Going Solo Leeds Registration Open [en]

[fr] Il est désormais possible de réserver sa place pour Going Solo Leeds, qui aura lieu le 12 septembre.

As announced a few days ago on the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net), [registration for the Leeds conference on September 12th is now open](http://going-solo.net/2008/07/04/going-solo-leeds-registration-is-open/):

Hop along to our partner Expectnation‘s site to sign up right away.

Here’s the deal:

  • Early Bird (first 25 tickets — hurry up some have already been sold!): £150
  • Normal: £220
  • Late Bird (will kick in approx. 10 days before the conference date): £300
  • On-site (if you really want to play it ‘last minute’): £350

A comment or two:

  • for the Lausanne event, the first 25 tickets were sold in under a week
  • there will be advanced seminars (3h workshops) on the Saturday morning — more about them shortly, but know already that if you have already registered for the main conference when they are announced, you will get a special discount on them (they will be open only to conference participants)
  • Jet2.com is a low-cost company that flies to Leeds-Bradford International airport
  • Leeds is 2.5h from London by train (book early, and you could pay as little as £22.50 return)
  • the programme for the main conference is going to be very similar to the Lausanne one (don’t change a winning team) — videos are online for you to have a preview if you wish
  • the Going Solo team is pretty excited about all this!

Of course, let me remind you that [Going Solo Lausanne was a nice success](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/17/going-solo-lausanne-was-a-hit/), and that you can now [check out the videos of the talks](http://dailymotion.com/GoingSolo) online.

[Who is Going Solo for?](http://going-solo.net/2008/03/30/who-is-going-solo-for/)

Going Solo is a one-day event for freelancers and small business owners working in somewhere in the internet industry (designers, consultants, journalists, social media people, developers…) — or even outside of it (we actually think the topics we’ll cover are relevant for all freelancers).

Looking forward to seeing you in Leeds, and thanks for spreading the news around you!

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5 Lessons in Promoting Events Using Social Media (Back to Basics) [en]

[fr] Leçons apprises lors de la promotion de Going Solo:

  • communiquer directement avec les gens (messagerie instantanée, conversation offline, téléphone) est le mode de communication le plus efficace
  • ne pas négliger l'e-mail, les dossiers de presse, le matériel imprimable: tout le monde ne lira pas le blog ou Twiter
  • rien ne devient automatiquement "viral" parce que c'est sur internet: aider les gens à vous aider à passer l'info, par exemple avec un e-mail "forwardable"
  • aller où sont les gens, les retrouver dans leur communauté (Facebook, MySpace, Rezonance, LinkedIn... partout)
  • ça prend du temps... beaucoup de temps

J'ai été surprise à quel point tout ceci a été difficile pour moi, alors qu'une partie de mon métier consiste à expliquer aux gens comment utiliser les nouveaux médias pour communiquer plus efficacement. Une leçon d'humilité, et aussi un retour à certaines choses basiques mais qui fonctionnent, comme l'e-mail ou le chat. En récompense, par contre, un événement qui a été un succès incontesté, et tout cela sans le soutien des médias traditionnels (pour cause de communiqué de presse un poil tardif) -- mis à part nouvo, qui a répercuté l'annonce, mais qui trouvait que c'était cher!

One of the big lessons I learnt while organising [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) is that [promoting and communicating about an event through social media](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) requires a huge amount of time and energy. In this post, I’d like to share a few of the very practical things I (re-)discovered.

Even though part of what I do for a living is explain social media and its uses in marketing to my clients, I found it quite a challenge when I actually had to jump in and do it. (Yes, I’m aware this may sound pretty lame. By concentrating on the big picture and the inspiring success stories, one tends to forget some very basic things. Sending managers back to the floor every now and then is a good thing.)

The **main lesson I learnt** is the following:

– **1. The absolute best channel to promote anything is one-on-one personal conversation** with somebody you already have some sort of relationship with.

Any other solution is a shortcut. And [all shortcuts have prices](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/06/11/about-not-reading/).

This means I ended up spending a lot of time:

– talking to people on IM, IRC, and offline at conferences
– sending out personal messages on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Anytime you do something to spare you this time (like sending out a collective e-mail, writing a blog post, or even tweeting — situations where you’re not adressing one specific individual directly) you dilute what you’re communicating. You open the door to:

– imperfect understanding of what you’re trying to say
– people not feeling like it’s really addressed to them (lack of interest, or lack of awareness that their actions are important to you)
– people simply not seeing it.

