Thoughts: What I learned at Problogger Event 2013

Greetings BusiChics! I spent this last weekend on the Gold Coast for THE bloggers’ conference, ProBlogger Training Event #PBevent 2013.  PBevent was housed at QT Gold Coast, a newly-refurbished modern hotel that was a pleasure to conference and stay at. The hotel’s staff uniform caught my eye, particularly the Business Casual/ Contemporary Business Wear style of Kobi who is the Director of Brand Development at QT Gold Coast.

QThotels Gold Cost Corporate Uniform features digital print

Kobi wears the most stylish work uniform I have come across to date.  A peplum dress in a digital palm print and colourful structured blazer that has a rather smart-looking contrast cuff. I seriously want to try recreate Kobi’s look – perfect for the coming summer! Kobi completes the look with a pair of shiny patent leather heels. I was interested to hear that the various uniforms at the hotel have been created by different designers rather than just the one, allowing for the colourful and friendly mish-mash of style that is consistent with the vibe at QT Gold Coast. Has anyone spied a contrast-cuff blazer while shopping recently? Do let me know! Update: not sure whether this is QT’s standard issue – Kristy on the BusinessChic Facebook has identified that this dress if from Saba. I misplaced Kobi’s details, is anyone else able to confirm?

What I learned at ProBlogger 2013

As an IT professional, I have been to a lot of conferences in my time. I must say that it is very rarely that I leave a conference as full of ideas, inspiration and motivation to apply  new learnings to my practice as I do from a ProBlogger training event. It is an even rarer moment to realise that I am in a room amongst many kindred spirits/thinkers. Here are just some of my highlights from PBevent 2013:

pbevent 2013 darren rowse conference participants

Clockwise from top left: Darren Rowse aka ProBlogger opens PBevent 2013 | Me with wonderful Vanisha Vakaoti | Me mid-dash setting up for the Step-Changers panel, snapped with Event Manager, Jasmin Tragas | Me on stage with Darren, sharing how I turned a certain blog series into an exhibition and book!

Tips and tricks I learnt at PBevent 2013:

Amy Porterfield gave an empowering masterclass on using Facebook with a whole heap of lessons that I can’t wait to implement both for myself and for my social media clients. My only regret is that I did not photograph her presentation outfit – lady was wearing shoes that had great art-deco looking detail that I wish I’d found out more about! Jim Stewart’s practical session on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) made me want to run home and rename and recategorise every single image and post on BusinessChic. I can see how doing so will make it so much easier for all of us to navigate the content here! Tsh Oxenreider gave two talks in the room that I was hosting. I particularly enjoyed her session that gave structure around developing ideas for blog content. Going forward, I’d really love to engage BusiChics more by finding out what you wear to work, the challenges that you face buying clothes for work and play and how you interpret workplace dress codes. For example if your workplace is having an after-five event  and the dresscode is “cocktail”, how formal do you go? Sessions on Step-changers and Community reminded me of how much time and effort I’m going to need to commit to strength the consistency of the BusinessChic brand. I hope to have the time to do this soon! Phoebe Montague’s session on media kits reminded me that I need to be more pro-active about sharing mine with brands who approach me for sponsored posts.

What I learned (or had confirmed) about myself.

“when it feels like something “inexplicably” causes you to cry, it’s your soul’s way of saying that that you’ve found your truth.” – my ex-kinesiologist

I was surprised by how often I found myself suddenly tearing up at things the speakers shared or pointed out – not about our blogs (although I should probably cry about the state of BusinessChic’s SEO!) but rather the why we blog, what holds us back and what we can tap into to push us forward. As ridiculous as I felt constantly crying, I remembered something that my ex-kinesiologist (he quit kinesiology to pursue his dreams in music) used to say which is when it feels like something “inexplicably” causes you to cry, it’s your soul’s way of saying that that you’ve found your truth. And omg, were there a lot of truths from all these thought leaders! Darren Rowse’s opening and closing speeches touched upon every single little road block that bloggers face- I was at the back of the room and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a roomful of people nodding quite as much! I appreciated his statement that “we never get everything done.” There’s always something on the blog that we want to do, an email we want to reply to; this blogging thing and all its associate elements are never done and that’s ok.

