Planning: 5 Places to Hold a Workshop FOR FREE (or Really Cheap)

How to find a venue to host an event for free or cheap

The questions I get asked the most around live events?

Where should I hold my workshop? How do I search for a venue? Where can I even start looking?!

(Usually, with varied levels of exasperation).

Girl, I FEEL you. That venue-finding business is h-a-r-d. I'm not going to lie, sometimes it can take weeks or months to find a venue that fits most of your needs. And even for me, a professional workshop and retreat planner, I find venue hunting among the most difficult tasks.

But sometimes,

when you really just want to get in front of your people,

when you really just have something to teach,

when you really want to test the waters on your market,

when you really want to see if you even like this whole "live event" thing,

you just gotta get out there and do it.

And that means maybe not investing a million (or even a hundred) dollars in your guests. Though, if they're paying, maybe a few dollars on treats or snacks would be a nice gesture.

If you're just dipping your toes in the water of doing a workshop, here are 5 FREE places that you may be able to hold your workshop.

Your friends' living room

Nobody said this had to be a fancy affair. In fact, some of the most wonderful, most inviting, most cozy learning experiences I've ever had have been in the common room of a college dorm or the patio of a close friend. A workshop doesn't have to look expensive to be extremely valuable. It just hast to be helpful, inspiring, and full of good content.

The public library

All those conference rooms with full audio systems around the library? Yup, they're often extremely available, sometimes for free, sometimes for a low fee, to community members. The bonus of doing it at the library is you get built-in audio visual equipment (most of the time) and a knowledgeable staff member that may be able to help you with any space snafus.

A co-working space

Often, if you're a member of a co-working space, they will allow members to use their common space for events for free or a very, very small fee. This is perfect for you who already pay for office space and, bonus, can hold the workshop after work or on weekends (when many possible attendees who work full-time will be interested in attending).

A daycare center

So guess what happens to daycare centers on the weekends? That's right. They sit empty. So if your kids go do a small, independently owned daycare and you know the owner, ask if you can use the space for a workshop (and invite her if it's focused on small business owners). Plus, there will be hilarious art adorning the walls and cozy bean bag chairs to sit on (probably)! Built in atmosphere!

Your local high school or community center

Those school rooms often sit empty after hours when the kids are gone. Check with your school's admin (usually a front office assistant) and see what the rules are about holding meetings, workshops, and events at a public school. Plus, how fun would it be for a bunch of adults to walk into their alma mater 5+ years later... or is that just me??

The bottom line is that often, we get one track minds about what an in-person event should look like. We've been to a corporate conference, so we feel like we have to hold a big event in a big ballroom. We've been to a yoga retreat and we feel like we have to rent out a small island to make it feel serene and peaceful.

Not the case, my friend. Your event can be successful as long as YOU show up, be present, and share the love. Your people want to know what you have to say, how you did "it", and your big secrets to your success.

Everything else is just filler, from the venue in which you host to the price tag on the ticket.

HOMEWORK

Okay, now it's your turn. I want you to do the following (pretty please?):

1. Write down a few "free" locations where you could host 10 of your best friends. It could be a bar, coffee shop, a friends house, or anything else you can think of. Just jot it down, really quick.

2. Write down how you would inject love and your personality into a gathering in just one of those spaces.

3. Leave a comment below about where you'd host your workshop.

4. Leave a question below about what your biggest hurdle is in planning your own live event.