Conferences, retreats and workshops are so popular today, it makes you wonder, ‘Who isn't planning a live event?’ Although COVID has wrecked everyone’s plans, a lot of creatives decided to either postpone their live event for 2021 or converted to a virtual event. So if you’re part of the bunch who decided to plan now and host later, then this post is for you.
There comes a time in an entrepreneur’s life when they start thinking about hosting a live event. Now I know I’m being a bit dramatic, but at some point in time, if you’re being honest, you’d say you thought about it too. I’ve thought about it and I even have the domain name to prove it! If you’ve been thinking about hosting a live event, and you’re ready to start planning, hold on, pump yo’ brakes. I’ve got three points to know before planning your event.
Have an existing, engaged audience. I'm not suggesting you have a million people on your email list, however, I am suggesting that you have an engaged list or following. The number one paint point for organizers is selling tickets. Not everyone is lucky to sell out all the time. Some creatives with a huge audience don't always manage to sell out all the time. Having an engaged audience of entrepreneurs who you already support with your services, offers, products or content, would be excited to attend your live event. An engaged following really gives you a head start. Make sure to do some research with your audience to see if your vision would be validated. Most creatives who host live events are usually mature in their business. When I say mature I mean they’re not brand new, they have some skin in the game, even if it’s only a year or two. An engaged audience plays a part in how profitable your live event will be.
Start small. One message I say to myself over and over and over again is “It's okay to grow.” I know I’m not the only one who likes doing things big all the time but I’ve realized that it’s really okay to allow things to grow at its natural pace instead of forcing it. This is probably the biggest mistake that most first-time organizers make. They want a large scale event the first time. That's definitely not the way to do it. Now, there are some exceptions to the rule with some well-known entrepreneurs who host events and are successful the first time. You can't measure yourselves to them. What I know to be true is slow and steady wins the race. It's a series of small, calculated decisions that will get you to the successful conference that you dream of one day hosting.
Host a workshop. I get this question a bunch of times. What should I host first? As stated in the second point, I am a huge believer in starting small. Think of your workshop as an extension of the service, product or offer you already provide. Think about how you can turn that service into an intimate workshop of 12 or less entrepreneurs. As you think about the other pieces of a live event such as a location, venue, co-host, etc., you see how quickly the event itself starts to come together. Planning a live event becomes very overwhelming. The easier and simpler you can make the process the first time, the better and less stressful it’ll be.