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Reflections of Xerocon from a first timer: Tara McGowan

Posted 5 years ago in Advisors by Xero
Posted by Xero

When Tara McGowan from 5 Star Admin first attended a Xerocon in 2017, she was blown away. She shares her insights into what her first year at the event was like, and some tips for how to get the most out of this year’s conference. 

Hello Xerocon Brisbane 2018!

I have been an avid Xero user for the last nine years, and 2017 was my first ever Xerocon. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I was expecting just your average conference… oh how I was wrong!

Uniday 2017 was brilliant. I attended the Grow your own practice session, and had the pleasure of hearing from Melanie Power. She was so inspiring! The resources we worked through on the day consisted of tips and tricks directly focussed on a bookkeeping entity, and the value this day provided was worth its weight in gold. Even a year on, I still reference the workbook and the plans we set in motion on just one day. I have spent hundreds of dollars attending similar courses that say they will grow my business, but trust me when I say the impact this one had was priceless!

Although my brain was fried and I was absolutely buzzing with ideas I wanted to implement in my business, a few of the new faces I met on the day were popping out for a drink and invited me to join them. The amount of fun I had mixing and mingling with new and familiar faces that evening really set the scene for the rest of the conference, and I would not be disappointed.

Day one arrived and I was full of excitement. I had been told the most amazing stories the night before from delegates who consider Xerocon as a pilgrimage. I rocked up to the venue, armed with my water bottle (I was told rehydration was important) and my goodness they were right! It was way bigger than I expected; think circus tent versus NRL final, and it may paint you a small idea.

Turns out that there wasn’t a couple of hundred attendees, there were literally thousands of people congregating at the entrance. It was filled with colourful balloons and friendly Xero staff faces all welcoming us into the main exhibition hall. I have to say that I don’t think I blinked from the time that I arrived till the close of the day. I have made the decision to not share the specifics of the conference here, because it’s simply an event you need to experience yourself. However, I would love to share some tips to help those coming this year to ensure you get the best possible experience.

Tips for a Xerocon newbie

  1. Take every opportunity to introduce yourself to strangers. Whether it be the person you are sitting next to during Uniday, or who you’re waiting in line with for the most scrumptious food. The connections you make will enrich your experience, and you will continue to connect with them even a year later.
  2. Whilst the main expo area is huge and there are a number of app partners to visit, I suggest an almost military approach to making sure you get around all of them. I picked the ones I HAD to visit due to my client needs and industry. Then I visited the others in almost a circular pattern to ensure I saw them all. Make sure to visit them all – you never know if your next potential client might need what they can offer.
  3. During the breaks, try to seek out someone sitting by themselves, and go join them! Strike up a conversation and find out who they are and what they do. Who knows? They could give you a little nugget of info that you can take back home with you.
  4. Use the Xerocon app to connect, plan your sessions and make notes. It offers the timeline of what’s coming up and gives you a chance to plan, prepare and be aware of what’s happening. This conference is huge and is seen as a important investment for so many of us. You don’t want to miss something important.
  5. Snacks are king! I recommend barley sugars or something which will help get you over the hurdle of the afternoon slump, because the days can be long.
  6. Flat shoes! Whilst there may not be a marathon to walk, the time spent on your feet is considerable. Flat shoes will make you just that little bit more comfortable.
  7. Last but not least, a mobile battery charger so that your phone never dies from the endless notes you take from the incredible speakers. They do have outlets around the venue as well – so bring your charging cables!

I had already decided at the end of Xerocon Melbourne 2017 that I was going to attend Xerocon Brisbane 2018, and have since made it a plan for my business to attend every year. The knowledge, experience, opportunity to talk directly with suppliers, and the friendships I made play a massive part in my decision. What Xero does for my business is very valuable to me, and I cannot wait to see what Xerocon 2018 brings.

If you see me, make sure to come and introduce yourself because you can never have enough friends. And make sure you have plenty of business cards to swap with your new connections too!

See you on the trade show floor or the dance floor… whatever comes first!

Tara McGowan, 5 Star Admin 

Get your tickets, and join Tara at Xerocon Brisbane this September!


Melanie Power
August 20, 2018 at 10.48 pm

So glad you enjoyed my Grow Your Practice series Tara – and it was also fabulous to see you at the NZICB conference – we will be releasing your podcast very soon – your story is very inspiring for Bookkeeper all around the globe.

I can’t wait to see you at Xerocon..

#seeyouonthedancefloor #gothebookies


August 28, 2018 at 8.37 pm

Thanks Mel! Looking forward to hearing it too… definitely save me a slot on your dance card, cant wait to see you again!

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