What I Learned at World Domination Summit 2015: Part 1
I just returned from the most amazing weekend I’ve experienced in several years: the 2015 World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. I enjoyed five intense days of workshops, inspirational speakers, and world-record-breaking activities.
What is the World Domination Summit, you ask? It isn’t the sinister gathering that the title implies. Instead, WDS seeks to answer the question, “How do you live a remarkable life in a conventional world?” The conference attracts all kinds of unconventional people–world travelers, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, multipotentialites–and organizes them around the core values of community, adventure and service.
I’ll do my best to sum up the experience here.
Thursday, July 9th
Before and after the main conference, WDS hosts optional workshops filled with practical and actionable advice for business, language learning, and a variety of other topics.
How to Become a Location Rebel: Sean Ogle
My first workshop, held from 9:00 to 12:00, was with Sean Ogle of Location Rebel. I’ve listened to interviews with him and read some of Sean’s material in the past, so some of this information was review—but that can be a really helpful thing! Sean told his story of moving from the corporate world to the location independent world and discussed the myths about being a “Location Rebel.” He outlined a basic 4-step process for becoming location independent.
Misconceptions About Being a Location Rebel
- The myth of passion. Everyone tells you to “follow your passion,” but you’ll probably need to do something a little less exciting to start out with if you want to become location independent.
- The myth of travel. You don’t have to want to travel in order to become location independent. Maybe you just want more control over your own schedule, the option to work from home, more time with your family, or something else!
- The myth of difficulty. It may be hard to start with the “sexy” stuff/your passion, but it’s not really hard if you start with the less sexy stuff. Start on a more basic path.
The Four Step Process for a Location Independent Business:
- Build the right skills, including WordPress, SEO, fundamentals of design, copywriting, social media for business, and content marketing.
- Start a blog. It’s a great training ground for WordPress, connects you with like-minded people, and people will take you more seriously. List small milestones for starting your blog (e.g., select your host—I use BlueHost and love their customer service, reserve your domain name, install WordPress, install a theme, etc.). Don’t focus on over-arching goals. Keep it manageable. Decide what you want it to become.
- Freelance your skills. The benefits of doing this include developing the habit of consistency, generating cash (an income!), and thus boosting your confidence! Freelance a skill you’re confident with (for examples see #1). Create a freelance services website with a home page (including a nice logo—you can have one made for cheap on Fiverr), an about page including your photo and backstory which showcases your personality, a services page listing what you offer, a page with samples of your work and testimonials, and a contact page where you include (if possible) your phone number. Find clients at in-person meetups in your industry, by offering your services online, and by cold e-mailing prospective clients you find via an online search (build rapport first—it’s worth the extra time!).
- Build a passive income business, such as e-commerce, SaaS (software as a service), pro blogging, information products, etc. The easiest transition from freelancing to passive income business is with affiliate marketing. It is not hard to start once you’ve built up solid skills and an income as a freelancer.
Sean also recommends starting an LLC as soon as possible.
Sean Ogle really knows his stuff. If you have any interest in starting a location independent career I recommend checking out LocationRebel.com!
Language Lab: Benny Lewis
Of all the WDS Academies, this is the one I most looked forward to! I’ve been following Benny Lewis over on his blog, Fluent in 3 Months, for a couple of years now, and Keith and I have a lot in common with him beyond our mutual love of travel and languages. I highly recommend Benny’s book, Fluent in 3 Months, to anyone interested in learning any language at any level. As a former Spanish teacher I’ve taken college courses on language learning and read a lot on the subject, and Benny’s methods are hands down the best I have seen. I plan to implement his techniques ahead of my next trip to a country where I don’t already speak the language.
At the WDS Academy, Benny Lewis taught some of his techniques in the 1:00-4:00 session. Also, Scott Young conducted a wonderful and fascinating project called The Year Without English, and co-hosted the workshop. Here are some of my take-aways from the session:
- Successful language learners live the language. The persistent myth that children are better language learners exists because children learn languages differently from the way adults learn languages. They play and socialize, while adults isolate themselves with grammar books and other study materials. If adults would simply get out and play and socialize in the language like kids do, they would learn the language much faster.
- Immersion—or virtual immersion, if you’re not in the country where the language is spoken—is very important. Speak from day one. Don’t analyze the language, just take whatever you know and speak. Benny aims to make at least 200 mistakes per day because it means he is talking. Mistakes are your friend in language learning. Practice with speakers of the language—find them on italki—and just get started. Use a dictionary as needed to get started. Ask the experienced/native speakers to correct your mistakes.
