" I just don't trust her, she rubs me the wrong way"
I spoke those words to my husband about an event promoter who invited me to speak on her stage last September.
98% buying audience, looking for lead generation, 350-400 people, in gorgeous Palm Spring, California.
"But, I don't really believe in pay to play opportunities, hmmm..."
It could be a great experience with massive conversions. Do it. Do it. Do it. My husband, peers, advisors told me.
I get to make an offer after a 45 minute speech and sell our services at 5K a ticket.
Even if I converted 20% of the room (70 people) that's $350,000.
Historically I convert 30% of the room sometimes 40% so I felt good betting on myself.
Some stages you can speak for free, but you have to split the money made with the promoter for bringing the audience.
Pay to play, you get to keep it all.
I go to process the 10K payment, the link doesn't work.
She tries to process it on her end... the bank denies it.
We had to get on the phone together, and the third time it goes through.
10K paid to play, 5K in travel, and for 4 months I start preparing my butt off every. single. day. I'm SO ready for this.
August hits, and I get an email, tickets aren't selling. Can we help promote? This isn't normal for her.
My gut is saying,
"You've never liked her ego. The way she boasts, brags.. oh no. my worst nightmare.. she's full of shit and I trusted her."
2 weeks before, I'm told it's looking more like 150 people and she gave away free tickets.
"Ok, whew..that's still a decent room. Believe in your ability and preparation."
I tell myself.
I go to an extra mastermind event in California for 2 days to get some last minute coaching.
When I get back, I crunch the numbers...20% of 30 people.. that's $150k... those are still good odds.
But something in my gut is saying...Run!!.. While my brain is saying,
"You're going to pass up $150k chance?"
Pack up my husband, pull my 6 year old out of school, and off to Palm Springs we go.
The day before the event, I get there and go down to the room to check in with the AV crew.
They don't have my videos and they tell me,
"We have no agenda, no line up, and this is one of the most disorganized things we have ever been a part of."
Bring my videos and they will get it loaded up.
Now. I'm worried.
The next day, I get there at 8am. It starts at 9. Other than the AV and the Kajabi table, I'm the FIRST ONE THERE.
8:45am.. one, two, three people trickle in.
9:00 nothing happens.. 9:15.. one, two more people..
9:30 the promoter finally shows, and there are a total of 25 people in the room.
"Breathe." I tell myself. It's not 350, it's not 150..it's 25. You can still make an impact with 25.
One of the first words out of the women who introduce the promoter,
"Hello, welcome.. we still have VIP spots available."
Wait, it starts late and then the audience is being sold to. That's NOT how you open an event!
I'm watching as the day goes on, more people changing into bathing suits and going to the pool (where my husband and son are), then staying in the room.
This event happening over September 20th, our 11 year wedding anniversary, and it's my day and time to speak, there are 17 people in the room.
I spend the morning personally introducing myself to all 17. NO ONE wants lead generation. NO ONE has anything to sell.
By the time it's GO TIME for me, there are about 12 people in the room.
They want to be TED speakers.
Not 25, not 150, not 350, not 400.
When I was introduced, even after being told what to do, the AV guys didn't play my video, and then 30 seconds into my speaking, the video started playing OVER ME on stage. It was a total disaster, but I was able to pivot and make light of it.
I gave it my all. I spoke to those 12 no differently than I would to 400.
Afterward 6 or more said,
"You're fantastic!! But I don't need lead generation yet. I don't have anything to sell. I don't have a website. I don't have anything yet."
I explained that we could help with that and gave out my cards.
It was my only event in 2019, that I didn't make a single conversion. Not one cent made back. Not even in follow ups.
Guess there is a first time for everything.. good and bad.
Here's what I learned:
1. The Universe had my back.
3X until the transaction occurred. The universe was telling me to listen to my gut and abort! The universe was literally STOPPING this from happening. I didn't tune in.
2. Look over your speaker agreement with a FINE TOOTH comb.
A trusted peer and pro told me that if it's a pay to play opportunity, he gets in writing what the compensation or deal will be if promoters don't deliver the audience or right buying audience.
Don't get stuck on the number, you can still convert well with 12 of the right people in a room. But, I personally would not have traveled to the West Coast, paid close to 17K with expenses and travel, and gone over our wedding anniversary to the wrong audience.
Not wrong in the sense that many of them were lovely people. We had GREAT talks, they were not in a position to NEED lead generation at this time in their career.
3. Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.
After speaking to fellow entrepreneurs and experts in the speaking industry, they said, "I hope she will do the right thing."
The promoter offered to pay the money back in full on the 10k opportunity to save the relationship, but month after month, her mom was sick, the hotel was after her for money, her event team sucked.. blame and excuses.
For me, it's not the money, it's principle.
You pay 17k for a silver beamer and the dealer gives you a pink Prius, you want your money back. Not for the gas, but because you didn't get what you paid for.
I see this promoter to this day, she actually unfriended me on Facebook, after 9 months of my patience and understanding ( when trust me, I wanted to YELL expletives) hooking people in, using my speech to monetize in her business (when I didn't give her permission to profit off me), and boasting about her presence in the speaking world.
But the person I was the most mad at was myself. I betrayed myself because I refused to listen. Take responsibility and learn from your mistakes. Anger, blame, resentment, that only weighs on YOU.
4. TED isn't the end all be all.
I don't know about you, but when I speak, I want to MOVE. I would not want to stay in a small red circle.
I would not want my speech highly edited.
(No offense Ted or TedX, for some it's a dream of a lifetime and ideas are definitely worth spreading!)
THIS experience taught me NOT to place my worth in ONE SINGLE event and fall in love with the shiny object.
TED does not make you famous, rich, needed, or give you leverage to be around longer in your industry.
You have to be consistent BEFORE and consistent AFTER any one big thing (ie. stage, interview, opportunity.)
The experience also sparked 2020 to be the year of my OWN stages and events. Mother Nature had a different plan, and I know when we can get back together LIVE, I have some grand plans to set into action.
Lastly.....TRUST. YOUR. GUT.
It never lies.
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