Beating the Planning Overwhelm: You Can Do This
"I'm so happy to have you on board... if I was left to my own device
I would have bailed on this idea!"
--an actual amazing client of mine who is such a joy to work with
Planning a workshop is hard work. You have to decide what you want to teach (your "Take Home Idea"), you have to decide how you want to structure it, you have to write all your content, not to mention, find a venue, find a caterer, maybe buy gifts for your attendees, talk to sponsors (if you're going that route) and, oh yea, run the dang thing.
One thing I know for certain? You can host an event. Absolutely, 100%. Let's start with an example: have you ever hosted Thanksgiving dinner? Then you can host a workshop.
But the biggest hurdle that most people run into when they host an event is the overwhelm of doing it all themselves. Like Thanksgiving, you're making the turkey, setting the table, getting yourself ready, and then your neighbor shows up 30-minutes early and your hair is still in a towel. She tells you to finish whatever you were doing; she'll wait. But you want to be hospitable, so you invite her in, run to the basement to grab a bottle of wine, hang her jacket, and pour her a drink. And your hair is still in a towel.
And then your mother arrives and you're still trying to mash the potatoes, but you don't want to be rude so you've got one eye on the potatoes and one eye on your mother, being engaging, all the while, just wishing your sister would show up so that she could mash the dang potatoes and you could entertain your guests.
I get that. I totally get that. That's exactly what planning and hosting an event is like, and to be honest, I think every entrepreneur feels that way the first time they host an event.
So how do you beat the overwhelm and actually get through it?
Get Some Help
Oh mercy me, how nice would it be if your sister just showed up and went to town on those mashed potatoes and then she lit all the candles in the dining room all while you had a glass of wine, caught up with your guests, and gave them a mini tour of your house. And then, what if she just set the table and put all the food into serving dishes and made sure there was no gluten in the bean casserole, and then gave you a swift nudge when you could announce that dinner was ready.
That's why you need help at an event. Because if you're the main dish, you're the main teacher, you're the one hosting, then you can't be in charge of making sure all guests checked in, and answering your cell phone when inevitably someone can't find a parking space, and leaving your guests alone so you can call the caterer because breakfast is an hour late and WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?!
This is the crucial first step to making this whole process a lot easier and somewhat fun for you is to line up a friend, a volunteer, or me to make sure your retreat goes smoothly.
Get Your Timeline On Point
I will lament the necessity of a timeline until I die, but it's important to have a very detailed road map of a schedule for your conference or retreat. Not only will your guests expect to have an idea of what they're getting themselves into, a detailed timeline is essential for creating a very smooth flow from one session to the next.
Your people want structure. They want to be told where to go and what to do. We may think "Oh people are adults, they'll be able to figure out when to go to the bathroom and when to have a snack" but let me tell you, when you get a bunch of people in a room, many of whom may not be regular event goers, they need you to tell them when to sit, when to rest, when to write, when to ask questions, and yes, when to pee.
(My favorite example of this is when the doors to a room aren't open, people will inherently think that they aren't allowed to enter. They'll congregate in the foyer forever and no one will even think to ask if they should go in. Keep that in mind and always keep your doors open and the beginning and end of a session).
I have a huge post on this coming up, but starting with a 6-day live retreat as the first event you've ever hosted by yourself? Might be a bit ambitious.
Do a two-hour seminar at the library, a six-hour craft workshop at a local craft store, or even an all-day mastermind group with a select number of your dream clients. That way when something inevitably doesn't go as planned (which it always does), you can be prepared for it during your BIG event. Plus, you'll be able to beta test your workbook or your Powerpoint slides or your writing exercise.
The last thing I'll say is -- just do it. Book a venue, invite some ladies to it, bake some cookies, and get up there and speak your truth. You have a very unique, very inspiring story to share and the fear of not "selling out" or not "making enough money" shouldn't prevent you from doing that.
What's your story? Why do you want to share it in person? I can't wait to hear from you in the comments!