I have many examples of this. I created a [page with material people could use to promote Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support), in particular, [blog sidebar badges](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/badges-for-your-sidebar/). But not many people put them up spontanously, even amongst my friends. But when I started pinging people on IM and asking them if they would please put up a badge to support my event, they did it. They just hadn’t got around to doing it, hadn’t realised that them doing it was important for me, or it had simply slipped their mind. It’s perfectly understandable: it’s “my” event, not theirs.

Another example is when I started sending out my “forwardable e-mails” (lesson #3 is about them), most people stopped at “well, I’m not a freelancer” or “I can’t come”. It took some explaining to make sure they understood that the **main** reason I was sending them the e-mail was that they *might know somebody* who would like to come to the event, or who could blog about it, or help with promoting it. If I spared myself the personal conversation and just sent the e-mail, people were much less likely to really understand what I expected from them, even through it was spelled out in the e-mail itself.

And that was a big secondary lesson I learnt while preparing Going Solo: it’s not because people don’t get back to you, or don’t act, that they aren’t interested or don’t want to. The burden is on you to make it as easy as possible for them to help you.

Let’s continue on to the next lessons.

– **2. Blogs and Twitter are essential, but don’t neglect less sexy forms of communication: newsletter, press release, printable material.**

The first thing I did for Going Solo was to create [a blog](http://going-solo.net) and a [Twitter account](http://twitter.com/goingsolo). Getting a blog and Twitter account off the ground isn’t easy, and it took quite a lot of one-on-one communication (see lesson #1) (and [blogging here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/22/going-solo-venues-open-stage-and-link-love/)) to get enough people to link to them so that they started taking off.

But the lesson here is that **not everybody is on Twitter, and not everbody reads blogs**. We highly-connected types tend to forget that. It didn’t take me that long to get the feeling that I had “exhausted” my immediate, social-media-enabled network — meaning that all the people who knew me directly had heard what I was talking about, linked to stuff if they were going to, or registered for the event if they were interested.

So, here are some less “social media cutting-edge” forms of communication I used, most of them very late in the process (earlier next time):

– [an e-mail newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news)
– [printable (and printed) posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)
– a [press release](http://going-solo.net/press/) and other “old media focused” material

Some comments.

Our press release came out so late that we got no coverage at all from traditional media, bar [one exception](http://nouvo.ch/n-1279), which focused on how expensive the event was. This means Going Solo Lausanne is a great case study of successful event promotion entirely through social media.

When I [created the newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/), I spent a lot of time following lesson #1 and inviting people personally to sign up, through IM most of the time. I sent out invitations through the Google Groups interface, of course (to the extent that I got [flagged as a potential spammer](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/05/01/google-groups-pain-in-the-neck/)). But I also went through the process of inviting people directly through IM.

A word of warning about newsletters: don’t *add* people to your newsletter unless you’ve checked beforehand that they were OK with it, or if you have a *very* good reason to do so (they are the speakers/attendees for your event) — but even then, it can be risky. I was recently added to a bunch of mailing-lists without having asked for it, rather than invited, and I find it really annoying. It’s way more impolite to unsubscribe from a newsletter than refuse an invitation to subscribe, so adding people can put them in an embarrassing situation (be impolite vs. be annoyed at getting newsletters one doesn’t want).

– **3. Don’t expect “viral” or “[organic](http://epeus.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-organic-not-viral.html)” spreading of your promotion to happen, but prepare the field so it can: the forwardable e-mail.**

There is so much talk about the fact that social media allows things to *spread* all by themselves (and indeed, there is an important potential for that, and when it happens, it’s very powerful) — that we tend to expect it to happen and be disappointed when it doesn’t. And let’s face it, it’s not something that we can control (sorry for stating the obvious again, I’m doing that a lot in this post) and it takes quite a bit of skill to create the right conditions so that it *may* happen.

So, now that we’ve set our expectations, what can be done to *help things spread*? I mentioned having exhausted my immediate network higher up, so I needed to come up with a solution which would help me reach beyond it. How could I get my friends to mention Going Solo to *their* friends?

Of course, our use of social media in general allows that. Blogs, Facebook Groups and Events, sidebar badges… all this is material which *can* spread. But again — what about the people who aren’t bathing in social media from morning to evening?

**Back to basics: e-mail.** E-mail, be it under the shape of a newsletter, a discussion list, or simple personal messages, has a huge advantage over other forms of online communication: you’re sure people know how to use it. It’s the basic, level 0 tool that anybody online has and understands.

So, I started sending out e-mail. A little bit of *push* is good, right? I composed a rather neutral e-mail explaining what Going Solo was about, who it was for, giving links to more information, and a call to action or two. I then sent this impersonal text to various people I knew, with a personal introduction asking them to see if they knew anybody who could be interested in information about this event, and inviting them to forward the message to these people. Nothing extraordinary in that, right?

