As I approach the six year anniversary since I started in business, I meet lots of people out and about. After all I am a social butterfly that is on a journey of completing 100 events in 2016. It may sound crazy to some, but to me its the most powerful way I have been able to build my community and following. I like techie stuff but online connections for me have always been secondary to the offline relationships.
I truly believe you must become famous offline before you start to gain more traction online. That has been my experience. Since Day 1 in my business, I had this rule that is never to be broken and that was to attend at least 2 networking events each week. Some weeks it may be more and some less, but that rule has been a non negotiable! I say Consistency is King... Get in line an stay in line!
This may sound too much to some of you reading this but building a business is heavily reliant on building a strong network that loves you, trusts you and refers to you when you are not around.
So back to where I stared... I get asked by many how it is I run my Ultimate 48 Hour Author retreats and the desire behind them doing a retreat themselves. It is unfortunate that people only see the tip of the iceberg when we share the retreat experience. What it is they don't see is the amount of time and hustle it takes to fill them and the steps leading up to those wanting to take part in the high end program.
For example, in 2015 I stood in front of 3000 people collectively (72 events in total) these were a combination of speaking engagements and events I hosted (I am not counting the 50-80 networking events I also visited). From those 3000 people 450 ended up coming to my half day event, from those 450, 220 ended up wanting to have a qualifying chat around attending our retreat program and from those 220, 53 actually committed to our program. I am not sharing these numbers to scare you off retreats, I am sharing this so that you understand the reality of how one funnels and fills retreats. People are under the impression that you set the date and they will come and then get disappointed when they barely have 1 or 2 people in attendance if any...
Another thing to consider if you are wanting to run retreats is how you will position them, who is your ideal client and where do they hang out so that you have the best chance of being noticed by them. To get to this point it took me almost 4 years and a handful of ideas that worked for a while and then fizzled off.
Now that we have our recipe for success, the hard work continues. The hustle gets bigger, the responsibility I carry on my shoulders for being a leader to all my authors is tremendous, but I wouldn't have it any other day.
Here is a list of what I did and sacrificed in the past 6 years... Are you willing to do the same to get the results I got?
- Go to Seminars and Learn how to build a business solidly for 2 years. Invested in Mentors and my development around $45 000 in the first 2 years and another $60 000 after.
- Got up early and went to bed late working 80 hour weeks the first 2 years around studying a Diploma in Life Coaching, working 3 days a week and being the main carer for my then 18 month old.
- Read a book a fortnight for the first 3 years and still continue to read at least 1 per month on what interests me and its usually on how to build my business or mindset.
- Had 2 more children (now a total of 3) during this time without any maternity leave after baby 2 and 3. I did everything between breastfeeds, clients, networking, speaking, interstate travel. I breastfed by babies full time till they were all 1 - this was a commitment I wasn't willing to break.
- Got knocked back 98% of the time in the first 2 years than wins that I had.
- My events were tiny. I've done events in front of 1, 2, 3 and 5 people many times in the first 2 years.
- The first 3 years my husband worked full time, so I grew the business around his work roster as I was the stay at home mum with the part time job for 18 months when I started.
The list can go on and on....
I don't regret for a second doing any and all of this as the lifestyle i have become accustomed to the past 3 years has been one of choice, freedom, time with my family, lots of travel for business and pleasure. I still hustle, I still get up and do things I don't feel like, I am committed to growing each and every year no matter what. I love meeting people, running events, retreats and I love my life. I wouldn't have it any other way.
I am blessed to have a community and following of supporters that love what I do and I turn up every single time for them. They have grown to expect now that I will write a new book each year, bring out new exciting programs and ideas around the evolution of an entrepreneur, but there is now one constant in my business and that is my Ultimate 48 Hour Author retreats. They are my 80% focus and I love them, I focus on them and they continue to evolve and expand to new heights. I love helping solopreneurs become first time authors.
So if you want to do what I do ask yourself these 3 Questions:
1. Am I willing to do all the work that happens in the background? 95% is what others don't see.
2. Have I got a really tangible results focussed Value Proposition for my retreat?
3. Are people willing to spend money to solve this problem? Is the pain big enough?
I trust this has given you are few things to think about - I love the quote below so I thought I'd finish on that..