“You don’t have to choose just one thing…but you have to start with something.” – Clare Bowditch, lyrics from “Amazing Life”.

My biggest cry-session was during Clare Bowditch’s talk on “how to do what you want”. It reminded me of something that happened to me recently when I was invited to speak at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival (MWF). So when I was little, all I wanted to be was a writer, “who wrote many books.” I remember wanting to be as prodigious a writer as my hero, Enid Blyton. Whenever we’d go out, I’d pack my “going-out bag” with books because I believed that one day my bag would be full of the books that I had written. Along the way I lost my confidence in writing and I suppose that this blog has been a way of breaking out of the LHS-brain writing for my Careerland reports to find my own voice. I’ve blogged before about how I turned my Little Black Dress Project series into an exhibition and book within two months by learning to manage my anxieties as well as having the support of BusiChics and friends through crowdfunding on Pozible, which made it possible for me to realise my first book. Well that book led to me being speaking at this year’s MWF on a panel with some very clever people. I remember going to a party held for the MWF writers where amongst the repeated introductions, I had to keep saying aloud, “yes, I’m here as a writer. I wrote a book.” I simultaneously wanted to squeal every time I said it and go find somewhere to hide! Clare’s talk and beautiful tear-jerker of a song “Amazing Life”, made me realise that I’ve started something…and that I want to keep pursuing it and get better at it.  Her talk also reminded me to write down what it is that I want so that I can set some goals to achieve it. It’s funny how blank my mind went and how full my eyes became at her question, “Are you clear on what you want your whole one precious life to be?” A surprise visit from Samuel Johnson who is in the middle of his unicycle tour of Australia to raise funds and awareness  for breast cancer which is affecting his sister, was a reminder of the importance of the ones we love. It also reminded me of how I am in awe of how the people we love encourage us to pursue our passions. Samuel’s sister expressed her wish to educate women to get regular breast checks to prevent another mother from having to say goodbye to her children. When Samuel asked how he could help, she incorporated his dream of riding a unicycle around Australia into that plan. That’s what our amazing loved ones do for us. Find out more about Love Your Sister. From Trey Ratcliffe’s talk on Living in the Now, I realised that I don’t want to make any more fear-based decisions. I think that this mindset is really going to change things for me, even more so than ass, everywhere!

The question I wanted to ask but could be seen as pretty rude. 

I’m interested in to what extent successful bloggers have work jobs/careers until they reached the tipping point that meant that they could work on their blogs full-time. I am even more interested in the extent to which bloggers have negotiated or leaned in and supported/been supported by their partners to achieve their respective dreams. I got engaged recently and while I don’t believe that “a man is a financial plan” – my man has been nudging me to make the time to work on my passions. I like to think that given the opportunity, I’d do the same for him. Currently though I feel guilty about this and am interested in how others have or haven’t made this work for them. I understand that this could be a rather personal question though. Update: Thanks to each of you have left me a comment about this below because it’s helped me change my mindset. I’ve been seeing blogging as a “luxury” because I enjoy it so. I think I need to treat my creative work life as seriously as I have my Careerland job and recognise that a job can be something that you enjoy. That’s helping me approach this in a different way… thank you for helping me change my mindset!

The ProBlogger Team

problogger pbevent 2013 team This is my second ProBlogger event – the last that I attended was in 2011. Circumstances in Careerland meant that I missed out on ProBlogger event 2012. This year, I was excited that I was going along and then very honoured when I was asked to be part of the volunteer team- made identifiable by the colourful leis we wore. And FYI, Darren’s core team is AWESOME.  It was so wonderful and encouraging to see a competent and confident crew of leaders, getting the job done with such clear communication and encouragement. Major props to Laney Galligan, Nicole Avery, Jasmin Tragas, Justine Bloome, Liz Pulo and Yvonne Adele.

