Three reasons your live event was not profitable

Updated: Aug 3, 2020

So many times I've heard organizers say that live events aren't profitable. The truth is, they did not take the time to plan their event. Planning a live event isn't something that you can do over a weekend or during one week. It isn't something that you can sit down in one session to complete. It's an ongoing process that you have to be committed to until it's complete.

I recommend 90 days for the brainstorm, plan and launch phases. I know what you're thinking. 'What? Ninety days? Yes 90 days, but we'll get into that in another video. When you plan an event, you're honouring the vision that you have for your event and you're making decisions based on what you envisioned. My mum always says, "When something is worth doing, it's worth doing well." That takes time. You can't rush it. And you know what? People can tell when your live event was not planned properly. They can also tell when you're not emotionally connected to your vision.

So forget what you've heard. Your live event can be profitable. It's not a myth, but you have to take your time and invest in the planning process. If you hosted a live event before and it wasn't profitable, I've got three main reasons for that. And if you haven't planned your first live event yet, take note!

Reason #1 - You half-planned your event and now that the ticket sales are coming in, you're realizing that it may not cover all of your expenses. I've seen a lot of organizers plan this way and it's weird. Basically, organizers plan just enough so they can launch the website with the important details that attendees would be interested in. This usually includes solidifying the date and content, booking the venue and educators and deciding on the price of the event. Half-planning your first live event isn't a good idea. And you know what, I can't even think of a situation where it would be a good idea. You should plan out everything ahead of time so that you're only focused on marketing your event and selling tickets. Those two tasks are already difficult enough. Planning is already overwhelming, better to get it out of the way. This is the exact method I teach in my workbook, Plan Your Profitable Live Event. When you calculate your price, it should include all of your expenses with a markup for profit. In my workbook, calculating your price comes after all the elements you'd need to spend money on. It takes all of your expenses into consideration. At the very least, your price should cover your expenses. When you half plan your event, you won't know what will or will not be covered until the end. Unfortunately, for some organizers, they have to dip into their own pockets because they have a negative profit.

Reason #2 - You thought six, SIX! weeks was enough time to sell tickets and now that you're two weeks away, you realize, 'Shoot, I needed more time.' Don't do that to yourself. It's just not fair to you. You're putting yourself under unnecessary stress. Unless you're a first-time organizer who's a 'celebrity entrepreneur' who has a large audience (and sometimes this isn't even true), you shouldn't cheat yourself the needed time to properly market your event. I surveyed my audience of organizers a couple of years ago, asking what was the hardest or planning an event. The answer? Selling tickets! I recommend launching your event a minimum of nine months before the event date. Yes it might be an exaggerated amount of time but as a first-time organizer, you need it. I've seen even the experienced organizer give herself six months and more. When you're selling, there are so many strategies you can use at any given time and you should be paying attention to the buying behaviour of your attendees. If one strategy is not working like you hoped, you need to be able to switch to another strategy. This is one of the main reasons why you need to give yourself time to sell tickets. Your brain shouldn't be on dual mode during these nine months. You took the first three months to plan, that's great. Now, switch your brain so that you can focus on selling. Remember, 'time is what we want most, but what we use worst' (William Penn).

Reason #3 - You bit off more than you can chew, and are now financially responsible for that 'poop hit the fan' situation. Yes, I know, you have a grand vision and lofty goals for your first live event but hear me out.. it's better to start small and work your way up. The same way a mum gains more experience and wisdom as she has more children, it's the same way you get better as an organizer when you host more events. You will make mistakes the first time around, and you'll need to give yourself grace as you work through those mistakes. So, I say all that to say, the bigger your live event, the greater the financial responsibility. You can bounce back from a mistake for 12 people but for 50 people, you're gonna need to do some work. A live event is like age, it gets better with time. All these sayings I've got today. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, the more you host live events, the better they will be. But you gotta start small and be okay with growing. Live events aren't going anywhere, they're here to stay.

As you're planning your live event, try not to make these mistakes.


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