I of course applied lesson #1 (you’re starting to know that one, right?) and tried as much as possible to check on IM, beforehand, if it was OK for me to send the “forwardable e-mail” to each person. So, basically, no mass-mailing, but an e-mail written in such a way that it was “forwardable” in a “here’s what my friend Steph is doing, could interest you” way, which I passed along as a follow-up to a direct chat with each person.

In a more “social media” spirit, of course, make sure that any videos you put online can easily be shared and linked to, etc. etc — but that will be pretty natural for anybody who’s familiar with blogging and “being online”.

– **4. Go where people are. Be everywhere.**

Unless your event is already very well known, you need to go to people, and not just wait for them to come to you. If you’ve set up a blog, Twitter account, newsletter, then you have a place where people can come to you. But that’s not enough. You need to [go where people are](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/):

– Facebook
– Upcoming
– LinkedIn
– Xing
– MySpace
– Pownce
– Seesmic
– Existing communities big and small… (blogs, forums, chatrooms)

Again, this is a very basic principle. But it’s not because it’s basic that it’s invalidated by the magic world of social media. Where you can create an event, create an event (Upcoming, Facebook, Pownce, Rezonance — a local networking thingy); where you can create a group, create a group — I waited a lot before creating a [Facebook group for Going Solo](http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=12748128087), because I had a [fan page for it](http://www.facebook.com/pages/Going-Solo-being-a-freelancer-in-a-connected-world/13470503249) already, but as you can see the group worked much better.

– **5. It’s a full-time job.**

Honestly, I didn’t think I’d spend *weeks* doing nothing else but send e-mails, update Facebook pages, blog, send e-mails, talk to people, IM, tweet, e-mail again… to promote Going Solo. It’s a huge amount of work. It’s so much work that one could imagine having somebody full time just to do it. So when you’re (mainly) a one-person shop, it’s important to plan that a significant amount of your time might be spent on promotion. It’s easy to underestimate that (I did, and in a major way).

Working this way doesn’t scale. At some point, one-on-one communication takes up too much time and energy to compensate for the benefits it brings over more impersonal forms of communication. But that only happens once your event is popular enough. Before you’ve held your first event (which was the situation I was in with Going Solo Lausanne), you don’t have a community of advocates for your work, you don’t have fans (you might have personal fans, but not fans of your event) or passionate attendees ;-), you don’t have other people doing your work for you.

At the beginning, every person who hears about your event is the result of sweat and hard work. Hopefully, at some point it’ll take off and you’ll start seeing more and more people [blogging about the event you’re organising](http://del.icio.us/steph/goingsolo+coverage) — but even then, it might take a while before you can just sit back and watch things happen. But in case this moment comes earlier than planned, you’re all set: you have a blog, a Twitter account, a Facebook group and a newsletter. Until then, though, you’re going to be stuck on IM and sending out e-mails.

**A few last words**

I hope that by sharing these lessons with you, I’ll have contributed to making things a little easier for somebody else in the same situation I was. You’ll have understood that I haven’t tried to be exhaustive about how to use social media for promotion — indeed, I’ve skipped most of the “advanced” stuff that is more often spoken about.

But I think it’s easy to get so taken up with the “latest and greatest” tools out there that we forget some of the basic stuff. I, for one, was guilty of that initially.

Also, one thing I haven’t spoken about is *how* to talk to people. Of course, some of what you’re doing is going to be impersonal. Own up to it, if you’re mass e-mailing. Don’t pretend to be personal when you aren’t — it’s hypocritical, doesn’t come across well, and can be smelled a mile away.

I haven’t quite finished reconciling my practical experience with how I believe things “should” work. I’ve learnt a lot, but I certainly haven’t figured everything out yet. I would have wanted to do a lot more, but time simply wasn’t available, so I tried to prioritize. I made choices, and some of them were maybe mistakes. But overall, I’m happy with how things went and what I learnt.

If you have had similar experiences, I’d be really happy to hear from you. Likewise, if you disagree with some of the things I’ve written, or think I’m wrong on certain counts, do use the comments. I’m open to debate, even though I’m a bit hard-headed ;-).

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Lots of Going Solo News [en]

[fr] Des nouvelles de Going Solo. Plein de nouveau! Mais pas le courage d'écrire en français. Au pire, filez sur la page presse où vous trouverez de la documentation en français au sujet de la conférence.

Gosh, I can’t remember when I posted the last Going Solo update on this blog. The conference is in less than a week! I can’t believe it.

You should really, really, really subscribe to the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net) to keep up with what’s going on on that front, or [sign up for the newsletter](http://groups.google.com/group/going-solo-news) if you’d rather get an e-mail every now and again.

