Lesson 1 - Determine the Level You Want to Be and Become It

starting a business | Dec 03, 2017

he Entrepreneur Summit was created because I was getting sick of waiting for someone to create the type of event that I wanted to attend.    I love Dallas but found many of the events featured the same speakers.  I wanted different, and I wanted to connect the start-up and small business communities.

I had two choices when I created this business.

  1. I could play it safe and put little money on the line and do what everyone else was doing.
  2. I could put the money down for an event that I wanted (while still being conservative, mind you), but create the event that I saw was needed.
    I met with hotels and started setting a budget and was shocked at how quickly things added up.  As I made a list of potential speakers, I thought why not go for the mac daddy of Dallas Entrepreneurs with Mark Cuban.  I reached out to his agent and learned his fee is $150,000.

I had to take it down a notch, but things were still adding up quickly.

When it was all said and done, my budget was around $45,000.  Now there was an additional budget. I just wasn't going to add those line items until I had sponsors to cover those.   I knew I had no idea what I was doing, but hoped I could pull in enough to cover my costs.  I also knew nothing about selling sponsorships and had spent 20 years telling myself that I 'wasn't a sales person'.  Pulling this off for a first-time event was going to be a bit tough.

I went to the worst case scenario.

Not in a bad way, but in a good way.  I had to stop being afraid of this, so I made peace with the worst that could happen.  If the worst case meant that no one showed up, and I lost $45,000, could I live with that? Yes.  Would I love losing that money?  Absolutely not, but I could go to bed at night knowing I gave it my all and created the event that I wanted.

Once I let that go, I worked my butt off to make sure that wasn't going to happen.

I'll talk about sales in another post, but here's what I want to cover in this one.

I had to put things on the line that made me uncomfortable.  I had to squirm just a bit to make this all happen, if I wanted the event that would stand out.

I knew that if I did what everyone else was doing my event would be, well, just like everyone else's.  I had to put my money where my mouth was and create the event that I wanted to do, even though it meant writing a few checks.

I moved in the direction where I wanted to go!

I scoured websites of the events I thought were great and looked for the themes that would give me that same look and feel.  (Building a website shouldn't cost you a ton.)

I booked with a hotel that wasn't the most expensive in town but had high ceilings (someone who does events for a living taught me that trick, and let me tell you what a difference it makes.)

I hired a team who I knew could help me so I wasn't doing it all by myself the day of.  Sometimes that peace of mind is everything.

Yes, I absolutely cut corners in some places, but overall, I made sure I was playing in the field that I wanted to play in.

I think this is so important for entrepreneurs to know.  No, you don't have to invest a million dollars in your first business, but if you continue to play in the small fields, you'll never grow.  If you're not uncomfortable on a daily basis, you're not evolving.

I talked yesterday about the doors that were opening for me.  I can guarantee you the only reason those are opening is because I knew I had to level-up.  Had I done an event that didn't make me squirm on a daily basis, no one would have noticed.

No matter where you are in your business.  Whether it's starting or building, I want you to do one thing today that pushes you and makes you uncomfortable.  Just one, then make that an every day practice.  Begin to watch who takes notice!  The second key to that is you have to believe you belong at the higher level.

I would love to hear from you....what is getting added to your list today?

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