The truth about hosting your own conference

Nov 04, 2017, 11:30 PM

The Truth about Conferences

Someone—who hosted his own conference—once warned me:

Doing your own conference is going to be one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences you'll ever do. You'll lose money, but you'll also gain a community.

While there could be some truth to that comment, I disagree with several points:

=> It doesn't have to be hard. (If you assemble the right team.) => It might not be rewarding. (If you don't include certain essential elements.) => You don't have to lose money. (And making money doesn't mean you need to score sponsors or settle for a pitch-fest.) => You might not gain a community. (If the "main show" is on the stage, then community is much harder to build.)

After doing more than 100 live events over the past decade, I've discovered the good, the bad, and the beautiful of hosting your own conference. This post and podcast is dedicated to save you time and money and increase your chance of successfully hosting your own conference that is both memorable and profitable.

The Good about Conferences

=> Clear Theme:

I've said it a ton of times. Clarity attracts. Confusion Repels. This year we picked a clear theme: set fire to your business and brand.

Here's what it meant for our conference and context:

FEEL THE FIRE: In the beginning all we see is ourselves. We feel the heat from our own fiery trials. The majority stays here forever. But our breakthrough is just on the other side of awareness—when we realize the obstacle is the way.

SEE THE FIRE: Looking outward, we now see others in need. Their struggle feels strangely familiar. Our former pain will become their future cure. With courage and clarity we do deep work so we can create deep impact.

BE THE FIRE: By leveraging our hurts into a helpful framework, we open a new way and a new world. Through serving and storytelling, people embrace the solution and experience success. As we show up filled up, we set fire to our business and brand.

As the conference host it's your responsibility to set the theme. This is often the most important step. It's something I do first and foremost before anything else.

=> Intentional Takeaways:

Don't make your attendees guess what they're going to get. We tell our people exactly what to expect. If they're going to hop on a plane or into a car it's up to you to create a culture of intentional takeaways. We told our people:

FIRE is an unstoppable force...

It can take life or give it. It can inflict pain or initiate healing. It all depends upon the person wielding it. At the igniting souls conference you’ll discover how to set fire to your business and brand and increase your influence, impact, and income.

Learn cutting edge tips, tools, and tactics from industry-leading experts getting real-time results.

Connect and collaborate with a global community of authors, speakers, coaches, and entrepreneurs committed to your success.

Discover the clarity and courage you crave to craft an action-oriented plan that achieves your ultimate dream. "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." —Ferdinand Foch

=> Dynamic Community:

We could have packed more people in the room—the business center told us so. They said if we put people in rows and not round tables we'd fit at least 100 more. It took us 2 seconds to come to a clear decision. Our answer? "No thank you." Although we could have scored more cash, community is king at our event—not the other way around.

We call it the Igniting Souls Conference, but around each table of 8 people, a spark began to appear on day one. At the end of day 2 that spark was a fiery blaze. Friendships were forged. Collaborations were created. And in some cases partnerships were primed.

The Bad about Conferences

=> Confusing Benefits:

Too many times conferences brand themselves with unclear benefits. People don't know why they're showing up or what they're going to get from attending. The reason why w...