Yes, [Going Solo finally has a newsletter](http://going-solo.net/2008/04/30/going-solo-has-a-newsletter/)! And [posters](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/more-cutting-edge-promotion-tools-posters/)! And [an agenda](http://going-solo.net/programme), [speaker interviews](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/01/interviews-of-going-solo-speakers-by-smallbizpod/), a [bunch of great sponsors and partners](http://going-solo.net/sponsors) (attendees will have a chance to [win a FreshBooks Shuttle Bus package](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/08/freshbooks-win-a-free-shuttle-bus-package/), [get MOO goodies](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/09/moo-goodies-for-everyone/), and even [see men in white](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/03/media-partner-the-next-web/). If you’re having trouble keeping track of where to find Going Solo online, [this round-up post](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/04/going-solo-all-over-the-place/) should help you.

Oh, and we have [pre-conference and post-conference events organized](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/09/going-solo-off-programme-is-on/), quite a bit of bandwidth at the venue (wifi of course), and we’re all set to [film the sessions](http://going-solo.net/2008/05/09/videos-online-with-dailymotion-and-taxi-pub/) on the big day.

Phew. What am I missing? Oh yes, we’re going to be able to keep [registration open](http://going-solo.net/registration) this week (the kind people at the Albatros-Navigation are flexible enough to allow us to do that). I need to write a note about that on the Going Solo blog. And we have a [press page](http://going-solo.net/press) where you can download shiny PDFs both in French and English.

Funnily, my stress levels are going down these days. I mean, we’re almost all set, aren’t we? I might bite my tongue for saying that these next days, though…

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Educational Versus Inspirational Events [en]

[fr] Going Solo vise à être une conférence qui non seulement donne de l'inspiration, mais qui enseigne également. Du coup, préparer le programme ne consiste pas simplement à trouver des orateurs pouvant faire des présentations autour d'un thème donné, mais ressemble beaucoup plus à la préparation d'un plan d'études: il y a tant de matière à couvrir, et il faut trouver les bonnes personnes pour le faire.

It was clear to me from the start, when I started imagining [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/), that the programme would be built in such a way as to cover a range of topics I thought were relevant. What I didn’t realize is that this is quite different from having a conference/event “theme” and hunting for speakers who have something to say around that theme.

I’ve many times tried to express that although Going Solo is not a workshop or a training session, it is training-like, but I never quite seemed to find a way to explain this clearly. I wanted to say “yes, it’s a conference, but the aim is for people to learn stuff they can use when they walk out.” I think I’ve nailed it now, though: Going Solo is educational more than inspirational.

Most conferences I go to fall in the “inspirational” category. Of course, I learn things there, but mainly, I am inspired, or lifted (if the conference is LIFT). When I planned my Open Stage speech to present Going Solo to the audience at LIFT (watch the video), I wanted it to be inspirational. It’s not a video that teaches you anything, but that inspires you to attend Going Solo (and it did indeed inspire people!)

Even if the conference theme is more technical, and the sessions actually teach you stuff, most often it is a series of related sessions grouped together around a given theme. Reboot is a perfect example of how a theme is used to collect all sorts of contributions.

Not so for Going Solo. Putting together the [programme for Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/programme/sessions/) feels much more like being in charge of defining the teaching programme for an academic year (only it’s a day, thank goodness, not a year). At the end of the day, I want the programme to have covered this, that and that. I try to organize the content into sessions, and then I talk with my speakers to see who can cover what.

I’m realizing now that this is the difficult bit — and as a speaker myself, I should have thought of this before. “Speaker topics” do not necessarily match “Steph-defined sessions” — which means I need to go back and reshuffle my sessions (perfectly doable, but it’s more work) to avoid overlaps and important topics slipping through the cracks.

Has anybody had similar experiences? And for any people reading who speak at conferences, if you agree on a topic with the chair and you’re asked to make sure your talk covers aspects x, y and z of the topic, does it make you feel micro-managed? Or is it something that happens regularly?

Partial cross-post from the Going Solo blog. Also on the Going Far blog.

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Becoming a Professional Networker: Tags in Address Book OSX Needed! [en]

[fr] Besoin, de toute urgence: plugin Address Book.app permettant de taguer ses contacts.

For some time now, I’ve been aware that I’m becoming a professional networker. Almost all I do to promote [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net), for example, relies on my reputation and the connections I have to other people.

Now, I’ve never been somebody to collect contacts just for the sake of collecting contacts, but until [LeWeb3 last year](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/12/news-from-leweb3/), I had just been content with butterflying around and stacking business cards somewhere near by desk. At LeWeb3, when I started telling people about Going Solo, I also started realising that the people I met and contacts I made were going to have more importance for my business than before.

