What I learned from hosting the Awesome Inc Mobile miniConference:
1. Plan further ahead and on the proper date – Everyone says this all the time, I know. But we decided to throw this conference just 2 months before the event went off. Certain things such as sponsorship, panels of speakers, and press releases need more time than this to make happen. For example, we wanted one of our sessions to be a panel of carriers (ATT, Verizon, Sprint, etc). Every carrier would send us through a maze of contacts to get to someone who could actually help us. Trying to throw this panel together in the 11th hour failed miserably.
We also learned that a Saturday in the middle of the summer isn’t the best date for a full day conference. School is out of session and people are on vacation. Weekdays are preferred.
2. Necessity of marketing outlets – We relied heavily on viral marketing for our mobile conference. We used several outlets including regional high tech organizations/communities such as social media club, young entrepreneurs of
3. Make money – This is a novel idea that we aren’t quite sold on yet at Awesome Inc. Just kidding…but seriously though. Our keynote speaker, Noah Kagan, made 40K on his first conference. We barely broke even. His advice, get to break even by selling tickets at a reduced price far in advance, then jack the price up. Of course this is only possible if you follow lesson learned number 1 – plan further ahead.
4. Volunteers are nice, paid staff is better – Perhaps our biggest accomplishment and biggest source of sleep deprivation was that we threw the entire conference with a volunteer staff (thanks to everyone who helped by the way, you were amazing). The volunteers did great, however when a ball gets dropped by a volunteer, you can’t really blame them for dropping the ball or even always ask them to pick it up. Instead you have to pick up that ball and run with it. If you have a paid staff, you can expect a lot more of meeting deadlines and consistent communication.
I’m extremely lucky to have such amazing friends that were willing to help me with this initiative and others. The thank you list is below.
5. People register late – We had over 50% of our registrations come in the last 5 days. This obviously had us worrying about a low turnout, but I guess is to be expected since people don’t want to commit and/or just don’t get around to registering until close to the date of the event.
Thank you list:
Matt Smith – text messaging system / space setup
Ryan Copple – technical stuff
Ryan Bright – web site/technical stuff
Rebecca Fields – food / working the door
Alyssa Thornton – space setup / working the door
Rachel Cunningham – coordinating logistics of event
Chad Engle – pitch contest judge, blog article
Adam Martin – pitch contest judge
Keith Kurzendoerfer – space setup
Nathan Fort –
Scott Johnson – equipment, space setup
Larry Grover – pitch contest judge
Anthony Jones – brochure design
Cliff Ravenscraft –
John Williamson –
Jason Falls –
Todd Earwood –
Andy Cox – space setup, transportation
Josh Fenner – Commerce Lex, space setup, marketing
Gina Greathouse – Commerce Lex, marketing
Kimberly Solsbury – Commerce Lex, marketing
Justin Raney – space setup, iPhone workshop
Tim Savage – recruitment
Jerry Houck – recruitment
Chuck Bryant –
Mr. Cunningham – lodging for speakers
Jaron Jones – photography