What’s a PodcampHFX you may ask?  Don’t worry, I asked the same question.  Well, my intellectual answer would be an organism of ideas ready to explode.  It is a place where right brains meet left and the two merge to bring about some extraordinary information.  All free for the taking, if you register on time that is.

PodcampHFX fever swept over the city of Halifax this past weekend.  The gathering marked the sixth year of it’s infancy.  And it was held at one of the most popular places to be these days, the Halifax Central Library.  I think it was the venue that really sold me on the idea of going in the first place.  I will use any excuse to go there it seems.

My

Even though it was not my first time at the Central Library it was my first PodcampHFX.  Here is what I knew about PodcampHFX before attending.

1. My husband and best friend said I should go

2. It was an “unconference” (whatever that means right? I will explain later) &

3. There would be things discussed that I had absolutely no idea about but I didn’t let that stop me.

Out of a long list of topics being discussed I did manage to find 4 sessions that I thought would

A. inspire me and

B. benefit me as an indie self publisher.

By benefit I mean, learn how to become a more informed entrepreneur and build upon the R.H. Downs brand.  Lets face it, a lot of us dream of being our own boss.  I for sure am one of them and I have a lot to learn.  PodcampHFX was the perfect place to go to absorb how others in my community are doing just that.

So many delightful choices!

So many delightful choices!

I cannot touch on all the topics that were presented but I do not think I am exaggerating when I say there was something there for everyone.  Even if you think “nah, not my bag baby,” try thinking again but with a more open mind.  Expanding your brain power and growing ideas is what PodcampHFX is all about.

What I can do however, is tell you a little about each of the 4 sessions I attended.  But first let me explain the idea of  the term”unconference.”  Basically there were 6 blocks of different sessions.  Within each block was at least 5 and sometimes 6 different talks.  Participants could weave in and out of any and all sessions as they were happening and participate in the conversation.  Or like me, I stayed for all 4 of the talks I chose and participated as much or as little as I felt comfortable with.  There was no pressure to contribute but sharing ideas was key to this style of “unconferencing.”

That's how you "unconference"

That’s how you “unconference”

First off, was the breath taking Lesley Gallagher.  I say breath taking because Lesley admitted to being nervous and needed to take some extra breaths to help tell her story.  I commend her for that, as I too openly admit that big breaths are required whenever I speak.  It helps and I find that often times my audience will take those breaths with me.  But I digress.  Lesley is a young entrepreneur who loves her home town and wants to see more of her friends living and working here.  She has taken notice of the large gap between the young Maritimers who study here but then move away to find work.  Keeping people who want to work in their home town is the reason why she built worklocal.jobs.  Please check out her website if you have a hiring or employment need.  I was very inspired by  how she took her Facebook page and turned it into a new opportunity for not only herself but her community.  Well done Ms. Gallagher, you haven’t heard the last of me yet.  I have a feeling I will be using her site more as I grow my own business.

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Next up was Ricky Goodall and his talk A Simple Formula for Success.  I read a little about Mr. Goodall before deciding to attend his session.  He was an easy choice for me because we both think in a similar sort of way.  Much like Mr. Goodall I strongly believe that we get back from the Universe what we put out there.  If we believe we will succeed then we will.  If a person starts out thinking “my business is going to fail” then most likely it will.  But there is much to learn from failure as Mr. Goodall has had his share of misfortune as well.  Ricky Goodall was my second cup of inspiration for the day.  Please check out his new wellness centre here in Halifax located at 2411 Agricola Street.

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Third on my list was Lindsay Cross’s session on Digital Branding and Social Media Agents.  I know in growing my own branches of loyal readers and followers I have a responsibility to them.  When I hear the word “branding” I think of hot pokers and burning flesh.  I am a little over dramatic but hey, that’s me.  It took me a while to get on the Twitter “brand” wagon but as a new writer it would have been foolish of me not to, despite my reluctance to pony up.  It has been a little over a year, I have a modest 300+ followers but I am ok with that.  I have learned that my brand as they call it, is an intimate one.  One that I will cultivate and grow at a pace that suits me.  I am still a relatively unknown author but part of the experience for me as a writer is establishing more meaningful relationships both on social media and in person.  Balance is my key to living a fulfilled life so I take the path of the turtle as opposed to the over zealous hare.  This does not mean that I do not want to learn more about establishing a brand that works and while attending Lindsay’s talk I realized that I was going in the right direction, however slow I may be.

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Ms. Cross had a full house with eager listeners willing to stand and play with their smartphone’s while she taught us what not to do on social media.  She was engaging and approachable with an energy that filled the already packed room.  She is also a Sack-Vegas lady like myself so I am hoping she does more speaking engagements locally as well.  Hint, hint Lindsay.

The first session after lunch would be my last talk of the day, despite there being two more blocks of eager Podcamper’s ready to share their expertise.  Duty called and other priorities had to be considered.  I wanted to stay for the whole day but I am glad I at least spent my last session listening to Jamie Gerrard and Ross Simmonds.  

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I will be honest in stating that I have no idea what these guys really do for a living, even though they did tell us.  But what this dynamic duo presented was motivating and they earn extra gold stars for making sure that their audience participated in their discussion.  Mysterious white bags of treats also helped with this and that is never a bad thing.

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Their talk on Your Career Bucket List was just what I needed to end my day on.  The line by Ross, “You have to jump and grow your wings on the way down” really hit home with me.

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I am going in boys, and I cannot wait to show the world my wings when I am done.  In all honesty I don’t think I will ever be “done.”  There is still so much more I want experience.  And if you are a creative type and a lifelong learner like myself then PodcampHFX is a perfect place to expand your way of thinking.

Cheers PodcampHFX you have made me a believer.

That was my random blog post for this week or month.  My usual Tuesday Dear Dr. Dyer letter will be also be posted this week.  I will most likely throw these random blog posts up from time to time.