Live events are all the rage right now in the entrepreneurial world and it feels like everyone is attending or planning a live event. But live events require a lot of time, energy, resources and money, which I learned quickly after hosting my first Haven Conference. So before you start digging into the planning, stop and ask yourself these 5 questions.
#1 What is my WHY for planning a live event?
When I started the first Haven Conference I had a few different ‘whys’ but my main reason was I wanted to bring together a community of entrepreneurs that were ready to take their businesses to the next level.
I had been in a few different entrepreneur groups and attended events and conferences, but wasn’t finding a large group of people that were ready to do big things, like I was. I was finding a lot of people who were stuck on the small details and were holding themselves back. I was craving a community ready to take risks and up-level so when I couldn’t find it, I created it!
As I planned the conference I kept that in the forefront of my mind. And when ticket sales weren’t as high as I wanted I remembered my WHY. It reminded me that those who were truly ready to be in that room, got their ticket, and I didn’t want someone in the room who wasn’t ready to be there, even if their ticket meant more money.
Before you starting planning your live event, it’s important to understand your reasoning for wanting to host the event in the first place. And remind yourself of your WHY often.
What if I am planning a live event to make more money?
There is a common misconception that live events bring in a lot of money to a business. But the truth is live events take a while to become profitable, just like most other things in business. I recommend that if your only reasoning/motivation to host a live event is to make money, that you find another way to bring in revenue.
#2 Do I have a strong enough following/community to promote this event?
This is where you have to get really honest with yourself and think long and hard if you think you can sell this thing. I have seen so many entrepreneurs launch live events and only have a few tickets sell and some even had to cancel the event all together. But it wasn’t due to the content, price tag or location, it was due to a weak following.
Before you say that you know your following is loyal and will for sure purchase tickets to your live event, let me share a few real life examples with you. When I launched the first Haven Conference I had about 1900 instagram followers, 50 people on my mailing list and about 3 years of blog and social media content. And I was able to sell about 25 tickets at $247 to my event. That is less than 1.5% of my instagram following. I also had about 20+ people that told me they were going to come and couldn’t wait and when it came down to it, they never bought a ticket.
I don’t share that to scare you, but I want you to know it is HARD to convince people to spend money on an experience that they aren’t 100% will be beneficial to them. So before you throw the live event out there spend some time engaging with your following, building your email list, sharing freebies, adding lots of value into their lives, so when you do launch your live event, they don’t hesitate to purchase a ticket!
#3 What are your goals for this event?
Similar to knowing your WHY, I think it’s important to have a few goals in mind for the event. If you go in without goals in mind then how do you know if the event was successful or not? Below are a few questions to ask yourself that may spark some goals.
- How many attendees do I want?
- How do I want people to feel?
- I will feel proud/satisfied if ______.
#4 Is there a need for this event and the content?
This question is SO important and can be the key thing that leads to planning a live event that is a smashing success. You need to make sure there is a real need for the live event you are planning and you aren’t just doing something else that has been done over and over again.
How do you figure out if there is a need for your live event?
Ask your community and your following! What most people don’t know is the idea for The Haven Conference was actually developed a year and a half before I launched it. But at the time that I first dreamt up the idea I wasn’t clear on what the content was and I didn’t know if people needed it, so I started asking.
I put together a survey and posted it in a few entrepreneur groups, my email list and instagram. What I found from that survey is most people at that time wanted a one day event at a lower price tag vs. a multiple day event at a higher price tag.
When it came to content at the time I was my starting my self development journey and found that when I started to work on myself, my business ultimately become more successful. I wanted to dig deeper into this, and found so many live events talking about this content on the West Coast, but very few events focused on this content in the Midwest. So thats where I found my niche!
The one hiccup with being one of the few live events delivering this content that isn’t being widely talked about is people don’t know how important it is yet. I’ve found that a lot of entrepreneurs in the Midwest tend to focus on the surface level details (i.e. social media, blogging, taxes, etc.) rather than digging deep and addressing the real issues. But this leads me back to my WHY and knowing that it may take a little longer for this event to gain traction.
#5 Who is this event for?
I wont sugar coat it, if you replied to this question with, EVERYONE, you’re not ready to begin planning a live event. We all believe our events are for everyone, but if you market to everyone then you are going to run yourself ragged.
Think of it this way, everyone is welcome to go to Starbucks, right?! But Starbucks is marketing towards men and women ages 25-44 that has disposable income, because those are the primary people that fit their brand and are buying their products.
If you’re struggling to figure out who your event is for here are some questions to ask:
- What is the demographic of my current following? (hint: instagram and facebook can help with this)
- Who would get the most out of the content?
- Who do I see attending similar events with similar content?
- What is my niche and who fits in that niche?
I hope these questions help you to think about your live event more strategically and help guide you to if it is time to begin planning the live event, or maybe put it on the back burner for a while. If you decide its time to begin planning a live event then I recommend checking out my recap from the first Haven Conference!
When you are ready to launch your live event I recommend sharing our post on 4 Reasons To Attend A Conference with your following so they understand the value of an in-person experience. Then as the event gets closer our post on 10 Tips For Attending a Conference and Getting Your Moneys Worth will be helpful to get your attendees prepared for the experience!
Photos by Hetler Photography