And if I’ve learnt something during these last two months, it’s the importance of getting back to people. I’ve figured out how [iGTD and GMail](http://seesmic.com/v/32zdGimgth) can play nice together to help me with that, but it’s not sufficient. I need to keep track of who I’ve asked what, of who can help me with what, who has this or that connection. And yes, I have too many people in my business network to keep everything in my head.

As I explain in the video above, the lovely [Cathy Brooks](http://www.otherthanthat.com/) put me on the right track: use Address Book.app. I don’t really need to keep all the contact details related to a person close at hand (ie, phone number, e-mail, etc.) because I have that in LinkedIn, Facebook, GMail address book, or on business cards. I’m not interested in keeping an exhaustive repository of all the contact details of all the people I’ve met. What I’m interested in, however, is keeping the names of these people somewhere I can attach meaningful information to them.

Where we met. What we talked about. Stuff that’ll help me remember who people are.

So, I started simply adding names (Firstname Lastname) into my OSX address book, along with a few words in the Notes field. The nice thing about the Notes field is that you don’t have to toggle edit mode on to add stuff in the Notes. So, of course, I started using the notes field to tag people. Not too bad (smart folders allow me to “pull out” people with a certain tag) but not great either, because tags get mixed up with notes, and it’s a bit clunky.

Somebody suggested I create a custom “Tags” field (a “Names” type field is fine). Unfortunately, though this looks like a good idea at first, it fails because you have to edit a contact each time you want to add tags. Also, you can’t create a smart folder based on the contents of that field — you need to search through the whole card. Clunky too.

I don’t know how to write Address Book plugins, but I know they exist, and I have an idea for a plugin that would save my life (and probably countless others) and which doesn’t seem very complex to build. If there’s anybody out there listening… here’s a chance to be a hero.

I want a “tag your contacts” plugin for Address Book.app. What would it do? Simple, add a “Tags” field that behaves similarly to the “Notes” field. That would allow me to separate notes and tags — they aren’t quite the same thing, don’t you agree?

In addition to that, the plugin could display a list of all contacts tagged “thisorthat” when you double-clicked the tag. That would be nice.

Does anybody else want this? Does it already exist? Would anybody be willing to build it? (If other people are interested, I’d be willing to suggest we pool some cash to donate to the kind person building this life-saving plugin.)

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Thinking About The Next Going Far Events [en]

[fr] Alors que je commence à penser aux conférences que j'organiserai après Going Solo, je me retrouve saisie par l'angoisse de la transparence. Même si je prêche l'authenticité et la transparence à mes clients, cela ne m'empêche pas d'être moi aussi sujette à la crainte d'en dire trop.

Je commence aussi à sentir le besoin de véritablement créer une entreprise. Il y a trop de travail pour moi seule. Je perçois quel devra être le profil de mon/mes associés: bon vendeur (je suis une bonne marketeuse, mais pas très douée pour clore et vendre), bon dans l'opérationnel, et qui ne rechigne pas aux tâches administratives. Il y en a probablement pour plus d'une personne, là. M'enfin, je réfléchis.

There hasn’t been much going on here, I have to admit, as I decided to postpone the actual incorporation of Going Far until Going Solo was off the ground. So, head over there (if that’s not where you’re coming from) to catch up, if necessary.

As Going Solo is taking shape, I’m really awed by how much support and how many positive responses and comments I’ve received, both from old friends and new contacts. It feels good to not be the only person to believe in what I’m doing. I have a great team of advisers, too, which has taken shape over these last months.

As I start thinking about the next events I want to organize, I find myself facing (once more) what I’m going to name “The Angst of Transparency”. Although I’m 100% sold on the idea of being transparent (the Cluetrain kool-aid and 8 years of blogging) I still find myself unsure about how much to say when business is at stake. It’s as if, when it came to myself and my own actions, I didn’t really believe what I was preaching to others. I find myself afraid, just like I sense others are afraid when I tell them transparency is the way to go. How transparent is too transparent?

I have a pretty good idea for what two (maybe three) of the next Going Far events are going to be. I’ve mentioned them in passing to a few people. I also have ideas for developing Going Solo, if the event on May 16th turns out to be the success it seems to be promising to be.

But I’m afraid to start blogging about this, on the one hand for fear of giving too much away and being overtaken (which in my right mind I find stupid), and on the other hand because it will set things in movement, and I’m already aware that there is not enough of me to deal with Going Solo itself — let alone get started on another two projects.

