12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

12 Things I Learned Selling Beer

Many experiences in our lives turn into life lessons, if we allow them to. And who would’ve thought selling beer in San Diego would have so many lessons to impart.

After three years, I quit my corporate job in beverage sales. There were many reasons behind this decision of mine, of which I won’t bore you with, except that I chose to pursue what made me happy. And looking back on those years out at bars and sampling beers, I realized that it wasn’t all about the alcohol. Selling beer taught me some important lessons on self growth and professional development.

I can’t say the decision to quit was an easy one, nor was it the most responsible thing I’ve done, but looking back I’ve allowed those life lessons from my time in beverage sales to resonate into so many other aspects of my life. Lessons that I wouldn’t have learned had I stayed comfortably back at home in Pennsylvania or hadn’t challenged myself outside of my comfort zone.

So, with an elated heart here are

12 things I learned while selling beer:

1.) Question your daily basic principles frequently– don’t stick yourself in a rut

Consider what you will stand for & don’t allow others to convince you that you should act below a respectable level to hit a mark or sale. You will be left with an ‘icky’ feeling of having done something dishonorable, and it will come back to bite you in the toosh one day.

2.) You won’t get along with everyone, but you need to pretend to… and it’ll lead to you learning how to understand others

You won’t get along or even like every person that you come into contact with, but that doesn’t mean every person you interact with doesn’t deserve your utmost respect & manners. No matter age, race, religion or political beliefs, every individual has something to offer to the world, and being open to everyone will help you understand the motives of those around you.

3.) Goals are great, but don’t set huge ones you can never achieve.  Aspire, but realistically.

While this isn’t the most inspirational thing I learned, it was important for me. Don’t compare your own success to others. Just because someone was able to accomplish X in a short period of time, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same. There are variables in every situation, and you may have little to no understanding of the work it took for them him/her to get to where they are. You can use others success to motivate yourself, but focus on your own growth & goals.

4.) Hateful words said to you are often not said towards you, they are said due to someone else’s anger, distrust or lack of people skills.  Don’t worry what they think & don’t internalize criticism

This was a big one for me to accept. I’ve lost count of the times a bar manager yelled at me or call me something inappropriate to my face when all I did was greeted them with a ‘Good afternoon!’. At first I was heartbroken. I wasn’t used to someone not liking me or being such rudeness. But after taking the time to consider how to handle these situations I learned that when someone gives you sass or lashes out at you, it is not a direct correlation of you OR your work. It’s more often a reflection of a personal issue of their own showcasing itself outwardly to others.

I’m a sensitive person by nature. I’ve found myself crying after someone has yelled at me & I’ll brew over a single comment made by a friend or colleague for days until I resolve it with them. And I’ve learned that internalizing that criticism will only brew up anxious & negative feelings that won’t serve any purpose in your personal or work life.

Take those hurtful words or actions & let them runoff of you. Be your own water resistant self that deflects negativity.

5.) When you’re focused on delivering great value, rather than hitting a personal number you will be successful.  Change your perception from high numbers to high value & people will perceive you more positively.

Numbers are great ways to evaluate your progress, but they aren’t everything. People are fairly easy to read and when you are focused on numbers & not people or feelings it shows, and they’ll most likely show it right back to you. Focus on the quality of work you deliver and the numbers will follow.

6.) Keep going in the face of adversity.

Not everyone will like you. No matter how sweet or outgoing or polite you may be. Like the saying “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” (from Dita Von Teese). If someone doesn’t like you it doesn’t mean you should (a) avoid them or (b) not do your job. Power through the uncomfortable feelings of dislike and you’ll find even greater value in the feeling of surpassing adversity

7.) Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, it’s good for your growth.

Comfort zones are boundaries that are meant to be pushed, adjusted & expanded on. Talking to strangers, discussing things you know next to nothing about, or having to re-negotiate terms are uncomfortable things to do, but once you do it & find that the worse thing that can happen is not that bad, you’ll see how much more of the world is available to you.

8.) Don’t procrastinate.

If you think avoiding something will make it go away, it won’t. Bite the bullet & take care of the task(s) you’re avoiding. You’ll end up feeling much better getting it over with, and find time for more exciting and fun things to do.

