I started working on putting my first event together mid-March and I can honestly say that I didn’t think that I’d be ready to pull this off in such a short amount of time. However, my business coach pushed me to make it happen. I have been working hard trying to expand my Humble Sunshine motivational brand and I found myself in a “now or never” situation. Therefore, I kept pushing.

It has not been easy, but I can honestly say that the passion behind putting together my Happy Hour Mini-Summit Talk Series entitled: Lets Talk About It Over Cocktails, has actually kept me calm and pushed me to keep going and not quit. I love the fact that I KNOW people will take away useful and practical tips on investing in their self-care (leading to a better quality of life); they will be able to network with many like-minded people and enjoy the giveaways, food, treats and drinks. Knowing these things to be true really keeps me going and it compels me to want to put on the best event possible. In putting together this event, here are 3 things that I’ve learned in planning the launch of my first event…

1 | It’s not easy to host a FREE event. When I started on this journey, creating and putting all the moving pieces together, I thought it would be a great idea to host my event for free. I knew it would particularly be a challenge, considering that I personally have a hard time asking people for money (or anything for that matter). This was no different. I even found myself out of my comfort zone when reaching out for donations to keep my costs down. Even though I was prepared to invest a couple hundred dollars into it, I was surprised to see how quickly my total kept increasing and how many things I had to cut out or hold off on (such as having branded/promotional items with my logo to giveaway). In putting this event together I began to appreciate those who put on free events all the time. It is not a small feat.1

2 | Speakers can be EXPENSIVE. Truth be told, had I known that the range of speaker fees would be so massive, I would’ve certainly charged for this event. It had not dawned on me that some speakers have thousand dollar speaker fees. One of the top things I would highly suggest, if you have a great idea for an amazing person that you’ve been watching on social media and maybe even a celebrity figure that you idolize, unless you have a few thousand dollars to put towards a speaker, start small.1 Start with the people that you know, and those who are local professionals/experts then move up to those more well known. You might be surprised to find that there are several people in your circle or connected to those in your circle that can provide value to you and your attendees. Another thing you want to be sure of is to have at least 3-10 people in mind and be sure to consistently follow up. The follow-up is essential!1

3 | Be FLEXIBLE Things will not always go as planned. When I first started thinking of this event I wanted to utilize one of my favorite local Italian restaurants. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a set up that would be conducive to the type of event I had planned. This particular spot could only offer a sit down/dinner set up and not a conference-like set up that I had in mind. To my luck, after asking around, I was reminded of a TGI Fridays location and it ended up being a much better choice for me. Not to mention, I ended up saving money because they didn’t require a rental fee to reserve the area (as my first location did) and they didn’t have any restrictions on bringing in outside food (in my case, dessert) or a minimum limit for the food that my guests and I purchased. It was a win-win!

At the end of the day, you have to learn to go with the flow sometimes and be prepared for unexpected changes. People say, when putting together events that whatever can go wrong, often will. Just remember that only you and those on your team will know if something went wrong, unless you tell your audience. The experiences of your guests will be their experience. They won’t know that you forgot to give them an extra item in their gift bag. They will see that you gave them something and be grateful for what they received. Remember that everything happens for a reason and as it was meant to even if every part doesn’t go as planned.

About the Author:
Taliah Graves is the editor of the blog Humble Sunshine as well as a public speaker, event organizer and mentor. Taliah's mission is to help women & men going through challenging transitions in their lives, to find peace and healing so that they stop making the same mistakes.

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