5 Tips To Avoid Losing Your Shirt With Your Seminar

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It happens to too many people. Grand plans, big vision. You plan, you project, you try to manifest and then you find yourself in a huge hole that you spend the rest of the year trying to get out of.

empty wallet crushed dreams from seminarYes, I am talking about events. Has it ever happened to you? You poured your heart and soul into planning a seminar and all you ended up with was an empty wallet and crushed dreams? And you wonder what happened?

You see other coaches and expert put on huge seminars and they are making a fortune. What could you have done differently? What do they know that you don’t?

It breaks my heart, because workshops and seminars are powerful tools that transform people’s lives, both attendees and seminar leaders. When done right, they are extremely lucrative and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that you can make more money in a single weekend than most people make in an entire year.

Our coaches tell us to think bigger, they show us what is possible. However, many times what works for them, may not work for you. So you dive into planning the workshops and seminars thinking big, all the while you are missing some critical steps that make the difference between success and utter disappointment.

What can you do to avoid that? Here are 5 tips to avoid losing your shirt and make your next seminar truly one that is transformational for you.

Start small

You may want a seminar for 100 people, but if this is your first one, start small. Keep it intimate and exclusive. It will give you a chance to test the waters, your marketing and your conversion rates. It also keeps your costs down, which is important for obvious reasons.

Focus on your ideal attendee

Who is he/she? Talk to that person and that person alone in your marketing. If your seminar tries to be too many things to too many people, it will not be anything to anybody. Your marketing becomes too broad and ambiguous and no one responds to vague and generic. Be precise. What benefits does your seminar offer and who is it perfect for?

Book your venue as late as possible

I know I am going to get in trouble with my former colleagues in the hospitality industry, but the fact is this. Most seminar leaders who have lost money on their event ended up paying thousands of dollars to hotels for rooms and services they never used. Start marketing and selling tickets before you sign your contract. Once you sign it, you are committed, whether people show or not.

Allow plenty of time for marketing

Start promoting now. Yes now. The more time you have to market your seminar the better. Most seminar leaders fail because they didn’t allow themselves enough time for their marketing campaign. For a multi day event, you will need 6 months. Minimum. Preferably 8 months. That gives you time to add value, build your list, line up promotional partners and create a campaign that gets the butts in the seats.

Have a back end plan

Your seminar should not just depend on tickets sales. You should have a comprehensive plan for generating revenue with your seminar. That means multiple streams of seminar income. Know what you are offering and when. Don’t rely on only 1 or 2 ways to make money from your seminar. There are at least 10, so use them to your advantage.

If you ever felt like you were missing an important piece of the seminar puzzle, be sure to sign up for my upcoming free teleseminar.

Join me on May 26th to learn what you need to know now to host your own seminar without losing your shirt (or your sanity). On this call I will lift the veil off the secrets that the big ticket seminar leaders know and many first time seminar leaders just guess at.

I will also reveal my 4 step system that breaks down event overwhelm and guides you on the path to event C.A.S.H.

Register now and keep your shirt on.
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Daphne Bousquet, CMP

Daphne Bousquet, CMP

For more strategies to make your workshops and seminars more profitable, you’ll want to pick up a copy of the free report "Three Simple Secrets To Making 10K In A Day With Small Workshops." Daphne Bousquet uses her 20+ years of event industry experience to create profitable event strategies and marketing for coaches, entrepreneurs, speakers and self employed professionals that want to grow their businesses with workshops and seminars. She is the creator of the Butts In Seats Virtual Boot Camp, a unique digital course that teaches you how to fill your events with your ideal audience.
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP
Daphne Bousquet, CMP


  1. Bob says:

    This is a wonderful checklist….I wish I’d had this when starting out!

    My brother and I found an ideal niche for a seminar last year, we started out small (2 fifteen person seminars in medium-sized cities, just to test the market) and then got cocky and decided we were ready for the “big time”, booked a 100-seat hotel auditorium, large marketing budget….and promptly lost two thousand dollars.

    With the clarity of 20/20 hindsight, we made a few glaring errors, losing focus on the “ideal attendee” by trying to appeal to a wider base, and our back end plan was just awful.

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Aah, Bob. If you had only known me then. I hope you and your brother will join me for my upcoming teleseminar. I think you will enjoy it, learn a lot, and try that seminar thing again. I bet you can make money this time.

  2. These are great tips, Daphne, and you always make your posts fun to read. It’s god to have a sense of humor about it! I think it’s highly instructive that you recommend booking as late as possible to avoid unnecessary costs. That goes along with the idea of marketing first to see what kind of response you will get. It’s similar to the advice marketers give for info products—sell it first, then create it.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Jeannette Koczela recently posted..Why Not Raise Your Fees

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thank you Jeannette. I know I am getting into hot water with all my friends and colleagues who are hotel sales people and conference planners. It was one of my pet peeves that contracts were signed so late that I had hardly time to plan for it. I know why, though. I also had to send them the attrition bill when they didn’t make their numbers. 🙁

      Fly the plane as you are building it. I am a big fan of that!

  3. Bravo, Daphne!

    I’m looking forward to tuning in to your upcoming teleseminar later on this month.

    My oldest daughter is an event planner and executive assistant to the marketing director of a large hospital here in Southern California. I know she would applaud all the tips you’ve shared in this post.

    Top notch checklist!
    Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..Two Ears and One Mouth – Do the Math

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Melanie. Very excited to have you on the call on May 26th!

      I am sure your daughter knows all about the what goes into those events and what happens when the numbers don’t come in. It even happens to big corporations. However, they have more of a cushion to be able to absorb the losses. We entrepreneurs generally don’t…

      • Really good point, Daphne. And you’re 100% correct — large corporations definitely have the ability to cushion the blow when the numbers don’t come in.

        Trust me, Ashley could tell you lots of stories about events that just didn’t pan out as expected — despite all the days and weeks of preparation, organization, and super assertive marketing efforts.

        May 26th is circled on my calendar! 🙂
        Melanie Kissell @SoloMompreneur recently posted..We Blog Better And Maybe You Blog Best

  4. Can I add one more tip, please? Try not to have to cancel. Much harder to market the course the next time My first open course was attended by one person. I felt so awkward about it, but when she arrived she was thrilled to have me all to herself! I went on to have very succesful programmes after that and each time I advertise one I usually get a request for in-house training on the back of it. Just lately finding it harder in the UK because of the economic downturn and think your idea of being sure who it is aimed at is important to remember.

    • Daphne Bousquet, CMP says:

      That is an excellent tip, Jean. Thanks for adding that. Sometimes we may be disappointed with the turn out, but it is important to give it our all when we conduct the workshop. And if that 1 person signs up as a client, you still have a successful workshop and a blueprint for next time.

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