Life after PBevent for BusinessChic

“Inspiration without Implementation is just noise” – Darren Rowse

After so much information, it’s easy to be overwhelmed and do nothing. I have a long to-do list but here are three things that I want to do:

  • Write to thank all of the wonderful people I met during the conference. So many ideas shared, lots of sparks to create new things.
  • I’ve had this piece, potentially a series in my head that I’ve been wanting to bang out some I going to state it here so that I have to do it! I am going to research and write about dressing according to personality types. I think it was Tsh (??) who talked about how much she loves the Myer-Briggs test. I really like the Enneagram test which also looks at the traits that you take on when emotionally healthy/unhealthy. I am an INFP/4 in those tests and from my reading understand that some practitioners believe that Steve Jobs was a 4. I see parallels in the way he had his uniform of skivvy, jeans and sneakers – and how I have my LBD. So I have been wanting to explore this more and planning a survey to see whether we dress according to our types and the style manifestations of a type. Do you know what your personality type is? If so, do you think that you dress accordingly?
  • When I have time, I would really like to do a vision board, I might create a Wunderlist (I’m loving this app that is free on ALL devices and synchs on all devices) to give some structure around building this amazing life!

If you are feeling inspired to join in, what are you feeling inspired to shift/change or work on in your one, precious life?

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  1. Hello
    I’m just catching up on this now – I wanted to wait til I had some of my posts from pbevent written down.
    I loved that idea that you cry when you sense a truth in yourself when hearing others talk. I do that a little too. It’s like an empathetic cry of relief, an epiphany telling me that I can do this too because someone else has.
    I’ve got so many ideas since pbevent – can’t wait to implement them. Great to see you there too. You were a gun on stage. Seriously awesome, and I loved your little talk with Darren. So excited for your new journey 🙂
    Great post Cheryl, thank you.

  2. Thanks so much for being part of the team this year Cheryl. Loved your professionalism and nice to finally hang out a little bit too! xx

  3. Hello, I’ve been a long time lurker here but thought I’d leave a comment on my own experience since it’s the flip side to most of the other respones as the ‘supporting’ partner. My husband and I made the decision about two years ago for him pursue his online business full time. At the time we felt that unless he was able to devote a significant amount of time to the business, it just wasn’t able to gain the momentum needed. This wasn’t a decision we made lightly and we did explore other options like him or both of us working part time. We also planned this change to the nth degree. Little things like making the big purchases that we’d needed while we still had two incomes and spreading his payout for unused leave over several weeks really helped to smooth the transition.
    Anyway, this is all a very long winded way to say prepare well and enjoy the ride.

  4. This is a fantastic roundup Cheryl. You’ve covered so much! And Kobi’s outfit is awesome – I hope you find the pieces you need to pull something like this together for Summer!!
    I hope you do find – without too many more tears! – what you want your one whole precious life to be. I love the image of your future husband ‘nudging’ you to make time to work on your passions. As has been said by others, you’re very fortunate that he’s so encouraging and supportive. I’m sure there will come a time down the track when you get to do the same for him, so don’t waste time feeling guilty now!
    I hope we meet at the next PB Event. It’s been lovely to connect with you on Twitter over these last couple of days. Amazing how shared experiences (and emotions!!) have the power to connect people.

  5. Loved reading about the conference through your eyes Cheryl!

  6. I’m in the position now where I’m the only income earner – my husband has been unable to work for a few years. But, having mostly been a contract worker my entire adult life, there have been plenty of times where one of us is out of work and the other supports both of you. To us, that’s just what you do! Both of us have goals to work for ourselves from home (or anywhere that we see fit, really) so for now it’s just part of the journey.

  7. Congratulations on your recent engagement! Such exciting news.

    If your man is “nudging” you to work on your passion… then I say go for it! Do what you love and don’t let anything hold you back.

    And if he is still there to support you in the end then you know you’ve got a keeper!


