I think at this point it’s pretty obvious that Travel Con was a huge success. I personally had an incredible time meeting the variety of bloggers and speakers, attendees and volunteers. It’s something I was on the fence of attending just because of other travel plans, however, I am so glad that I decided to go. I wanted to share with you what my biggest take away’s were and why you should attend next year. Here’s my 51 favorite take away’s from Travel Con!
“Book publishers make more than 90% of their profit from books they published more than six months ago. And yet they put 2% of their effort into promoting and selling those books. Editors, agents, salespeople all focus on what’s new, instead of what works.” —Seth Godin
Make content that lasts
Our first keynote speaker, Ryan Holiday talked about to create content that lasts. He talked about writing a book that will still be good ten years from now. Don’t write something only thinking of the present moment. Plan for things to last.
Do the work that only you can do
This struck me so hard on the first day. I have never felt like I was doing work that only I could do. I think this was partly because I was still on the fence and unsure of my voice. I have since decided to throw all doubt out the window and take off.
Networking is key to success!
I have never really networked before TravelCon. Most of the time, I don’t even tell people what I do… (I know, very stupid) but TravelCon taught me that people want to hear my story and connect with me. I even met amazing bloggers willing to host me in their cities. (My first stop is to visit Chauntel from Voyaging Vagabond to apple pick in Rhode Island)
Be honest with yourself and with brands
Being honest is going to be your fastest way to success. Don’t promise a brand results you can’t deliver and don’t set goals for yourself that you also can’t deliver. Just be honest with your expectations of yourself and with others.
Under promise and over deliver
This is something I learned from freelancing as well. Always under promise and over deliver. This way when you give results, they are even better than what you originally said they’d be and people will be way more excited to work with you in the future.
Find your voice and be true to that voice.
I have struggled with this since day one. I have never been true to my voice mostly because I wasn’t even sure yet what my voice was. I didn’t know who I was as a person, let alone a blogger and I was constantly trying to mold myself to ‘fit in’. Get ready because that’s about to change. I am officially me and I hope you are as excited as I am about it.
Create Passive Income
I have very few streams of passive income and that is not smart. I love Nomadic Matt’s brand because he is thriving from a few wonderful sources of passive income, from courses to eBooks, he has it all. I hope you are ready to see a few more products come your way from my blog as well because I am finally getting things in the works.
Email Lists are so important
Utilize your email list and be working hard to always grow that list.
I talked with a lot of bloggers that had never sent an email to their list or who weren’t even trying to build that list. I know my list isn’t huge, but it’s something that I put a lot of thought into. Always remember that you own the audience on that list and it’s a great way to make money as well.
You don’t own your social media audience
You own your blog and email list. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket on social media because when that platform dies, like we all know it probably will, you will no longer have an audience. Convert your current following to your blog and email list. For great tips on how you can do this, check out one of my favorite girl bosses, Jenna Kutcher.
It’s okay to ask for help
In fact, you should almost always be asking for help. I don’t know about you but I definitely can’t do everything and I don’t even want to try. Ask for help from those around you. Hire help, do a trade, whatever you have to do. But don’t be afraid to ask.
It’s okay to go offline
I think every blogger that spoke talked about how they needed a break from social media, so they went offline and their audience didn’t disappear, the world didn’t end, and when they resumed posting, most people admired them for knowing when to step away.
It’s okay to fail
In fact, you are going to fail so get used to it. Failure doesn’t mean you have to quit. Failure just means that you need to try again. (Does that even make sense?) Don’t give up when you fail. Take a break and when you are ready, start again in a new way.
Maybe this seemed obvious but I wasn’t doing it. If you want to be a good writer you need to write every day! Write a lot and edit even more.
Read writers that you love. Read works that you admire. Read things you find funny. In order to be a great writer you have to be a great reader.
Take pictures everyday and of every day things
You can use so many pictures for your everyday portfolio. Every picture doesn’t have to be perfect just be taking every picture. Pictures also help you remember details that you can refer back to in your writing.
Practice the skills that you want to be great at everyday
Like the above things, if you want to be great at something, just practice every day. If you want to make videos, do graphic design, write epics emails, or paint nice pictures, you have to be practicing these things daily.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there
I use to let my fear of rejection stop me from doing things that I was really excited about. Don’t let fear stop you.
YOU HAVE TO SELF PROMOTE
This for me goes with the above point. I have such a hard time self promoting. But if you don’t promote yourself, how is anyone going to know what you are doing? You aren’t going to be for everyone, just like everyone and everything isn’t for you. And that’s okay. Promote yourself anyway.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
By this I mean that you shouldn’t focus only on Instagram, or Youtube, Facebook or anything else. Put an egg in each of those baskets and grow in every way that you can.
Friends go along way in this world. Make friends that you can travel with or catch up with when you are feeling alone. I made some amazing friends from Travel Con and I encourage you all to go next year because the people there are amazing. During his keynote, Rolf Potts said, “Platforms change, but relationships always stick.”
Be nice to people
It’s important in the business world and your personal life, as I am sure you might know. You don’t want to be the blogger that’s hard to work with or mean to people. Also, it’s very important that you are nice to the people in the countries that you are traveling too. Take time to get to know the locals and be kind to them.
Understand the culture of the place you are traveling to and respect that culture.
You can learn so much about a place when you embrace the culture and respect people’s traditions. They will also love to have you there.
Try new things
Everyday. Try something new. Do something that challenges you. Take a class in a new place that you are, or even better, take a class at home or go to a new restaurant you’ve been wanting to try. Whatever gets you out there trying new things.
