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Productivity / Professional development

Why I’m going to ProBlogger

ProBlogger is Australia's largest conference for soloists who do business online, or want to expand their influence through online means. It's also one of Sam Leader's favourites. Here's why.

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On 9 September I will be descending on the Gold Coast to join hundreds of fellow online types for my third ProBlogger conference. Here are a few of my favourite things about the Problogger event.

The chance to get ‘out there’

I adore the ease and comfort of social networking, and working from home. You can choose your hours, words, and who you want to commune with. You also have plenty of time to augment the imagery you want to share. What’s not to love? But sometimes it’s healthy to blow the dust off this comfortable existence and get out there to meet people IRL.

ProBlogger gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that. The event is now in its seventh year, and brings hundreds of Aussie bloggers and online types together for two days. There is A LOT of talking, a hubbub like no other. Like any conference, it can be a shade intimidating at first, but I find the overall vibe so upbeat, it doesn’t take long to make friends and feel at ease.

The networking element

Because it’s a relatively big event, and the Aussie online world relatively small, there is a good chance you will see, or meet, people you know. If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll put more faces to names than Guess Who? Last year, for instance, I met Ellen Jackson in real life; we’d first connected ten years ago when I was Flying Solo’s editor and she was one of our writers. I was able to introduce her to our current Editor, Kelly, and now she is writing for us again.

With so many Aussie bloggers and online superstars circulating you can be assured of a few “I’m a big fan” opportunities, too.

The learning element

In spite of the event’s name, the sessions are less about blogging and more about running successful online businesses. This includes advice for expanding your influence and profile using online means.

I’ve been a director of Flying Solo for over a decade now (an eon in tech years) and having been around the block a few times, I find the smaller, more niche expert sessions the most useful to attend. Those who are newer to the game will find plenty to absorb from the larger sessions – the plenary keynotes, in particular, tend to be more inspiring than technical.

Whether you’re a veteran or a newbie, you’ll be exposed to a hearty mix of inspiring, educational and thought-provoking learnings. This old dog tends to come away with a key takeout or two.

The social element

As with any good conference, the really interesting stuff is what happens during the breakouts. New connections, reconnections and opportunities to make friends abound, all supported by organisers who work hard to amp up the social angle. The Friday networking event, in particular, is a great chance to let your hair down. Bear in mind the typical attendee is, like me, a woman with young children who doesn’t get out much: we don’t need to be told twice to get stuck into bubbles and canapes.

Last year sliders, massive prawns and mini tacos were on offer at the poolside gathering, and I’m sure they saved me from a giant hangover.

ProBlogger is always, and I mean always exceptionally well catered for. Morning tea. Lunch. Afternoon tea. So. Much. Food. And it is good! I eat as if I’m on holiday and recommend fasting beforehand and bringing clothes which give at the waist. I always think I’m going to bring restraint, but somehow end up leaving that at home.

Nights off

I love my family. I do. But I also love lying like a starfish in the middle of a queen sized bed and sleeping the whole night through.

It’s a mini break.

It’s educational.

It’s tax deductible. What more could you want?

Little wonder, then, that I’ll be back for my third helping of ProBlogger goodness this September. Kelly will be there as well – not just as an attendee but as a speaker too! I highly recommend coming along and if you do, be sure to say hi. I’m the one adjusting my belt by the food.

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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