Seriously, that's all I can say right now as I sit here in Wisconsin remembering the CUH-RAZY that was the last week in North Carolina at Stratejoy Summer Camp.
This was the first event that I had contracted under Lauren Caselli Events and it was also the one that had the longest pipeline. At first, it felt like the event was a WORLD away, but after doing it (and others since), I've realized that, as a first time event that you're selling tickets to AND positioning it into your offerings AND using it as a marketing tool for some other piece of your business AND creating all the content?
That shit takes a lot of effort!
That said, here's what I learned during the planning and selling process of this event:
1. Give yourself more time than you thought. If this is your first event, you'll need at least a year or 18 months to plan the event. You absolutely could pull off an event in 3 months, but if you want it to go off without a hitch, more time is better than less.
2. People need deadlines. If you keep your sales open for a long time, it means you're going to be stressed out for a long time, waiting for ticket sales to come through. Do yourself a favor and do a really solid pre-launch, full of Q+A webinars, blog posts, excitement builders, etc. and then close your ticket sales. The biggest rush will come at the beginning, early bird style, and at the end, when people are forced to make a decision.
3. You can't control everything. Primarily weather. If your event bumps up against rain, snow, flight delays, etc. because of weather, it's important that you have a) a contingency plan for how to get people around (if your event is outdoors or requires lots of walking between venues) or b) refund requests. Having something in your sales page copy that states "Events will take place rain or shine" or "refunds not granted for travel delays so please be sure to get in early to avoid missing the event" are great ways to keep yourself covered and manage expectations (in this case, we didn't have any cases of the latter, but it's definitely happened at other events I've planned!)
4. Manage expectations, manage expectations, manage expectations. You know your event inside out, upside down, but your attendees don't! So if you don't offer lunch each day, tell them before they arrive! There's nothing worse than an attendee showing up at an event thinking one set of circumstances is true when in fact, they're not. This is why I recommend a "FAQs" section on your website, and a very streamlined method of communication from the moment they sign up to the moment you meet them on event day.
5. Have fun...and let someone else do all the hard work! I was a ball of stress from the minute I landed in North Carolina to about halfway through the event. But that's my job. And I didn't have to handle any teaching lessons, I didn't have to interact with attendees on a personal level. Imagine if you were that ball of stress AND you had to be the cruise ship director.
Let someone else be the ball of stress. You do you, sister.