This week’s Misfit Entrepreneur is Chris Krimitsos. For many, Chris needs no introduction as the founder of the Podfest Multimedia expo, the world’s premier conference for all things podcasting and new media.
Chris is also the founder of the Tampa Bay Business Owners organization, CK Media Productions, and is a speaker and consultant. But, more than anything Chris is a master at creating and facilitating successful events. He’s has facilitated over 2000 successful events and recently started a podcast focused on helping people learn the secrets to creating and putting on great events. It’s called the Conference Cashflow Podcast.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with Chris and I am amazed how our philosophies and principles are so similar – so there is a lot we can talk on today, but I want to focus first on what you can learn from Chris about how to put on a great, successful event.
Chris grew up in New York and had a lot of inspiration from his uncles. They came as immigrants with nothing in their pockets. They worked hard, got into the restaurant industry, and were very successful. He would learn from them and started his first business at 13 years old selling candy. He was serial entrepreneur ever since. He moved to Florida in the mid 2000’s and invested in real estate. He was fortunate to have exited before the crash.
Chris then got into production and produced two live TV shows. After some success, he started a group known as the Tampa Bay Business Owners. After growing it substantially, he sold it. He then started Podfest and is now its 6th year.
Why should people consider doing events as part of their business strategy?
- There is something about today’s day and age that life events can do that things like social media cannot.
- Coming together with people of the same interests is something people crave.
- It is also a great way to drive business and create income.
Putting on over 2000 events – what would you say are the critical elements someone needs to have to create successful event?
- You need an audience that is hungry for the information.
- You must be very specific about you are teaching and the topic of the event.
- If you can’t describe in 4-5 bullet points what they will walk away with, the there is an issue.
- The best speakers are not always professional ones, but great subject matter experts.
- Make sure to have early bird pricing and then raise your rate as you get closer to the event.
- Never set up more chairs than you have tickets sold.
At the 10 min mark, Chris gives two case study examples on how to pick speakers and find the right ones.
- Make sure you speaker is relatable to your audience. You cannot have a disconnect with your audience and your speaker.
- You always want to have someone that is a step ahead of your audience, but not 4-5 steps ahead.
Talk to us about the size event, what do people need to know?
- Starting out smaller is good and “big” when you are starting out is 20 or so people.
- You can do meetups 1x a month and then once a year do a larger event of 100 or more.
- Look what is happening in the local area, see if there is a need that is being underserved, and then create your event to serve it.
- You have to watch your expenses closely.
- Don’t go “free.” At minimum, have a contribution amount of $10 or so and make it optional.
- You want to have value on what you are doing. You can then graduate to fee based.
- Once you establish a following, then you can do larger events at $50 to $100 to attend and so on.
How do you promote and get people to come to an event?
- For local events, the simplest way is to make sure you have the city name in your title of your event.
- There are 3 very simple ways to get traffic:
- Setup a Meetup Page which you can invite people to.
- Sell your tickets on Evenbrite and use their marketing expertise.
- Setup a Facebook event page and spend $50-100 targeting people in the local area.
Best secrets to make an event memorable?
- People show up for the education, but they come back for the collaboration.
- Make sure to leave room and breaks for people to connect and collaborate. Create an experience.
- For local Meetups, 1x a month is a good cadence with special workshops that are a premium.
Are there any big “don’ts” for events?
- Be very careful not to overpay with hotels and watch your food and beverage minimums
- If you can get the room for the value of the room and not do food and beverage, if you don’t need it.
- Make sure the hotel is right for your needs. Smaller hotels will charge just for the room and it will cost a couple of hundred dollars for the day
If someone would like to speak at an event, what should they do?
- A lot of promotors these days that work with millennials don’t want to be approached by a representative – they want to be contacted by the speaker themselves.
- Promotors are doing the best they can to fulfill their audience needs, so make sure you know what the audience is looking for.
- If you do get selected – make sure your presentation is beautiful and clear with more pictures, so people can see it and understand it.
- Make sure you give the audience what they are looking for, not just what you want to share.
What are your feelings on the current state of podcasting and what does the future hold over the next few years?
- Podcasting has really just started growing.
- 30% of the US is using podcasting, but are not “powerusers.”
- A lot more money is coming into the space to advertise and fund content.
- We will see growth like we haven’t seen before…
Any specific things people should watch and follow in podcasting?
- Podcasting is on demand audio that is searchable through the internet.
- It can be SEO and content rich.
- You can use podcasts for some many things – ways to market your business, fill a need, focus on a very small niche.
- Don’t look at it as an interview show, look at it as searchable content.
What are some critical habits that you believe all entrepreneurs should practice in today’s world?
- Being present in the moment.
- Using time effectively – focus and not waste it.
- Be very conscious to remove all time-wasting distractions from your work life that you can.
What is your best advice for an entrepreneur starting out?
- Design a future that is worth living into.
- Spend time visualizing that future.
- Make sure your why is big enough that the how become irrelevant.
At the 33 min mark, Chris talks about how to manifest your future and your why…
- Burn your “why” into your brain by visualizing what it is you are going to live into. What you intently focus on will become reality.
- Visualize while in motion if you can.
- Your why centers around the reason you are doing what you do – know what achieving your success looks like and how you celebrate it. This is really celebrating your why.
- If your why is strong – you will break through any issues with the how.
- Where do you want to go? What does it look like? Taste like? Smell like? Sound like? Etc. Go that deep…
Best Quote: "Design a future that is worth living into..."
Chris's Misfit 3:
1. Keep your feet on the ground and your eyes on the stars
2. Make sure you have a future that is worth living into
3. Monitor your self-talk and how you are programming your brain