This week saw us launch meetups in cities number 11 and 12 for Yena, in Oxford and Melbourne.
I think Abby’s tweet summed it up best…
That’s a lot of cities, seeing us hit 100+ a year which is rather a lot, considering we’ve got 1.5 employees (one of us is part time, not half a person)
The biggest part though was that we weren’t at either of the events ourselves…
“Why?”, “How”, “” and “” are the questions I’ve heard and the faces I’ve seen, when having that conversation in the past few weeks and rightly so.
Running events is a laborious task, generally speaking and often best handled by experienced experts, with a very hands-on approach.
So let’s start with Simon Sinek’s favourite question – “Why?”
We run our events for 2 reasons:
- They deliver on our core social impact goal of connecting people regardless of their circumstances – our events are completely free, which seems bonkers to some people but…
- They are also one of our primary marketing channels – free events mean more people, and yes we know people that might not be able to pay, but we want to help them anyway. The ones who can pay, hopefully see the value-add our membership brings, come into contact with us in an experiential way at our events and are more engaged & likely to convert as a result of the upfront value they’ve gotten from us!
So now you know the ‘why’, ‘how’ (the hell) do you run 100+ plus events around the world, with a tiny team, from your sofa?
The answer: People, Processes, Practice.
Finding the right people to surround yourself with is vital in business, at all times. That’s a given (hopefully) but building a team of brand ambassadors, whether you’re selling a product, service, or events gives you a massive leg-up in growing sustainably.
The key here is knowing & making-clear the value exchange for everyone involved. Everyone wants something.
For our hosts it’s increased brand awareness, personal brand building, the opportunity to be the centre of a core community, a free Plus membership and VIP treatment as part of the core Yena team. All we ask them to do is to be at the front of the room at an event they were probably going to attend anyway!
When we hit city 5 or 6 (I think it was) we were still going to every event but, out of necessity (i.e. We couldn’t physically or fiscally attend all of the events we wanted to run), we had to find a way to do it remotely, on virtually no budget. In contrast, it now takes 3 documents and a phone call to get up and running. Essentially, all we need is a host and a city.
(P.s. Wanna run an event in your city? You should! Reply to this email and I’ll send you a pack )
Ok, so this advice hasn’t been crafted overnight; I had my LinkedIn anniversary this week congratulating me on 5 years of running Yena (wtf where’d that time go?!) but that’s a lot of time to practice.
In that time I’ve learnt more about events than I ever thought I needed to know. Like, how important lighting, furniture and acoustics are to the psychology of attendees, and how grey-days are best for attendance (too sunny and people want BBQs and beers, too cold and they want to stay at home, so overcast days FTW when it comes to our meetups 😅).
We’ve amended our events from hour long talks, to 15 minute presentations, to fireside chats, we’ve tried free, charging, and back to free again, changed times, venues…. Everything.
Now we have a model that works. That doesn’t happen instantly, but if you ask nicely (and join as a member) I’m happy to share more advice on how to make that process go much more quickly.
The final thing I should add to this list is culture. Creating an engaging company culture built around solid core values & a powerful brand is a sure-fire way to attract people to your cause.
Does your business have a social purpose? What’s the problem you’re solving? Use these questions to find answers and rally support. You’ll be surprised at how amazing people are when you inspire them in the right way.
Finally, we certainly couldn’t do what we do with our events without our incredible hosts, so a huge shoutout to them and make sure you sign up to the next event in your city, here.
Events are free for everyone, including non members. Membership does give you added value with a tonne of benefits though.
Find our more about it here and sign up! I’ll promise your money back in 30 days if you don’t get any use from it. I’m THAT confident it’s awesome
Thanks for reading, y’all!
– Ash x