  8. Great round up Cheryl (and another great style pic too!). I think loads of people found the event emotional (in a good way) – there were quite a few times were I kept telling myself ‘I am NOT going to cry’, but it didn’t work… Such an amazing experience to be surrounded by passionate, intelligent people who ‘get’ the whole online thing. I especially loved the atmosphere of honesty and openness, with Darren’s opening keynote setting the tone. So much to take in…

    And as for your last question – it’s something I’ve really wrestled with over the past 8 years. In my first long term relationship I was the main breadwinner, and then I had a few years on my own supporting myself (with a corporate job). I’ve always had a bit of an independent streak, and being financially independent has been an important part of that.

    But then I met the amazing guy who is now my husband. And for various reasons it meant I had to give up my full time job and work in a freelance capacity. And then we moved to Hong Kong, and I worked even less. And then we moved to Seoul and I basically stopped working altogether. My husband’s earning power is much, much greater than mine and we have always shared finances. He has never, ever made me feel strange about it, it’s been the battle in my own head that’s been tricky – I’ve had to overcome feelings of guilt and dependency. I’ve come to realise that we all contribute to relationships in different ways, that it’s about a true partnership. And that we should be proud of the different roles we play and the unique contributions we make.

    From the outside I guess our marriage looks very traditional – male breadwinner, good lady wife running the home stuff and playing with a camera – but it’s the most equal, respectful partnership I’ve even been in. It’s really up to you guys how you negotiate those relationships and power balances, and if you have someone who’s supportive of your dreams then – YAY! Just give yourself time to adjust (and for your ego to adjust!)…exciting times ahead me thinks!

    (Sorry for the essay! This is something I’ve thought a lot about over the years!).

    • Amazing Emily. Thank you!

      You hit my fears right on the head. Thank you for working through yours so well and sharing with me; you have helped to shift my perspective. I need to get over my own ego in the same way that I hope/know my future husband will in the future in the event of “various reasons” that may require things to shift. And that the sooner I get over my ego of “but I want to be breadwinner too”, the sooner I can get to work on the things I’m passionate about…which might get me back to “breadwinner” too! You never know but thank you for freeing me to explore that 🙂

      I’m sorry I didn’t get to spend more time with you during the conference as I was running about – let’s catch up the next time we’re in the same city!

  9. Hello Cheryl! Great post – so much of what you have written resonated with me too from my time at Problogger. I just wrote up my own post-PB takeaways post and am feeling so re-inspired, it’s great. I didn’t get chance to say hello in person but I want to thank you again for being such an inspiration and for telling your story with such honesty!
    I really loved your story on the lounge with Darren about your own Business Chic adventure and I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing more as you grow it!
    x Helen

  10. Amazing post Cheryl, I’ve just spent the entire night listening to all the pod casts and sessions I missed and loved listening to your chat’s with Darren.

    So amazing to see you up there on stage, super proud darlin!

    • Thanks Phoebe! Sorry to hear that you had such a terrible day after PBevent (gah! The dark and evil energy of Ticket inspectors!) but love the new project that you have started. I am grateful for asking “my rude question” because all these comments have helped me shift my perspective in a positive way that will help me grow. It’s like free counselling!

  11. Hey Cheryl,
    You always make me feel good when I stop by your blog! One of my favorite garments is a pair of navy men’s business shorts acquired whilst working as a uniform designer.
    My partner and I share finances. At times I have contributed more and at times he has contributed more and in the future I don’t know what the mix will be. Having a baby means child rearing also has to be factored in as work. When I was growing up my parents worked for the same organisation and most dinnertimes involved them complaining about the people they worked with and their awful jobs. I am adamant that I don’t want my kids to listen to this throughout their childhood, so even though it worries me that we don’t have our finances in great shape, I am proud we are doing things we find rewarding and positive.

    • Georgia – thank you so much for stopping by! And thank you for sharing because you’ve reminded me how much time we spend at work, so it’d be wonderful to be doing something that we love. Hope that we can catch up soon and to meet Baby McCorkill! xx

  12. thanks for the post – and thanks so much for giving time and effort to helping make PBEVENT better by being room producer and agreeing to be interviewed.


