These days I'm holed up in tropical paradise and my world revolves around a small radius: home, the kid's school and the beach. It's a good life and normally I don't stray too far, but it hasn't always been this way.
As soon as I left high school in the UK I traveled to France and the USA. I have a photo of myself on top of the one of the Twin Towers in New York to prove it. As a student I regularly hitchhiked from London to Paris to see the Mona Lisa or just eat a decent croissant.
I've taken rickshaws in India, wept in badly driven buses on mountain passes in Turkey, bounced along on the back of a travel truck in Zimbabwe, been ship wrecked when a traditional dhow I was sailing in sank off Kenya and raced the busy streets of Bangkok in tuk tuks or on the back of motorcycle taxis.
I call myself as a travel fiend but these days luring me away from my home isn't so easy. When you live by some of the world's most stunning beaches in a temperate climate it's understandable that a trip to the city or even just the local shopping mall becomes a chore.
So how come I jumped at the chance to take three buses, one train, one plane and two taxis to meet a bald, bespectacled man in a cold city? Especially given that I already have a perfectly lovely man at home anyway.
In case you don't recognise the man in the picture above my latest trip was to see, hear and even feel Darren Rowse aka Problogger. Darren's a legend and role model for me and a hundreds of thousands of other bloggers. If you want to know the secret of his popularity I'd break it down into 10 tips which I'm basing on his modus operandi.
10 Blogging Lessons I've Learnt from Darren Rowse
- Know your stuff.
- Help people.
- Avoid hype.
- Be yourself.
- Stay humble.
- Rise above negativity.
- Watch your statistics.
- Listen to your audience.
- Try new things.
- Love your readers.
The Problogger Conference
Recently Darren hosted a blogging conference in Melbourne which was very exciting for me and the other 150 bloggers lucky bloggers who got to hang out with him for the day. Some bloggers were so excited they went into a frenzy of tweeting, blogging and videoing all through the conference.
I'm old school though and was happy to just sit there, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the hubbub 150 bloggers make when they get together, make notes on paper and have a quiet giggle about the Problogger's matching outfits. Then rush up to them and get my photo taken with them afterwards.
Darren has lots of clever blogging friends so it wasn't just Problogger we got to hear speak. We also heard words of blogging wisdom from:
- Chris Garrett – Canadian font of online marketing knowledge with a Yorkshire accent.
- Yaro Starak – Australian font of online money-making knowledge with a Canadian accent.
- Collis Ta’eed – Speed talking netsetter who's not afraid to mention that he frequently hangs out at “sausage fests”, even in front of his lovely wife Cyan.
- Pip Lincolne – Groovy chick with no discernible accent, fabulous taste in everything and some highly crafty ways.
- Shayne Tilley – Man of mystery from the super successful Sitepoint.
Chris Garrett's a lovely man and we both overcame our shyness to snuggle up for a photo. Please note how shiny and happy I look in all these photos, meanwhile the Probloggers aren't looking so keen.
Chris didn't join us for drinks in the bar afterwards, probably because meeting 150 bloggers in one day was all too much excitement for him. Looking at this photo I can see why. He couldn't even have a quiet cup of tea without being pestered by people.
Darren and Chris for letting me have my pic taken with you.
Yaro for hearing me out with my tips on your hair dos and wheels.
Pip for having a quick chin wag as we dunked our tea bags.
Sally at Snappy Sentences for letting a near stranger have a sleepover at her place so I could get to the conference.
One Top Tip For Bloggers and Entrepreneurs
If I could only share one tip with you from the conference it would be this:
Go to a blogging conference to meet some other like-minded bloggers and be inspired by the pros. Networking is one of the keys to blogging success and a Problogger conference is a great way to do it. The 1,846 mile round trip was worth it but it's good to be home.
If you can't get to a Problogger conference at least check out the website for some top blogging tips including these motivating guest posts written by me:
- Getting Over the Blogger’s 6 Month Itch
- 4 Classic Mistakes I Made In My First Year of Blogging and How I Got 1000 Subscribers Anyway
- 7 Signs of an A-List Blogger in the Making
Missed the Conference? Buy the Book
Hopefully I didn't scare Darren and the other bloggers too much and there will be other conferences. But in the meantime I recommend Darren and Chris's book 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. I read it ages ago and am probably due for a reread. That's part of the joy and frustration of blogging – there's always something more to be done. I came away from the conference with an endless list of things to be done but more determined than ever to do them.
If you haven't read 31 Days to Build a Better Blog already you should – you can download it instantly now and at only $19.95 it seems like a no-brainer to me. Click here for more details.
By the way, this is an affiliate link. Yes, Darren and Chris will be proud of me, I can almost hear them applauding me now.
Who or what inspires you to keep striking out for what you want?
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Good luck with all your plans! Annabel