Free Seminars

334 – November 30

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.”—Maureen Dowd

When I first started doing the Financial Stress Reduction Workshops, I modeled my business on other seminar leaders and did what they did that seemed to work. Many of them put on free introductory seminars and asked everyone they met to come to them, and this was the first stage of the enrollment process. A percentage of the people at the free seminar would get excited and enroll on the spot for the fee seminar, and that’s when they made money.

I followed this example for about six months. My experience was this:

Lots of people will say “Yes!” to a free seminar. Only about half of them will actually show up. (It’s unfortunate, but many people don’t consider it a commitment unless they’ve paid money for it.)

When you’re listening, you’re selling. When you’re talking, you’re not. And you’re rarely listening at a free seminar because you’re talking. You still have to follow up later.

It takes a lot of time and energy to plan, enroll, and teach a free seminar. It takes no more time and energy to enroll someone for a paid workshop than it does to enroll them for an unpaid one.

After I figured this out, I decided to stop giving free seminars. It was too much work for too little reward. I looked for another way.

And found it: Speak at the monthly meetings of local organizations. There are many of them, from Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs to Women in Management and National Association of Women Business Owners. They do all of the planning, enrolling, organizing, marketing, advertising, selling for you! Plus they give you a free meal. All you have to do is show up.

And “sing for your supper.”

Today’s Affirmation:
“I love to speak and sing and people love to hear me!”

A surprise standing ovation at eWomen Network Orange County Chapter

Big Business or Small? – Excerpt from “Zero to Zillionaire” by Chellie Campbell

Now I’ve been happy as a poker player with pocket aces with my little workshop business, helping people, getting kudos and getting paid. I find people to invite to the workshop by going to networking groups, speaking, internet marketing, and giving free teleclasses (which are like the free seminars I didn’t want to do, but which really work for us coaches in the internet world). Now I teach my 8-week workshops as a teleclass series: 8-10 people call in from all over the world, I teach them, we all hang up. I love my income. I love my overhead. I love my commute. I love my life.

There are other business models for coaches and seminar leaders – some have million-dollar businesses! Here’s a description of one from my book “Zero to Zillionaire”:

T. Harv Eker is the president of Peak Potentials Training. He’s in the workshop business, too. He has a big vision, a big company and he’s making big money. His game plan is masterful—he contacts the presidents of various networking groups and offers free passes to his Millionaire Mind Intensive 3-day seminar for each member of their group. They do all of Harv’s marketing for him by advertising this wonderful free benefit to their membership. It’s a classic win-win-win scenario: Harv wins, the organization wins, and the members win. Brilliant!

So I got my free pass and I went to the seminar. There were some twelve hundred people at the one I attended in Los Angeles in 2004. For three days, Harv gave an informative, fun, involving seminar. “You have a millionaire mind!” everyone high-fived each other on cue. And for three days, from eight o’clock in the morning until ten at night, he sold you—masterfully—the next ten programs that you are going to need if you are really committed to improve your money and your life. The programs come with high price tags—I remember one was $3,995—but then he gives you a big discount because he really cares about you and wants to help. So he slashes the price to $2,995, throws in the $1,000 CD set for free along with it, and then discounts the whole price again. But you have to take advantage of this offer right now, because this course is almost sold out and he only has 50 spaces left…

Need I tell you that hundreds of people jumped up out of their seats and ran to the back of the room to give the waiting employees their credit cards? Because they “have a Millionaire Mind!” And Harv has a Millionaire Bank Account. He told us he makes over a million dollars a weekend. Fabulous. I was watching a master at work. I saw what was possible when your vision was huge.

Do you think I am jealous or sad that my business is so much smaller than his? Well, I admit I wasn’t too fond of him in the beginning when one of my favorite networking groups started touting his financial seminar from the podium every meeting and not mine. He was Oz, the Great and Powerful, and I was Dorothy, the Small and Meek. Was my vision too small, I wondered? Should I be doing what he’s doing? (I hate it when I should on myself.) But I got over it. Some people would rather come to me and sit with 12 people in a living room for 8 weeks than go to a hotel and sit with 1200 people for 3 days. Some will prefer personal attention over mob psychology. I will always find “My People”. Harv will always find his. You will always find yours. There’s no such thing as competition.

Listen, my hat’s off to Harv. He is a master of the big picture seminar business, like Tony Robbins and Werner Erhard before him. Hey, if you want that big picture, go ahead and get it. Have 48 or 4,800 employees. Get 25,000 emails a day. Train thousands of people. If that’s what you want, if that’s what Zillionaire means to you, then go for it! It’s your movie and you can write the script that way if you want.

For me, I’m rather more in alignment with comedian Steven Wright, who said, “Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy. Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.” The Big Blockbuster Movie isn’t my movie. I am too aware of the big price one pays for the big picture. T. Harv Eker names it in his book:

“Are you willing to work sixteen hours a day? Rich people are. Are you willing to work seven days a week and give up most of your weekends? Rich people are. Are you willing to sacrifice seeing your family, your friends, and give up your recreations and hobbies? Rich people are.”

No, non, nein, no, no. Nope. Not me. Not willing to pay. If you want the big goal, good for you. Be my guest. Go read one of the big boys’ books. But make sure you take a good squint at the price tag for that life, too. The big vision doesn’t come cheap. Sign me up for the Small Independent Film, the smaller vision, a smaller goal, and a smaller price, thanks. I don’t have ten workshops, I just have one. One workshop that works is all I need. I say what the price is and that’s the price all the time for everybody. I purposefully did not create a business. I created a job for myself.

Every time I examine my business and whether or not to expand, I filter everything through my goal within the goal: I want to be small and happy and rich. I want a life full of fun, hobbies, family and friends every day that I’m alive. I want to have dinner with my buddies. I want to play poker. I want to go to the movies with my 92-year-old daddy while he’s still here with us. I want to help plan the baby shower for my niece. I want to be happy every day. I want a business that I run, not one that runs me. I want work that gets me to a life, not work that is my life.

$200,000-300,000 a year sounds just ducky to me. If that sounds good to you, you’re in luck—I have the program for that.

Prosperity is a habit. You have to practice it every day.

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Chellie Campbell is a Financial Stress Reduction® Coach and the author of The Wealthy Spirit, Zero to Zillionaire, and From Worry to Wealthy. She is one of Marci Shimoff's “Happy 100” in her NYT bestseller Happy for No Reason and contributed stories to Jack Canfield’s books You’ve Got to Read This Book! and Life Lessons from Chicken Soup for the Soul. Past president of the LA Chapter NAWBO, she was "Most Inspirational Speaker" by Women in Management and "Speaker of the Year" by the Association of Women Entrepreneurs. She does daily inspirational videos in The Wealthy Spirit Group on Facebook.

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