This is where I’m really starting to feel the need to create a company. I need other people on the boat with me. And I’m starting to see what kind of person/people I need to bring on board. I need a good salesperson. I’m good at marketing, but not so much at the actual selling/closing/getting the cash. I need somebody who’s good on the operational front, who actually gets things done, and doesn’t mind dealing with tasks like making sure people have paid, keeping track of what needs to be done when (that bit is project management, actually), and so on.

I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to go about finding that person or those people — but I guess having a clear “profile” in mind and making sure my advisers know what I’m looking for (and mentioning it here) is a good start. This isn’t a job ad, though. I’m far from there.

*Cross-posted from the Going Far blog.*

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Time to Sign Up for Going Solo [en]

[fr] Ça va commencer à être le dernier moment de vous inscrire pour Going Solo, si vous voulez profiter du prix de lancement. Aussi le dernier moment pour en parler autour de vous! C'est possible d'acheter des billets plus tard, bien sûr (et ça fera plus de sous pour l'événement si vous vous enregistrez plus tard) -- mais bon, ce serait dommage de laisser passer le délai.

Je ne serai pas dans le coin pour vous le rappeler à nouveau (serai offline jusqu'à la fin du week-end), donc c'est maintenant entre vos mains. Si vous connaissez des communautés de freelancers qui peuvent être intéressées par l'info, ne vous gênez pas pour la communiquer plus loin. Il y a quelques bons articles en français couvrant Going Solo -- fouillez dans ma collection de liens ou bien sur Wikio.

…and [plug it](http://going-solo.net/support). Earlier Bird prices (300CHF) [end this week-end](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/14/only-a-few-more-earlier-bird-days-left/), I wouldn’t want you or your readers to miss them (well, I’ll get more $$ for the event if you [register](http://going-solo.net/registration/) after the deadline, but I’m thinking of you too, see).

I’m really happy about how this is going. Much [coverage](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) (in four languages so far! want to add yours?) and a very encouraging number of registrations.

I’m going to be offline from tonight to the end of this week-end, so I won’t be around to remind you that time is slipping away. It’s in your hands now! If you know of any freelancer community who might be interested in the news, *please* pass it on to them. I’ve spent my last three days actively promoting Going Solo all over the place (I should write a blog post about it, because I think it’s an interesting case study on how to do the whole “social media” stuff right — at least, I hope I’m doing it right!) and I’m just “out”.

Next thing I need to concentrate on is polishing up a press and partner package (pretty PDF with all the relevant information neatly tied up together). Next week, when I come back.

I’m now wondering why I’m posting this on CTTS rather than the [Going Solo blog](http://going-solo.net) — I should probably cross-post it later. Opinions on that welcome. (I’m again stuck in a “where do I blog this?” phase).

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Pas Superwoman! [fr]

[en] I'm postponing the blogging seminar (similar to the surprisingly successful one I gave at LIFT08) I was planning to do at the end of this month. I can't both promote Going Solo and this seminar correctly at the same time -- there aren't enough hours in the day and I'm not Superwoman. If you're interested in such a seminar, get in touch -- and when I have enough interested people I'll set a date. In English or French!

Contrairement à l’image que certains me renvoient, je ne suis pas Superwoman. Et souvent, j’ai les yeux plus gros que le ventre.

Tout comme j’ai mis le [projet “livre”](/categories/livre/) un peu sur la touche pour me consacrer à des activités plus directement lucratives (vous savez que ce n’est que l’appât du gain qui me motive), je me rends compte que je n’arrive pas à faire la promotion de [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) (les inscriptions sont [ouvertes](http://going-solo.net/registration/), profitez du tarif spécial de cette semaine de lancement) **et** faire également la promotion du [cours d’initiation aux blogs](http://start-blog.ch/) que je comptais organiser [le 26 de ce mois](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/02/05/cours-dinitiation-aux-blogs-le-26-fevrier/).

Vous noterez donc l’usage subtil de l’imparfait dans la phrase précédente, qui vous indique que je reporte ce cours. Comme je l’ai déjà écrit ou du moins dit, les personnes qui vont s’intéresser à ce cours ne sont probablement pas des lecteurs de ce blog. Cela demande donc que je fasse de la pub plus “active” que ce dont j’ai l’habitude — et en ce moment, j’avoue que [promouvoir Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support/) me prend toute mon énergie (je passe les négociations avec les partenaires, un nouvel afflux de [demandes de conférences](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/conferences/), voyages prévus et [conférences à l’étranger](http://stephanie-booth.com/en/speaking/), sans compter que je n’ai encore quasi rien blogué au sujet de Going Solo en français, bref).

Donc, plutôt que de faire les choses mal, que de persévérer à vouloir maintenir une date parce que je l’ai fixée, je préfère carrément la faire sauter (parce que, regardons les choses en face, avec le peu de pub que je vais pouvoir faire, le cours ne sera pas assez plein, et je vais devoir faire sauter de toute façon).

