3 Myths That Are Keeping You From Hosting Your Live Event
When I first decided to launch my own event, after years of working my full-time job in event planning and recently having decided to start my own event planning business, I remember feeling...
Scared because no one in my community knew me and I wasn’t sure how to get them to take me seriously (let alone trust me enough to come to a small event).
Frustrated because I didn’t have a huge budget to host them anyway. I had taken home less than $40,000 the year prior in business, and there wasn’t a ton of wiggle room for non-essential business costs.
Honestly? I wasn’t sure if I felt like an expert. I’m an introvert, I don’t love to sit at the front of the room and tell everyone what I know, because I’m always still figuring it out.
And then? I did it anyway. I invited 10 women over for a “mastermind dinner”, which 3 months later became an event of 50 women, which 3 months later became a recurring event series which led to me growing my client base from hardly any to the most ideal clients I could ever hope to work with.
Years later, I have clients and prospective clients come to me all the time saying these exact things, which is why, today, I wanted to talk about the three BIGGEST myths that you probably believe, and it’s holding you back from stepping into the role as event host.
1. You need to have a huge audience to host a live event.
This is my FAVORITE, because most of the time, this is the #1 reason that people give for not believing that they can host an event.
They’re scared that they can’t sell 100 slots, they’re scared that they can’t design the event to look like Create and Cultivate, and they don’t think that if they don’t go ALL THE WAY BIG, they won’t be able to do it at all.
Look, every.single.client I’ve ever worked with (million dollar companies! Clients you’ve heard of!) are worried about their event attendance. No one escapes this one, unless you have a little bit of blind faith.
Instead of worrying about selling 50 seats, maybe readjust your expectations...does 6 seats sound more doable? What would it look like if you did a really small version of the thing you’re currently envisioning?
If you want to be on stage speaking to 200 of your best clients, what about being at the head of the table and speaking to 20 of them first?
Like anything else, it takes a long time to be able to convince enough people to come to your event, so don’t start out shooting for the moon. Think about the following things:
a. What do I want to teach to a group of people in-person?
b. What is the best way to teach it to them?
c. How can I start with a small group, get feedback, and then scale this event up the next time so that I can reach more people?
If you can sell an event to 6 people or 20 people, then you can refine your event, get amazing testimonials, ask your attendees to refer your event to 1 of their closest friends, and VOILA! You’re on your way to your room of 200.
Don’t get discouraged if selling a room full of people sounds too hard. Get your event logistics and content systems down FIRST with a group of early adopters, and then plan to knock it out of the park on round #2.
2. You need to spend a ton of money for it to make any impact at all.
This is another one of my favorites, because I regularly help clients who spend very little money on specific aspects of their events (or get them free from sponsors), and still make a nice profit margin.
But if your only goal is to break even, then I can do you one better, since it should be very simple to do that.
If you’re hosting an event that is content-related and you don’t need to provide much else other than a space, some audio visual, a workbook, and maybe some coffee, then your price point can reflect that.
The TWO reasons that people come to events are:
Both of those things DON’T cost you any money. Focus on creating excellent content first, then focus on getting the exact right people in the room and you’ll create way more value and a better experience that will reap you testimonials in the future (and thus, more event attendees).
The other stuff (the swag, the beautiful florals, the amazing decor) are all things that can come later OR that you can try to get for free.
Related: How to Ask for Things for Free
Additionally, I want to say that highlighting the “visualness” of events is important -- if you create a beautiful experience, it inspires others to want to attend...and yet, a lot of times, our perfectionism about “what the event I’m hosting SHOULD look like” is the thing that holds us back the most.
So if you’re feeling like you need to spend a ton of money on an event to gather your people, then I’d ask you to consider if that’s ACTUALLY what’s holding you back, or if it’s your tendency towards perfectionism that is holding you back.
I know for me, it definitely was the perfectionism piece.
3. Events are only for extroverts...I’m too introverted to host something like that.
Oh, sister, I GET THIS ONE.
Which is why I always tell introverts that they can often be the best event hosts. Public speaking can be SUPER scary, but I find that as the host of an event, you get to choose what your event looks like!
My events are always about facilitating dinner conversations...which means that I don’t stand up front doing a ton of talking. Instead, because I’m an introvert, I spend the dinner with 2-3 people at a time, having a conversation, asking them to tell me what their frustrations and challenges are.
I have a client who is an excellent problem solver, so all her events are 20 minutes of content, and the rest of the time is implementation and problem solving alongside her clients.
They get SO much done, and her clients don’t care that she’s not up there speaking for hours at a time -- they are served in the way that they need to be served.
And I have another friend and client who is really good at collaborations, so all her events are a curated panel and mini-presentations of OTHER PEOPLE, while she emcee’s and acts like the host of the event (meaning she doesn’t do a ton of public speaking, only cat-herding and interviewing experts on stage).
So no matter what sort of personality type you are, I want you to think about the ways that you REALLY make an impact in your clients’ lives.