Last weekend I had the pleasure of returning to the QT on the Gold Coast for another ProBlogger Training Event. This was the 5th event Darren Rowse and his team has run and my second time. I was excited when I heard it was going to be at the same venue as last year in QLD. I just love the outfits the staff wear at the QT and everything there is just so colourful and happy that it makes for a good short break.
This year we were on level 3 so no high views like last year and it was a bit noisier with the new trams they have on the Gold Coast now. Upside was quicker lift rides!
We arrived on the Thursday afternoon and picked up our official ProBlogger 2014 Conference lanyard. I loved how they had stickers you could add to them this year to highlight what niche you belong to. I had to pick a couple as I was realising that I don’t like to be boxed into just one category. After picking up a fresh (and free) old fashioned lemonade from the lobby lemonade stand it was up to the room to get ready for the Annie Sloan Unfolded Networking Event on the Calypso Deck at the QT.
It was a great idea to have a few client networking sessions and I was able to try out this chalk paint in person. Chalk paint probably isn’t really the right name as you think of chalkboard paint where it is more of a paint with a chalky finish to it. Great for those distressed type furniture restorations like the demo that was done to show us how. The paint apparently doesn’t need any primer which is a bonus if you’re like me once you decide to paint something the thought of all the prep work doesn’t excite me. They called it a colourful cocktail event and the lovely Pip Lincolne from Meet Me At Mikes was there as their ambassador. There was a lovely display of the range of paint colours set out in cocktail glasses waiting for us to paint a wooden bangle or some beads. Unfortunately the brief of colourful was taken a bit too far and there was some horrible head spinning kind of disco lighting which didn’t help you to see what you were painting.
I look forward to trying some sample pots of the paint when I find the right piece. After a day of travel I was exhausted and the lighting was making me feel ill so we didn’t hang around too long so that we could get back to the room and rest for the big 2 day conference event.
In the waiting area outside the main conference room there were some other hotspots set up for you to find other people in your niche and this worked really well. With a conference of 550 bloggers from around the world it was helpful to have a way for people to find each other and connect with people who are like you.
The opening keynote was by Pat Flynn and boy was he good. I remember thinking ohh yep I can go home now, he’s told me what I need to know and helped me to find my motivation to do it. The rest of the day was filled with learning more about SEO, building an online community and web video to name a few. My favourite speakers for the day were Pat Flynn, Rand Fishkin and his wife Geraldine DeRuiter. The added bonus to the ProBlogger conference is that we get the audio recordings from all the session so if you want a refresher or wished you’d been at a different session (as there are usually 3 sessions in each of the 4 daily timeslots) you can listen to them later.
There was a bookstand selling some bloggers and bloggy books so I purchased Christina from Hair Romance’s new book and got her to autograph it for me. Looks like a great book and with 3 daughters I need to be able to “do hair”! My eldest has already picked her favourites which I’ll have to try and the book has quite clear illustrations and instruction on how to do them so I’m sure my daughters can learn too.
Using some of this fabulous hair inspiration I decided to do a messy braidy side bun up-do (well that’s what I’m naming it anyway!) to attend the ‘Ahoy’ themed Friday night party. Last year it was a tropicana theme and I crocheted a hibiscus flower for my hair (and I remember Christina’s amazing pineapple hairdo that night). This year with limited time before the conference I just went with this Angry Octopus cardigan I found on eBay.
There wasn’t as much entertainment as last year (fire breathers, stilt walkers and Sponge Bob!) although there was a themed photo booth for some fun. This is a picture of a few of my crafty blogging friends that I’ve met through different blogging events over the years. From left to right we have – Tonya from The Crafty Mummy, Me, Lisa from Sweet Little Pretties and Narelle from Cook Clean Craft.
Day 2 of the conference started with another inspiring keynote by Matthew Michalewicz and he was very generous in giving everyone a copy of his book “Life in Half a Second”. His most popular slide was a question he asks himself often “What would Arnold Schwarzenegger do?”
A few more sessions like Google+ by Rand Fishkin, Fitting it all in by Maxabella and someone I really wanted to hear speak was Chantelle Ellem from Fat Mum Slim. There was a lot of love for her in that conference room and I know exactly why – she’s a genuinely cool, generous and funny chick. I love her tone and the way she writes and I “get” her. I wanted to find the right time to go up and say hi but that never happened (maybe I had my resting bitch face on! haha You’ll only understand that if you read her blog). She created the fantastic photo a day challenge which was one of the reasons I went onto Instagram 139 weeks ago! Another creation of hers which I use and love is her Photography iPhone app called Little Moments. Chantelle released an update with great new bloggy pictures and sayings to go with the app to coincide with her talk.
I had to try it straight away and this is what I came up with! haha
Before I knew it the conference was over and it was back to my little (big) family who I missed. Absence makes the heart grow stronger they say and it is true for me. I came back to a tidy house after hubby vacuumed, moped and even re-decorated the house. I’m writing this down as a reminder for me when I want to go next year to make sure that I remember what a great job he did!
Sometimes the life of a blogger can be lonely and like any “job” it has it’s challenges so it really is refreshing for me to go to such a well organised conference like ProBlogger to update my knowledge, meet others who do what I do and be inspired in new ways to keep my blog fresh and exciting.
I hope you’ll stick around and see where this next year takes me/us.