You’ve probably come across an online quiz or seven where they ask if you’ve ever done this, if you’ve ever eaten that, or if you’ve ever visiting this place or that. You tally up your score and determine that you’ve still got a lot of the world to see, a lot of food to eat, and a lot of items to tick off your bucket list.
Even though I was born and raised right here in Vancouver, I’ve always wondered about how Canadian I really am. I mean, I enjoy poutine and beaver tails as much as the next hoser, but I can’t skate (I know, right?) and I’ve never actually been camping. That is, until another Canadian dad blogger thought it might be a good idea for us dads to go on a social media-fueled camping trip.
So, even though I’d never been really “camping” a single day in my life, I signed up, went on the thing, and I even shot a vlog documenting the whole thing. You can find more of our content by checking the #5DadsGoWild hashtag on Instagram and on Twitter. But from the perspective as a blogger, an online entrepreneur, and a business owner, what did I really learn from spending two nights in the middle of the forest with no electricity, no heat, no Wi-Fi, and no cell phone reception?
Find Your Tribe
Just because you work for yourself doesn’t mean you have to work by yourself. One of the most common misconceptions that people have about this business is that other bloggers, other YouTubers, other digital influencers and other online content creators are your competition. You’re competing against them for advertising dollars. You’re competing against them for search engine rankings. You’re competing against them for this or for that.
But the real truth of the matter is that you’ll all do a lot better if you all help and support one another. As we spent those chilly days and nights in the middle of the wilderness, we helped one another capture those perfect Instagram moments. When we posted our content online, we all helped to amplify the signal of all our posts.
A rising tide lifts all ships. And having the support of your tribe goes a long way in achieving that.
Less Is More (More or Less)
As this was our first time putting together an “event” like this, we weren’t really sure what to expect with #5DadsGoWild. The whole thing was little jury-rigged together and we were flying by the seats of our sponsored pants to see what could and could not work.
The net result is that we may have taken on more sponsors than we should have for the trip. We had considered all the things that we needed to make the event successful and we set out to find sponsors to support that mission. In hindsight, though, what this meant is that we extended our obligations a little too far and we probably would have been better off approaching fewer brands and asking for more from them.
There is that old Pareto principle again.
As mentioned, I’d never been camping before. I had no idea what I was doing in the middle of the woods, so I was leaning on the experience of some (really just one or two) of the other campers. At the end, I’m fairly certain we all overpacked for the occasion.
But as the Boy Scouts (and Scar from The Lion King, apparently) have taught us, you should always be prepared. Remember that we were far from proper civilization and we could hardly hop out to the local Walmart to pick up something we forgot. In this way, it was far better to bring something and not use it, than it would have been not to bring something and then desperately need it.
If nothing else, it provides peace of mind. And this certainly applies to the tools and resources of online business too.
No one ever grows from within their comfort zone. If you stick with what you know and what is safe, you’ll never actually get anywhere. It’s only when you put yourself in situations that make you a little (or very) uncomfortable, in situations that stretch you beyond your limits and test your ability to adapt, that you finally get to discover what you can really do.
I am in no way some expert camper now. And I would not at all be comfortable in leading a camping trip of my own any time soon. However, those two nights in the woods taught me a lot and I think I gained a lot from the experience. Scared to write and publish your first book? Too afraid to start shooting videos on YouTube? Frightened about getting started with affiliate marketing?
It’s okay to be scared, but it’s not okay not to try. What’s the worst that could happen? It’s not like you’ll be eaten by bears or anything, right?