“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” ~ Woody Allen
I’m headed to Colorado on Friday for the annual Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) Conference.
It’s my first time attending and it’s thinking about the concept of “showing up to succeed” that convinced me to shoo away the doubts and just go.
When I first started blogging in December 2008, I had no strategy, no plans to make income from my site or seek sponsorship. I didn’t anticipate the growth of the travel blogging industry. I just wanted an outlet to share experiences from my first long term trip to Jamaica, after leaving a job I held for seven years. I was a traveler long before becoming an attorney, and I wanted a way to go back to that.
I posted for the sheer joy of showing others how amazing travel and culture are – from food to music – and photography was my medium. I had a small group of followers – part Jamaica lovers, part travelers and folks who admired my courage of stepping off the grid. And family and friends, of course. But a bigger audience than I expected.
It didn’t take long for me to realize, while in Jamaica, that blogging is a full time gig. I knew early on I couldn’t do both writing and photography at once. I decided to focus on learning professional photography. I shared my images weekly and blogged when I had extra time.
Within eight months of travel and over the next two years, my travel images were published in several outlets and I had landed a major Tourism Board photography assignment. That’s when I started thinking about revamping my blog, increasing my Facebook presence and turning my site into a portfolio. Signing up for a MatadorU travel photography course kept me focused on this new blog direction I was taking. The old Facebook Page name “Lily Lily Images” morphed virtually into Sun and Stilettos (too bad Facebook won’t let me change the old name because I already had over 100 Likes).