Sur le concept, par contre, je persiste et signe. Mon [workshop à LIFT](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging) (exactement la même chose, mais en anglais) a suscité un nombre tout à fait satisfaisant d’inscriptions et de participants (pas forcément les mêmes) — d’autant plus pour une conférence branchée “technologie” comme LIFT — et la formule a parfaitement fonctionné. Retours très positifs de la part des participants (même ceux qui n’avaient pas amené leur ordinateur, un comble!) et une invitation à donner ce genre de séminaire à la Réunion (j’y réfléchis sérieusement, ça peut être sympa d’allier le profitable à l’agréable).

Voici comment on va procéder (j’ai mis à jour [la page des séminaires](http://blog-start.ch) pour refléter ça): les personnes intéressées me le font savoir. Je garde une liste de ces personnes. Quand il y en a assez pour organiser un cours (disons, 6), j’organise. Et pour ceux qui auraient des besoins urgents de [cours de blog](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/cours/), on peut toujours s’arranger.

Sur ce, la Pas-Superwoman va aller s’occuper de sa pile d’e-mails, et se nourrir. A plus, et n’oubliez pas de [promouvoir Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/support) autour de vous. Si, si — ça me rend grandement service!

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Busy! [en]

[fr] Je cours, je cours! Pas mal de nouveau sur le site de Going Solo. J'espère mettre les billets en vente dès mercredi!

Gosh, have I been busy these last weeks. My “one post a day minimum” resolution kind of evaporated when I started [running all around town](http://going-solo.net/2008/01/21/venue-stories/) looking at venues for Going Solo.

Well, [we have a venue](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/the-venue/) now, and today I spent a fair amount of time playing with [Expectnation](http://expectnation.com) to try and get it ready to [open registration](http://going-solo.net/registration/) less than two days from now (fingers crossed).

We also have
badges to display in your sidebar (thanks, [Carlos](http://design.osez.ch/)!) and [more content on the Going Solo site](http://going-solo.net/2008/02/04/more-like-an-event-site/). [Pulled the badges after some feedback. New ones soon!]

I also seem to have found our fourth speaker, which I’m quite excited about (no, not telling — both parties are going to chew on it a little before we make it offical).

Now, I just need to sleep, prepare my [workshop](http://www.liftconference.com/get-started-blogging), rehearse my [Open Stage speech](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world), announce the Lausanne [blogging seminar](http://stephanie-booth.com/fr/particuliers/initiation/) for 26th February and figure out how to market it.

Uh-oh! Night night everybody.

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Going Solo Venues, Open Stage, and Link Love [en]

[fr] Sur le site de Going Solo, vous trouverez le récit de mon après-midi passée à visiter des salles de conférences à Lausanne. Ma proposition d'Open Stage pour LIFT'08 semble avoir du succès mais a encore besoin de vos votes.

Je me pose ensuite des tas de question sur les raisons pour lesquelles Going Solo ne semble pas attirer plus l'attention des blogueurs. Est-ce trop tôt? Pas assez d'informations? Ai-je épuisé mon capital social? Est-ce que tout le monde pense que les autres s'en chargent?

Pour que des personnes en-dehors de mon réseau direct puissent entendre parler de Going Solo et s'y intéresser, j'ai besoin de votre aide. Voici la (modeste) collection de liens couvrant Going Solo. Julien a parlé plusieurs fois de Going Solo en français (merci!), mais je crois que c'est à peu près tout côté couverture francophone. Oui, la conférence est en anglais. Mais vos lecteurs francophones ne sont pas tous nécessairement anglophobes, ni les personnes qu'ils connaissent à leur tour.

Que ce soit clair: je ne veux forcer la main à personne. Si vous trouvez Going Solo inutile ou même bête, ne perdez pas votre temps à en parler (ou mieux, en fait, racontez pourquoi vous pensez ainsi, ça m'intéresse). Mais si vous désirez soutenir cette conférence et que ce n'est visible nulle part sur votre blog... Prenez un petit moment pour ça.

Et si vous avez un éclairage à offrir concernant ma difficulté permanent à "rallier" les gens autour des choses que je fais (pas les choses que je blogue, hein, celles que je fais), je suis toute ouïe. Merci d'avance.

Just a note to say I’ve published [a blog post on hunting for venues for Going Solo](http://going-solo.net/2008/01/21/venue-stories/) (yes, on the Going Solo blog — what? you haven’t subscribed yet? what are you waiting for?). If you have any thoughts on the points I raise there, go ahead.

