speak to a room full of people and hold their attention. Because of the morning session I decided to hear his second session in the afternoon.
Morning tea went ok, but I was starting to feel more overwhelmed. I introduced myself to a few more people and it was awkward as these things can be. I did meet some lovely and awesome people too.
The next two sessions were on creating ebooks, I had planned to go to the other options, but thought these could be really interesting. The first session was great. I really enjoyed hearing about creating the content for an ebook from Misho who had created one for Digital Photography school. The second session wasn’t what I thought it would be, the title said it was on document creation for ebooks, and I had thought that I could get an idea on doing them myself. On layouts and formats and how best to work with design programs. It was more about how to engage a designer and what questions you need to be able to answer to get the most for your outcome. Which is useful, but not what I thought it would be.
Then it was lunch time and to put it mildly, I freaked out. It was loud, the tables were crowded and I couldn’t see anyone I knew and I just turned and walked as fast as I could to the lifts and out into the fresh air. Man was it freezing outside, but that cold air on my face and the chance to stand by myself and breathe (and check my twitter feed) was just what I needed. I watched the construction workers play footy outside the stadium for a bit and when I felt brave enough I went back and chatted to some of the sponsors at their table. The lady from Blurb was awesome to talk to and I loved the sample kit of different cardstock they use in their books.
The afternoon sessions were good. I really enjoyed the session on Marketing with Shayne Tilley, and the Membership Areas session was interesting. I think I probably should have gone to the Photography session, as I realised part way though that membership areas are probably not for me. They said you could switch at any time during the sessions but I didn’t want to be rude. I’m looking forward to hearing the recording of the photography session through the virtual pass.
The afternoon keynote from Chris Guillebeau, one of my favourite authors, was fantastic. I really enjoyed not only how he spoke but how he engaged the people in the room who didn’t know his background or had read his books. After talking about his success and what he is trying to achieve, he also did a ‘problogger confessional’ where he shared some of the things he felt he could be doing better. It’s great to hear that everyone has things they can do better, even when you’ve got a successful business and blog.
I nearly talked myself out of going to the evening party but after words of reassurance from Claire, Elle, Jess and a teary phone call home (my family always know how to ground me) I decided to go, and you know what? It was ace!
I went in grabbed a soft drink and found a couch to sit on (to wait for home time – I won’t lie) and Chris Guillebeau saw me sitting on my own and came to chat. It’s not every day that one of your favourite authors introduces themselves and asks you about what you’re doing. It was odd, but then I also got to meet Chantelle from FatMumSlim and got to see Zoey from Good Googs. It was a really good night, capped off with a turn in the Smilebooth which was hilarious and so much fun.
So that was day one. Because this post is so long (whoops), I’ll save day two for another post coming up tomorrow. I promise it has a happy ending.