7 Tips to help you put on your first event.
So it’s been almost a month now. Whilst I still feel as though I’m living on cloud nine, I also feel like I’ve descended low enough to look back and reflect on the first ‘TEATIME!’ Live, what made it so special and perhaps offer some advice to anyone who wants to put on their first ‘event’ but just doesn’t know how.
Firstly, I cannot explain how far outside my comfort zone ‘TEATIME!’ Live was. I feel safe behind my phone, liaising with women whilst feeling protected by metal, glass and high-speed broadband. But the idea of actually asking people to pay real money and listen to the stories and advice of women they perhaps have never heard of literally broke me out in hives.
But like many things that will stretch and yet strengthen us, the nagging sensation to do a ‘LIVE’ version of the chat show I put ‘out via Insta stories (I know I can’t quite believe it myself but big up technology innit) just wouldn’t leave me.
So I finally decided to do it. Before I’d even sourced a venue, I made sure to lock down my panelists. It was very important to me that these women weren’t social media ‘stars’ but hard grafters who had built business and brands which continued to flourish and grow, despite how many followers they had. For some reason, not only did they all say yes, but they seemed happy to do so.
1. Set your intention.
This is something I learned from good old aunty Oprah. Whilst I don’t accomplish it before every action in my life, I’ve worked hard to remember that before I indulge in gossip or even purchase something new, I set my intention. The idea of ‘TEATIME!’ Live had to leave women feeling inspired and uplifted. Whilst I wasn’t crystal clear about what it was, I was damn sure about what it was not. It was not a party. It was not an Instagram follower stare down. And it defiantly was not an evening where I wanted women to leave feeling less than. Knowing these key things for sure allowed me to guide an event which I felt confident in asking people to pay to attend.
2. Location, Location, Location.
No matter where you choose to hold your first event, it’s very important that it set the right tone, especially should you want to entertain again. I went with my chosen location due to the fact the event space was private and came with its own serviced bar area. Of course, the fact that it was half an hour from my current home was also a win. Never once did I fear people not coming because of where it was based as I knew my intention was correct. And I was proved right, many ladies even booked hotels for the night just so they could attend which was a sign and blessing in itself.
3. Take the time you think it will take and double it!
I am a born control freak who struggles to relinquish power so when I decided to release the tickets on the first of September for a December date the ‘ain’t that a bit early?!’ questions did not phase me. Being ahead of schedule allows you to nip any problems in the bud and prepare for what should be a brilliant event. There were so many things that cropped up which had I not given such a wide lead time could’ve thrown the entire ambiance of the event off but having that extra wiggle room in my diary made all the difference.
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
When it comes to events based around social media, there seems to be a lot of talk about the goody bag. I’m not going to lie, I buckled to the pressure and really wanted my guests to leave with bags which contained items which would uplift them on days when they just were not feeling like a leading lady. For this impact, I had to do what I was not yet comfortable with, which was to ask. Surely bigger brands wouldn’t donate as my following isn’t massive? Of course, they would giggle as they slammed my email into the trash. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Once I’d overcome my fear of asking, I found myself being swamped with donations. Women who ran a small business and found some joy in ‘TEATIME!’ were quick to offer their services. It was then I really understood the impact of the community I had been blessed to help cultivate. Don’t compare your loot to that of another’s. And a bit like your virginity, once you ask your first big brand, the rest becomes easy!
Up until the actual night of the event, I had done everything by myself. Flyer design? Me. Eventbrite handling? Me. Packing of goody bags? Me. I don’t say this to brag but to illustrate just how stupid it was. By the time Papa B and old primary school friend Shamara of ZIZI PARTY TREATS stepped in to sort out EVERYTHING, I felt fit to faint. Why hadn’t I asked for this kind of co-ordination weeks ago? If there are friends and family willing to help you carry the load (literally) take them up on the offer.
6. REMEMBER THAT SOMETHING WILL GO WRONG (but the only person that will notice is you)
So many things went ‘wrong’ on the night but because I never put a spotlight on them it all seemed to be right. Unless your venue bursts into flames or someone has a literal heart attack, there is nothing that cannot be fixed or at the very least glossed over.
7. Enjoy yourself!
For better or worse people have gathered either for you or because of something that you have created. There is a lot of joy in that. So don’t let it become too stressful or let ‘mistakes’ ruin the atmosphere. Enjoy this moment.
And there you have it.
Even though I was so very far outside of my comfort zone, I had such a good time and such wonderful feedback that I’m currently in the beginning stages of planning ‘TEATIME!’ 2, a Summer Soiree! So perhaps it should be a goal of yours next year, face your fears and be sure to smash it. You can do it!