From The Trenches: Connect Now Edition


There has been an influx of trench posts lately. That’s because I’ve been so darn busy just taking action. I’ve just been doing the usual – creating, launching and meeting Gary Vaynerchuk!

This trip to Sydney was a test. I wanted to see where I fit in the Australia social media community and how I could handle a week of intense networking. I believe I learned more last week about myself then I did about social media.

Being social and being present are two different things.

I had this conversation with Iggy Pintado after he laughed at me for saying “I don’t want to be social” and then going on to hug half the people I met.

I define “being social” differently to most people. For me, the act of socializing requires a lot of effort. It is extremely difficult for me to go to someone I’ve barely interacted with and make small talk. Cold networking is something I’ll always struggle with and resent.

Being present however is dead easy. This is when you have made the prior connection online and it’s just an extension of the conversation. I got deservedly whacked by Alex. I was able to talk candidly with, and hug, people I’d never met before. Heck, I was able to go up to people who were kicking arse in their respective fields and they asked how MY business was going.

I aim to be more present now, both online and offline.

People in business take me seriously

I’m quite humble. Some people have accused me of being fake, but its just part of my personality. I find it easier to play down my success instead of explaining the extent of my low self esteem. I assumed that because I was “just a blogger” that I didn’t have anything valuable to contribute.

My major takeaway from the past week was that I had a lot to contribute. I’d been experiencing this beforehand, where many people I respect were contacting me for social media and affiliate advice. It was nothing compared to the genuine interest showed at the conference.

Never underestimate what you have to offer the community. You may be robbing yourself of opportunities.

If you ask a question after a panel, expect to be the photographer

At the end of the second day, I went up to ask Stephen more about the Unicef Undercover initiative. It took me a while to actually ask the question because several people asked me to get photos of them with the speakers. I happily obliged but it took me about 10 minutes to actually ask about how I could help with Undercover. This was a fun lesson – it showed how I can connect with others accidentally.

I want to be like Gary Vaynerchuck

Just before I went home, Siobhan (the organizer) asked me to hand each of the presenters a copy of  Connection Generation. I knew she would have been exhausted so did this. It was hard giving it to Gary because of the group of people surrounding him. As I got closer, he shared eye contact equally among the group. As I handed him the book, he looked me straight in the eye and genuinely thanked me.

This really shocked me. I was so exhausted I could barely stand straight and Gary was giving 100% of himself to everyone he met. This is the type of person that I want to be and I hope that eventually, my anxiety wont prevent me from doing so.

Conferences are an amazing experience

I was freaking out going into Connect Now. It cost a lot of money and time – both of which we don’t have a lot of. It was hard, but it was so worth it.

I was able to meet so many people I wouldn’t have met normally . People are still following up with me – sending me tweets about my blog and checking out the photos I took. I was panicking about business cards and buying formal clothes when I should have been focusing on how I could get more out of my time in Sydney.

I would go again if I could – provided it started a couple hours later.

My final thoughts?

This conference was what I needed. I’ve come out of it revitalized and so enthusiastic about my business. We’ve already taken baby steps towards our new projects. We’ve made changes to the layout to fit with our new vision. I’ll be taking a step back from my Social Media Solutions commitments in order to make this blog my first priority. We have so many fun and exciting challenges ahead of us this year and I’m so excited to be able to share them.

Sometimes, you have to give something up before you can get the kick in the arse you need. I struggled financially to attend this but I believe it will help my business become something amazing