9.) Embrace your failures & learn from them.

We aren’t perfect beings. We make mistakes. But it’s important to accept the mistake, take the blame if necessary and adapt. This will make you a better person, a better employee and be someone that others respect.

10.) Sales experience comes in many different forms.

Everyone is a salesperson. Just because you don’t have a direct job in sales, doesn’t mean you aren’t selling something. You may have to pitch ideas for date nights to your significant other, sell the idea of why you need that new gadget or next trip, justify to the clerk why the coupon should be accepted, and even see through the sales funnel of lack luster deals or products.

11.) Learn to define your priorities.

There are only 24 hours in the day. While eight of them should be slated for rest, three for eating, maybe one for working out and meditation/self development, that leaves about 12 hours left in your day. Now, I hope you aren’t working your job for 12 hours a day, so prioritize your time and tasks.

Learning to prioritize will help you get more done with less work, complete work that will move the needle for your work or business, and give you time to focus on what makes you happy.

12.) Focus on the big picture.

Ask yourself, what purpose does this serve? Is it worth my time? Will it move the needle?

These questions will help you prioritize and avoid procrastination (as I listed above), and will also help you understand what is worth your time. As I mentioned before, there are only 24 hours in a day. If what you’re doing right now isn’t part of your big picture of success, then re-evaluate where it should be (or shouldn’t be) in your life.

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Review of Travelcon

Review of Travelcon

Review of Travelcon

An honest review of travel bloggings newest annual conference, Travelcon

Note: this post contains affiliate links to products we love and have purchased ourselves on Amazon. Clicking these links doesn’t cost you any extra money, and you’re supporting us by doing so. You can view our disclosure page for additional details.

It feels like the past year (2018-2019) has been THE year for selling online courses. The amount of times I have signed up for a free webinar to gain some insight that turned into a 45 minute session describing how desperate we all must be and how wealthy we’ll all of a sudden become by spending $15,000 on this epicly life changing course… would amount to too many hours wasted. So I get it, spending your hard earned money on a course or a conference can create a hesitating, stomach churning ‘I need to be able to pay rent this month’ effect.

This review of Travelcon 2018 will provide clarity from an honest, unbiased opinion from someone (me!) who attended the conference.

Travelcon is a travel blogger conference that is gearing up for its second run. Below are details about what the conference entailed last year, what I found to be the pros and cons, and how it could benefit travel bloggers who consider themselves beginners, intermediate or advanced at their craft. Lastly, we’ll cover what to expect for 2019’s Travelcon Conference.

What is Travelcon?

Travelcon is a travel bloggers conference put on by the well-known & successful travel blogger, Nomadic Matt (aka Matthew Kepnes). It connects travel bloggers, writers, photographers, videographers in all stages of their blogging journey from beginner to advanced with industry leaders, brands and well-established bloggers. The primary goal of Travelcon stands alone in its pursuit to help others learn how to develop a profitable & successful travel blog (because not every travel blog may be pursuing profits, success is accepted in many different forms).

What does Travelcon include?

2018: Travelcon’s flagship conference was held in 2018 in Austin, Texas. The conference was three full days of inspiring keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities.

  • Each day began & ended with an inspiring and unique keynote speaker, many of which were individuals whose books I had read and/or heard about, such as Ryan Holiday & Rolf Potts.
  • Breakout sessions from morning through the afternoon, lasting one hour each, and varying in topic and level (beginner, intermediate & advanced), which were run by industry leaders in their niche
  • A Blogger Marketplace: an exhibition room where PR firms, brands, tourism boards and more were set up to showcase themselves. Attendees were able to walk around & speak to each table within the blogger marketplace. It was great for networking & discovering what their qualifications are for partnering with a travel blogger
  • Evening events: each evening there was a scheduled outing of some kind, with each one being different and located at Austin city favorites. One evening was an open bar night, the other a light buffet with a drink ticket. *Lunches were provided each day, two of which were at the hotel venue, the other a local favorite food truck
  • Afternoon Meetup: one afternoon was sectioned off for group meetups. Attendees had the option to choose which meetup group to attend based on their niche; Superstar Bloggers, Female travel, Solo travel, etc. Each was held at a different Austin bar.
  • Discounted travel related outings the day before the conference started. I flew in too late in the day to attend these, so I cannot speak to the quality of them but seemed like a fun option to explore the city & meet attendees prior to the conference starting.