- Scott used the “No English Rule” in his Year Without English project. For a year he learned 4 new languages for 3 months each, speaking only in the language of the country he was in (Spain, Brazil, China, Korea). While this may not be practical for most language learners, you can still designate some time each day to implement a “No English Rule” and communicate in your target language.
- Learning language is a social/communication challenge, not a learning challenge. In addition to imitating the language of the locals, imitate the cultural things. How do they act, dress, etc? Emulate them!
- Listen to radio stations in your target language for listening practice. Visit tunein.com to access every streaming radio station in the world. Google the lyrics for music you listen to.
- Read comic books and kids’ books (in other words, books with a lot of visual content) for additional practice in the language.
- Start out with a “me-specific” script in your target language—phrases you specifically want to learn. (For example, I always learn phrases like “I am a vegetarian,” and “I don’t eat meat.” Other phrases you might want to learn are “I am trying to only speak in this language,” “I don’t understand,” and “Can you say that more slowly please?”) Work with a tutor on italki and learn phrases like, “Can you type that out?” Start out using Google Translate as your crutch while you pick up the basics speaking with your tutor exclusively in the new language. If your tutor doesn’t work well with you, find another one!
- More language resources:
Common phrases in many languages: fi3m.com/phrases
Reliable and free online language dictionaries: fi3m.com/dict
Language forums: WordReference.com
Mnemonics to help remember words: memrise.com
During Benny’s time slot there were two other Academies I really wanted to attend (including one on book publishing that I really ought to have gone to), but I didn’t want to pass up the chance to say hi to Benny!
Friday, July 10th
We kicked off the day by officially breaking a Guinness World Record, then enjoyed meetups, registration, and a big party!
Worldwide Waffles – We Are the Champions!
This has to be just about the laziest world record ever broken—most people having breakfast in bed! Six hundred of us filed in, crawled into twin-sized beds with 3 other champs (4 people per bed), and simultaneously enjoyed a catered breakfast.
Afterwards, all 150 beds were donated to families in need, in keeping with the WDS core value of service.
Location Indie Meetup
After breakfast several of us from my online community, Location Indie, met up for “lunch” (though most of us were too stuffed from our late breakfast in bed to eat any more). We met up again several times throughout the weekend and really enjoyed having some companions in the sea of strangers!
I returned to Pioneer Courthouse Square in the afternoon to check in for the official WDS main events. The level of thought, planning and detail that went into this conference blew my mind. The swag they gave us along with our name tags and programs was, unlike the cheap junk you usually receive at conferences, all practical and high quality stuff that I will likely use for months or years to come. Moving 2,500 people around in an orderly fashion is no small feat, but they pulled it off well at WDS.
WDS also facilitates lots of attendee-led meetups, which is a great way to connect with other people who share your interests and ambitions! I went to a couple of author/book publishing gatherings and learned several new things about publishing, which will be extremely useful as we prepare to release Seven Years Running.
I’m a bit awkward when it comes to parties. On one level I enjoy them—dancing is fun—but I tend to avoid loud crowds of people where one must shout at the top of one’s lungs in order to carry on a conversation. Instead I gravitate toward one-on-one or small group meetings in quiet and peaceful places, preferably somewhere out in nature.
Nevertheless, I put in an appearance at the opening WDS party and enjoyed myself! They had some food trucks outside and I picked up some delicious vegetarian tamales for supper, got to know a couple new people and enjoyed the entertainers (human statue, drummers, etc).
After milling around and playing some darts we heard some drums and turned to find the band parading toward the stage, accompanied by wildly dressed dancers on tall stilts.
Chris Guilleabeau welcomed us, and a few minutes later the dancing began. I stuck around for a few minutes and then left to get some rest.
At this point I’d enjoyed two full days at WDS and the main event hadn’t even started yet! In my next post I’ll share some details from that epic occasion. Click one of the links below to read more notes from WDS:
My husband and I are nomads, having lived in over a dozen U.S. states, plus Mexico, Antarctica, and Ecuador. I write. I recently released the 2nd edition of my 2nd book, "Live Like a Local in Loja," and I'm looking for a publisher for my third book, "Seven Years Running"--the true story of my fugitive childhood.