  13. An excellent wrap up Cheryl, and thanks for the mention. I also felt quite emotional at this conference – the passion, the potential, the creativity – it all got to me! At this point in my life, my husband is giving me the opportunity to do the things that are important to me. To be home with the kids when they’re young, and to create my own path with a new business. In the future, I hope to do the same for him. I did the MB test today and found that I have changed since becoming a mum from ENTJ to ENFP. So very interesting. I’m more emotional and less judging now 😉

    • ps Kobi has looked amazing every time I’ve seen her. So very stylish and beautiful.

    • Laney, I’m so excited for you and your new biz – the passion, potential and clever of it all excites me! And I’m so encouraged hearing from you and all these other wonderful bloggers/business-owners – thank you for sharing 🙂

  14. Well done Chez. It looks like you’ve had a great weekend and taken lots of learnings. So much here that I want to talk to you about. Hope we can fit it in soon. x

  15. Such a pity to have missed this year’s Problogger event as I saw quite a lot of new things being shared and discovered. But, there’s still next year. 😉

    I don’t think it’s rude to ask that question and here’s my answer:
    I have to admit I’m pretty lucky to have my husband as the main breadwinner, which allows me to pursue my blogging full-time. I’m not going to share how we distribute our income but let’s just say even if I did go out and work full-time or part-time, it doesn’t make a big difference.

    But, I did work for 2 years after all my kids went to school, while still running my blog and the thing that made me say – enough was when my day job made me depressed and angry while my blog became a form of escape for me and not to mention I started to earn some money via sponsored posts and advertising. It’s not as much nor as regular as what my day job was offering but it allowed me to carry on my passion. Plus it has now allowed me to use this knowledge I’ve gained from social media to do this freelance for other businesses. So if your partner is supportive (thank goodness mine started to see that this blog isn’t a hobby), then I’d say go for it.

    • Hey Norlin – that’s right – you bought the ticket off me for last year’s ProBlogger!

      That is wonderful that your husband sees that and I suppose with our loved ones, they do see how much things mean to us and when things are actually taking off and need to be pursued etc. Thank you for your input!

  16. So lovely to see you and hear your story again. Re the partner leaning in/on question, my husband and I have always shared our finances. For a long time I earned more; then he did while I was building my business; now we’re about even. I think every couple works this out differently but it’s worked for us – adding kids into the mix means that things definitely have to be shared!

    • Thank you, Nikki. I’m realising that a marriage is “an adventure shared” and that we all bring things of value to the adventure. I suppose I feel frustrated with myself for not having been able to make this blogging thing work, while on my own, if that makes sense? but the sooner I stop overanalysing that and channel this energy into awesome (to put a spin on Trey’s phrase!), I think the better off I’ll be. Thank you for your input!

  17. Hey Cheryl! First – was so lovely to see you again – yay for all the awesome that is going on in your life right now!

    I just wanted to give you a response to your question. I’m lucky enough to be married to a guy who has supported my big dreams and wild schemes 100% from day 1. So I say, if you, too, are lucky enough to be marrying a guy like that, and you – like me – believe that marriage is a partnership where you give and take and make it top priority to support the dreams of your partner – then you should GO for it! Nick and I are firm believers in ‘we’ when it comes to the finance side of things – it doesn’t matter who makes what money so long as everyone is happy and doing something they love. I have no doubt you can build your empire over the next few years… then it will be your man’s turn to fly while you support him, yes? xx

    • Hi beautiful Jess – it was so lovely to get cocoon time with you!

      Thank you for your comment. I think that I’m so used to being the only one “looking after everything” that I’ve built up quite an ego which is the thing making it difficult for me to let go. But you’re right, my fiancé (!) is being rad and yes, I’d love to do the same for him given the chance… Thank you for helping me sort this out in my stubborn brain:)

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