In the good news departments, it seems [my open stage proposal about organizing a conference for freelancers](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world) is attracting interest. It still needs votes though, so if you [want to help make sure I hit the big stage](http://www.liftconference.com/lift08-community-program-propositions#openstage) and you are going to attend LIFT, be sure to [vote](http://www.liftconference.com/going-solo-being-freelancer-connected-world). (Every vote counts. Thanks.)

*Prepare for slight digression.*

For some reason, I seem to always have trouble motivating people to “spread the word” about stuff I’m doing. There seems to be a disconnect between the picture people send back to me (“Oh, you have so much *traction*, you’re so influent, etc.”) and what actually happens when I try to get the word out about something.

I usually don’t have this problem when it’s somebody else’s stuff. If I sign up for your nice new shiny 2.0 service and like it, I’m going to convince dozens of people to sign up. Twitter. Dopplr. Seesmic. It’s even happening with offline stuff like [the neti pot](http://steph.wordpress.com/2008/01/19/morning-rituals/).

I guess one of the issues is that I’m not really comfortable promoting my own stuff. Some people seem to have no problem doing that — I always feel like I should shut up, and if what I’m doing is really worthwhile, other people will pick it up and blog about it. On the other hand, I am pretty comfortable [page-slapping](http://joi.ito.com/archives/2003/08/10/page_slapping.html) people with my own writings.

So, what is it? Do people underestimate the support I need from the community? Am I one of those annoying people who [ask for too much and don’t give enough](http://www.horsepigcow.com/2007/11/24/you-may-be-a-community-freeloader-if-you/)? Do I squander my social capital? Is the stuff I do so lame that nobody has any interest in talking about it? Am I simply just “missing” a little something somewhere that I still haven’t figured out? Am I just not active enough in self-promoting?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about my [technorati ranking](http://technorati.com/search/climbtothestars.org) or about the fact that some of my blog posts have already been around the world three times (my stuff on [MySQL encoding problems](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/18/converting-mysql-database-contents-to-utf-8/) and [multiple WordPress installations](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/09/02/scripts-for-a-wordpress-weblog-farm/) have remained popular for years — the latter with spammers, maybe, I’m afraid). It’s more about *stuff I do* as opposed to *stuff I write*.

Take [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net). I know I haven’t really started pushing it out there, because we don’t have branding yet and the price isn’t quite set. But still. When I [announced it here on CTTS](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/12/14/announcing-going-solo/) (and before that, when I [said I was starting a company](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/11/13/im-starting-a-company/)), a lot of people stopped by to leave an encouraging comment or send me a nice tweet. I really appreciated it.

Now, not trying to make anybody feel bad here, but here’s [the coverage of Going Solo](http://del.icio.us/steph/coverage+goingsolo) that I’ve been able to round up (or the [technorati cosmos](http://s.technorati.com/going-solo.net). I’m getting into the habit of bookmarking any “coverage” links, because they’re easy to find on the moment, but 6 months later you can forget about it.

Is it because I haven’t explicitly said “Going Solo needs your link love”? (If that’s it, I’m saying it now.) Is it because it’s “too early) — ie, people are waiting for the venue to be set, the full programme to be announced, sidebar badges to be available and the tickets to be on sale? I personally don’t think it’s necessary to wait that long. I’m convinced Going Solo is going to be a really useful event for many freelancers out there. I want to get the word out and create interest for it, also outside my immediate network. And for that, I need you. You’re the only people who can help me reach “outside my network”. Or maybe I’m being difficult, naive, or expecting too much?

I’d like to understand what’s happening. I’d like more people to talk about Going Solo and try to promote it to their networks, of course, but my main issue here is understanding. So any insight will be… more than welcome. If you think Going Solo is worthwhile, but you haven’t blogged about it, it would help me if you left a comment to tell me why you haven’t (yet, hopefully!) blogged about it. Again — I’m not asking for justifications, just insight from “the other side of the fence”.

This week-end, as I was hurrying to get [my LIFT workshop](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/19/lift08-workshop-get-started-with-blogging/) out of the door, I was astonished (in a disappointed sort of way) to see how few people had come up with proposals for LIFT. I know people wait until the last minute to do it, but I also realised that I hadn’t really blogged about LIFT this year. I guess I was thinking that it was so popular anyway, a blog post of mine wouldn’t really make much difference. “The others” were already blogging about it.

Then I took a step back and thought of [Going Solo](http://going-solo.net) — how my frustration that people weren’t talking about it more. So I wrote a blog post to tell people it was [the last minute to send a contribution to LIFT](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2008/01/20/very-last-moment-to-propose-a-contribution-for-lift08/). Did anybody make one because I blogged about it, I wonder?

So, done with the angst-ridden rambling. I welcome your comments. And Going Solo needs your link love.

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