Pros & Cons of Travelcon 2018

Pros of attending Travelcon:

  • The entire conference was very well organized: I was very impressed with the organizational flow as it was its first year. I’ve attended work related conferences for years & always had an opinion on how it could be better organized, so this was the first time I was very happy with a conference schedule
  • Everyone was friendly & welcoming! With the exception of a handful of people, almost everyone I met or introduced myself to was so friendly, welcoming and warm. No matter your success level, the people in attendance were excited to be there.
  • Networking opportunities: from the daily sessions to the evening events, it was pretty easy to network and make connections with fellow travel lovers, those already successful in the industry and outside of it
  • Plenty of opportunities to meet the decision makers behind destination & travel brands
  • Variety of session topics & placement levels: the variety was amazing & each session provided great insight on current best practices & trends
  • Three FULL days where attendees can select their own schedule: this goes along with variety, but it was awesome being able to choose which sessions to attend based on what I wanted/needed to learn about
  • Not every speaker was in the travel industry: this provided us even greater insight & allowed listeners to think outside of the box
  • The Travelcon App: they created an app for the conference, and it was stellar. You could access the schedule and they used it to send out updates, in addition to other tools within it
  • Not once did I feel sold to: each session was solely aiming to help educate & support us, as opposed to self promotion which I’ve experienced elsewhere. Very refreshing!
  • Meal options were vegetarian friendly! I’ll be the first to admit I’m a picky vegetarian eater, and I was happily surprised when I found out that the lunches provided had MULTIPLE vegetarian options

Cons of attending Travelcon:

  • It was difficult to reserve spaces in the writing & photography workshops as they filled up so quickly — within minutes of opening them — however they did their best to alleviate this by adding a few additional workshops, it appears that they’ve added more of these in 2019’s schedule
  • Not every speaker was in the travel industry *yes, I’m using this in both pros & cons, so some had difficulty understanding the issues travel bloggers face when questions were asked

There were at least five sessions during each hour, so attendees have to choose among quite a few highly desirable sessions. The solution to this is that you can purchase a Virtual Pass, so that you can watch the sessions (for one year after the event!) in your own free time. I purchased a Virtual Pass for that reason & found value in being able to watch the sessions afterwards.

Get your Travelcon Virtual Pass Here!

Does Travelcon benefit beginner, intermediate or advanced travel bloggers?

In my opinion, Travelcon can benefit travel bloggers in any stage of their success. No matter how developed a travel blogger you are, attending Travelcon will leave you feeling inspired & ready to crush it, plus the networking opportunities are great if you’re up for putting yourself out there.

Beginners: I attended Travelcon after starting my blog only eight months prior, and really not spending much time on it. As a beginner travel blogger, attending Travelcon will open your eyes to what is available to you when you begin to succeed, as well as what skills you need to learn to get there. Don’t worry about not fitting in, or not knowing enough, or not feeling ‘ready’!

Intermediate: Travelcon is a wonderful place to develop your skills. If you’ve been blogging for sometime Travelcon is a great conference to fill in any gaps and push yourself to network.

Advanced: The successful travel bloggers I spoke to left saying that they enjoyed Travelcon as well. Networking feels key to an advanced blogger, and is a great place to showcase your personal brand to new people & find further inspiration

What to expect from Travelcon 2019:

This year Travelcon will be located in a different city, Boston, Massachusetts, and still focus on its main goal of educating travel bloggers. The 2019 schedule is now live and appears to be similarly set up as the 2018 schedule (yay! Because last years schedule flowed very well). Travelcons 2019 attendees can expect even more amazing keynote speakers like author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson, popular female travel blogger, Kiersten Rich, of The Blonde Abroad and the freaking founder of Lonely Planet, Tony Wheelers! There appears to be more breakout sessions and registration required workshops, as well as additional panel discussions. The schedule also sneakily added in there a surprise musical act during one of the evening parties… fingers crossed Matt has enough pull to have the Backstreet Boys perform for us travelers.

