Going Pro, at BlogWorld Expo 2011

by Chris on November 2, 2011

All about my upcoming session at BlogWorld Expo in LA. Will I see you there?

Photo by Ed Yourdon, Flickr Creative Commons

I’m attending BlogWorld Expo for the first time this year. I’m a little nervous about it, honestly, and to make matters worse, I’m speaking. At a session called “Going Pro.” Yeah, no pressure or anything.

The reality is that I’m not a professional blogger, not really, in the sense that I make the majority of my income off this blog. Yes, there are ads on these pages. Some of them are for major travel brands, such as Amtrak and Celebrity Cruises and Best Western Hotels. But I don’t sell them directly and the money I make from my syndication deal with USA TODAY is about enough to pay for a couple of spa treatments a month. Which isn’t bad – shellac manicures RULE! – and I love the exposure that my agreement with my former paper gives me. But it’s hardly enough to make a living.

So in that sense, I’m not a pro blogger, in the Darren Rowse use of the term (and I saw him today on a photo tour of L.A., he looks very nice and I hope to work up the nerve to say hi to him at some point at the conference). Although, I am pro blogging, in that I love what the medium has done for me, and I believe that blogging can enhance what you do best, whatever it is that you do, and lead to opportunities beyond what you could do without it.

Still with me?

I also know, from very recent experience, how hard it can be to step away from the confines and security of a 9 to 5 job – you know, the type that pays six figures and comes with health insurance – to take your tiny blog and the writing/consulting/speaking gigs that come your way because of it and ….turn pro.

I jumped off that ledge at the end of August and it’s felt good. Really good. I’m doing the work that I love and seeing the world and sharing it with readers, both on the blog and in other publications. I’m experiencing flow again – that feeling you get when you’re firing on all cylinders, professionally and personally – and it’s all because I took a chance back in 2009 and decided that it was time to step out from behind the byline. My blog has not only helped me find my voice, it’s determined my destiny, changed my career. It’s given me courage, when I needed it most, and friends, when I’ve needed them most.

In my session on Friday – which I’m sharing with the outstanding Kara S. Williams of The Vacation Gals, Chris Christensen of The Amateur Traveler and Ross Borden of Matador Network – I’ll be telling people about the steps that I took  before I made the leap. It didn’t happen overnight; it required lots of difficult conversations and financial planning., all of which I’m happy to share. If people want to hear that, it is. If they want to hear about something else – the money I make, the connections I develop, the best places to eat in New Orleans – I’m down for that too. I’m here to learn and share.

And the best thing is, when I introduce myself now, it’s not this tortured process: I used to be {this}, I’m working at {here}, I hope to do {that}.

Now it’s simple:

I’m a professional travel writer/blogger. And I love it.

My session is Friday Nov. 4 at 1:45 in Room 150C. We’ll be tweeting under the hashtags #BWELa and #BWETravel. If you’re interested in travel, come stop by and say hello!

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy, Dream of Italy November 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I’ve been following your journey in leaving the 9-to-5 office world behind to fully concentrate on blogging, travel writing. I know the leap that is. Wish I could be at BlogWorld – have heard great thinks about it. Good luck with your presentation!

Kathy McCabe
Dream of Italy


Chris November 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Thanks, Kathy! Hope I get to see you sometime soon, either at a conference or elsewhere on the road.


Kent @ No Vacation Required November 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Nothing better than to see “I’m experiencing flow again” written in this post. That feeling is what makes for the most fulfilling life!

Congrats from a couple of your biggest cheerleaders 🙂


Chris November 2, 2011 at 7:21 pm



Dave November 2, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I know you’ve gone back and forth a bit over the past few years….so glad to hear you’ve gone full time with the blog AND you’re loving it!


Chris November 3, 2011 at 9:00 am

And I may go back and forth again. What I’ve found is that my post-journalism career is not linear and that opportunities can come from many different directions. I fully expect that I will doing different things next year at this time than I am doing now – and that’s OK! It has taken me a while to grasp that, though.


Meg November 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm

That you love what you are doing is all that matters! Looking forward to a great panel and learning. (It’s my first BWE too and I’m speaking, so I completely agree about the excitement and nerves.)


Chris November 3, 2011 at 9:01 am

Meg, you are going to rock it! Can’t wait to see you.


Italian Notes November 3, 2011 at 12:29 am

Thanks for sharing your experience. It helps the rest of us to adjust our expectations.


Jennifer November 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Looking forward to your session tomorrow!


Kathleen C Baker November 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Sometimes it takes a leap of faith and more to leave what you know, step into the unknown and make it work. It sounds like you have made it work and I am sure your session went well – your writing is definitely good.


Cailin November 24, 2011 at 6:24 pm

I hope it went well! I’m sure you rocked it! 🙂


Lisa | LLWorldTour January 19, 2012 at 10:06 am

Hey Chris- A little late to the game here…but I can totally relate. We have that previous full-time journalist thing in common. For 10 years before my RTW trip, I was a full time producer at ABC. For the last 5 years, I’ve struggled with what to ‘call’ myself. TV producer? Writer/Photographer? Blogger? Speaker? Now Video Consultant? It always varied depending on to whom I was talking. And like you said in an earlier comment, it still changes here and there b/c I’m involved in so many different things! I still struggle with my new identity b/c I find it much less simple than my old one. I’m slowly getting there. Glad you are feeling more comfy in your new role! Lisa


Chris January 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

Thanks, Lisa. Would love to meet one of these days and swap stories.


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