Eat new things
Make a new recipe if you are at home. Take a cooking class or eat at a restaurant you normally wouldn’t. When I was visiting my sister in Dallas, I took her and her husband to an Indian restaurant that I loved, they however, have a very routine diet and were not impressed. But it was fun to get them out of their routine to try something new. Even if you don’t like it, at least you tried.
Get off the beaten path
When you go somewhere like Paris, find something new in the city. Consider it a challenge for yourself, your blog and your photography. Find somewhere new and unique in well traveled places.
Don’t go to the same destinations that everyone is going to
Next time you are planning your trip, skip Paris and Venice and Berlin and find somewhere new.
Be aware of overtourism
Overtourism is when you go to a place, promote it and the next year when you return, it’s overrun by the people you shared that place with. Next time you stumble upon somewhere amazing, ask yourself one question “Is this place going to benefit from people coming here?” If the answer is no, don’t share the location with your audience. Sometimes you need to put the earth first.
Use descriptive writing in your blog posts
When you are blogging about a place, you want to make people imagine themselves in your shoes. How can they do that if you don’t describe the sites, tastes and sounds?
Be true to your style
Remember to put a little effort in at times. This one might not apply to you but it sure did for me. I realized that I never took photos because I never felt like I looked as cute as other girls. Well that’s a pretty simple fix.. You can stay true to your style, but put a little effort in. It’ll go a long way in your confidence and your brand.
Don’t be afraid to look dumb, silly, or anything else
Set up your tripod and ask someone to take your picture. Don’t be afraid to do those sill things to get the shot that you want.
Promote things that you truly believe in
Don’t take every promotion and don’t do things just for the money. For me, ethical brands that have the environment in mind are very important. I never collaborate with brands that don’t share my same values, which include being sustainable and plant-based. When a brand reaches out to work with me, I quickly look up their brand values to make sure they align with mine. Afterwards, I can decide if I want to work with them or not.
If you are in it for the money, you aren’t going to last
Like I said above, don’t do things just because someone is paying you. Look for lasting relationships with brands that you truly believe in. That relationship is going to last longer than your brand will if you go about just looking for money.
Those who endure and stick it out are the ones that succeed in the long run. Several of the speakers at Travel Con talked about endurance. If you want to last the storms, you have to prepare for bad weather. So stick with it. If this is something you truly want, then don’t give up or give in.
Do your homework
Before you go to a new place, pitching for an article or even asking for a collaboration. If you are willing to put the effort in to learn about the people you are going to be working with, it’s going to show and they are more likely to work with you.
Choose adventure (That’s an easy one)
Be braver than you think you can be. Always.
Edit, then edit again, then edit one more time
When it comes to writing, you need to edit. Once upon a time (like a week ago), I never edited my blog posts beyond a quick second read. Then I had a writing workshop… and my piece got torn apart. From now on, I will be editing, EVERYTHING, and you should be too!
Actively learn new skills
Take a class. Learn to cook, dance or speak a new language. Be constantly growing and encouraging yourself to try new things.
If in doubt, say yes
Chances are, the things you say yes to will probably be the funnest and most lasting memories that you have.
Always follow your instincts, not your itinerary
This was one of my favorite things that was said by our keynote speaker, the author of Vagabonding, Rolf Potts. He encouraged us to always follow our instincts and I hope that you will too.
Build up your funnels to deliver a more personal email
YouTube is HARD
It takes a lot of work and is not for the faint of heart. This gem comes from the Vagabrothers. They opened their talk by letting us all know how damn hard YouTube is and believe me, I know it. I once made a YouTube video.. about 3 years ago and it’s pretty terrible. If you want to do YouTube, take some editing and video classes. That can also help you learn a new skill.
Engage, engage, engage.
Every time I see someone who claims they can teach you the secret of Instagram, you know what they say? Engage. And they have a point. Engagement is the key to building a loyal tribe. So why do I hate it so much? Anyone else with me?
Be real and be honest
It’s time we all started sharing more of the ups and downs. I have a hard time with this because I don’t want to talk about my problems, ever. However, when you share the ‘real side’ of things with your audience, they love it. It gives people a chance to relate to you. So take the time to share those moments with people.
If there isn’t a chair at the table for you, make your own!
Okay, this came from Oneika the Traveller who I am officially obsessed with. This girl does it ALL and does it well. She stood up on that stage and had people crying she was so funny, real and honest. I aspire to be more like Oneika. My biggest take away from her talk was “If there isn’t a chair at the table for you, make your own!”
Take an unplanned trip
Plan nothing. Just book a ticket and see how it goes.
Do something that scares you
Everyday or every year. Try something new and scary.
Forget the bucket list and focus on the world around you
I like this because oftentimes I am trying so hard to tick off my bucket list, but the real adventure is when you forget the bucket list and just head out into the world.
Monetize your blog now
There are a lot of ways to monetize a blog, try a couple and see what works for you. Don’t get stuck on one thing. Try several methods and use what works for you.
Nobodies life is perfect
Regardless of their Instagram feed. Don’t let Instagram get you down. Everyone has their ups and their downs. Don’t get depressed because they are constantly sharing the wins. We all do it. Just remember, ask for help when you are feeling down.
And lastly, don’t give up!
Chase your dreams and keep pursuing.
I hope to see you all at Travel Con next year! If you are there, you better come and find me. It’s going to be even bigger and even better than this year. #travelcon19