Understanding that the price tag of attending this conference may seem a bit high for your budget. In comparison to my experience of others attempting to sell me online courses upwards of $8,000-$15,000, this was the most beneficial item I spent my time & money on in regards to my travel blog in 2018 (besides purchasing my domain & hosting services, haha). If you’re still hesitant to take the leap, then I would definitely suggest you purchase a virtual pass for the conference. You can purchase it right here. Using this link will help Blue Eyed Compass to continue to share helpful & carefully curated content.

Here’s to hoping for an international Travelcon in the future!

Still not convinced? You can firm up your skills with one of Nomadic Matt’s travel blogger courses. I can speak highly of the blogging & photography course. Plus if you use this link, you’ll help Blue Eyed Compass’s goals to share with others how to travel sustainably.

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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Visiting the Belize Zoo

Visiting the Belize Zoo

Visiting the Belize Zoo

Why it’s worth a visit (even if you don’t like zoo’s)

The Belize Zoo is a safe haven for orphaned, injured, or misused animals local to Belize. I’m not a fan of zoos or animal encounters, as so many contain animals in unnatural habitats, living in cement cages, who were ripped from their parents and paid for for human enjoyment. So, I make sure to do research prior to contributing any funds towards something that could potentially endanger or threaten the quality of life for an animal. With this being said, the Belize Zoo is a gem of a place for the creatures it houses.

The Belize Zoo started as a simple ‘backyard zoo’ to help house and protect animals that were used on film sets in the 1980’s. Today it protects animals only natural to Belize’s land in open enclosures (some of which the animals could very easily leave if they wanted to). It serves as a resource to the country as prior to the zoo existing many did not know of the species native to their country.

These native animals living at this zoo have come in naturally; meaning they weren’t paid for to complete a set of animals a guest might want to see. As I stated earlier, this place began on the premise that film set animals needed a refuge after being used for ‘work’ (another post for another time). Currently many of the animals are rescues of wildfires, hunting accidents/orphaned young, or injured due to loss of habitat.

How unique & precious are tapirs?!

They are very difficult to see in the world and are Belize’s national animal. To me, they look like a cross between an ant eater and a hippo.

While still hesitant to visit any zoo, no matter it’s rescue efforts as a cage is a cage to a wild animal, I really enjoyed how the areas that held the animals were much larger than what I’ve seen at any zoo in the United States (with the exception of the San Diego Safari Park).

There were also signs throughout the park educating guests not to pluck any plants, the need for these animals to remain wild and why these animals ended up at the Belize Zoo. And the staff here are caretakers, not just assigned trash pick up or queue directors.

If you find yourself in beautiful Belize and are able to, try to make time to contribute to the conservation efforts of the Belize Zoo with a visit. See for yourself and compare to others zoos that you have visited- if you’ve been there, what did you think? Would you agree with how they have built this place?

Hi! I’m Laura, a sustainable travel blogger, as well as freelancing online brand strategist. I share real & honest information about traveling, how to do so sustainably, and ways to earn an income while working remote.

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End Note regarding the Belize Zoo:

I do not endorse any zoo or animal encounters of any kind. I truly believe that animals should be kept in their natural habitat if possible.

Unfortunately, much of Belize land has been changing (tourism increases and buildings) that if an animal’s home is burned or destroyed their last option may be a zoo similar to Belize’s.

Please keep in mind that we are all entitled to our own opinions- if you disagree with mine or the words used in this post feel free to share, but in a respectful and kind manner.

*there is an option to pay to feed one of the jaguars; I’ll admit I had considered doing this (as jaguars are my favorite big cat) however we connected with someone who used to work at the zoo while on another tour and he told us that he didn’t agree with the direction these encounters were going — as you can now have the jaguar perform tricks (?!) While these animals are well protected and cared for, this type of ‘entertainment’ should not be an option. Pay to visit the zoo, but don’t fall for the trap of this kind of animal encounter.

If you’re planning a trip to Belize, check out my other blog posts on the most beautiful places to visit & the best things to do in Belize

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