Welcome to the latest episode of the Wake to Wealth Show, where we bring you insightful conversations with industry experts on a variety of topics related to business growth and success.
In this episode, we have the pleasure of hosting Tanya Lopez, an accomplished event strategist and experience designer, who has successfully scaled small events to over a million in revenue.
Tanya will be sharing her secrets and strategies on how to take a small event and turn it into a highly successful and profitable venture.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, event planner, or simply interested in the world of events, this episode promises to be a valuable resource for anyone looking to scale their business and generate more revenue through events.
So, let’s dive in and discover the secrets of scaling small events to over a million in revenue with Tanya Lopez.
Pam: Tania, thank you so much for joining me.
Can you please start by just introducing yourself to our audience before we dive into having a fun conversation?
Tanya: Thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
My name is Tania Lopez. I am an event strategist and an experience designer. I work with brand coaches primarily in the personal growth space to design and deliver epic events and experiences.
Pam: I want to talk about events because this is actually how I started my business.
I remember doing my first event and I loved the event, but the run-up of the event was absolutely chaotic, which I know is part of the magic that you bring.
Now, before we jump to events, I know that you made a big transition.
Let us just talk about what life looked like before you transitioned to events.
What is it that you were doing previously and all of that good stuff?
Tanya: I started out my career in PR and corporate communications.
I worked in corporate, working for companies like NBC Universal and Nike, really big high-profile companies. Then I moved to events, which was pretty crazy because I won a contest for the world’s most awesome job, a global contest, which was so random.
And that’s how I got into events.
So I worked in event production for about 10 years, organizing events all over the world. Six years of that with Mind Valley. And in the past few years, since COVID actually, I’ve shifted into consulting and strategy and working with brands around events and experience design and some business coaching as well.
Pam: So why events and for coaches?
What do you think it is about events that you think coaches should wake up to and do more of?
Tanya: I work in events not exclusively for coaches, primarily anyone that’s working within the personal growth or wellness space and industry.
I think that events are just so powerful for that face to face connection that just cannot be replaced with Zoom or virtual events. And of course, I’m biased, but that face to face connection is just so powerful. And what I have seen is possible when you bring together a group of people and you guide them through a really beautiful experience, a beautiful transformation. You focus on connection and community.
It’s just so beautiful and it’s so powerful.
And that’s what I really love about events. I think they are so powerful for helping to build your business, your brand, and your community.
Pam: Yeah, 100%. I remember starting off, and it was the first thing like I said, and it was just something that I just decided to do. My background is in acting. So as an actress, I love being on stage and I figured, I didn’t know how to sell online. I don’t know how to sell at all. I don’t know how to do any of this online stuff, but I do know how to hold my own on a stage.
Now, knowing how to hold your own on a stage is very different from actually creating an event that has a great experience, like you said, where you’re able to connect with people and build a community from that.
So I wanted to work on those three aspects.
What are some strategies that you would say surrounding a great experience for an event?
So let’s say that the ideal person that you are speaking to at this moment is a person in business. So they’re a coach or a consultant and they plan to sell something.
What experience should we be thinking about?
Tanya: I always start with my client’s intentions.
What are your intentions?
What is it that you want to create?
What is it that you want people to experience?
What is it that you want people to walk away with?
How do you want them to feel?
That, for me, is where we start.
And then from there, you can create the agenda, and the content, and find the venue. You align everything to that.
But it’s really important to start with the intention.
Now, you mentioned selling something, and definitely financial goals can be one of the intentions.
Usually, the people that I find, the people that are drawn to working with me because they are in the personal growth transformational space, they’re really looking to have an impact. They’re really looking to bring their work into a deeper way. They’re looking to create that community.
We look at what those different intentions are, and then we design the experience from there.
What that looks like can vary, but I would say a few pillars are baking in that community and that connection that I mentioned. Definitely weaving in whatever your financial goals are.
What I love to do is to take an event and look at different touch points throughout the event.
Some of the touch points might be obvious, like the opening of the event, the closing of the event.
But you basically design, you identify 5 to 10 touch points, and then you have fun and get really creative on how can I just innovate and really wow people in this particular touch point?
How do I make the opening really connected, really immersive? Because people really remember the opening and the closing.
I love to put a lot of special emphasis on that and make that really strong and really powerful. Those are a few quick ideas.
Pam: I love how powerful have you seen community.
You can have a WhatsApp group, you can have a Facebook group, you can have a call where the community comes together.
Is there another way to think about community, perhaps beyond the event and after the event?
Tanya: Absolutely. I think that for me, again, everything starts with intention.
So imagine if community just happens on its own, imagine what’s possible if you actually intentionally and consciously design that with the intention of I want to build community. That could be physical meetups around the world. That could be a continuity program that extends after the event. There are so many different things that you could do.
It could be an online group.
It could be online calls that continue afterward.
To help highlight the importance of this point, when we would survey people who came, we had people that sometimes came five, six, or seven times. When we would ask them, what is it that has you to keep coming back this many times? It wasn’t the speakers. It wasn’t the exotic destinations.
It was the number one reason that they said it was community.
The event had become their way of connecting with their favorite people.
When you can be that bridge and that vehicle to help people meet their people and to be that place where you get to reunite with your favorite people, that just makes you absolutely priceless.
And so that’s an angle and way that you can think of about it is like, how do I consciously facilitate connections within this group and serve as the vehicle for these connections?
Pam: You are making me feel like I need to go back to doing my live events again.
I can see what happens as a result of the experience, the connection, and the community.
Now, I want to segue in through an area that I’m not sure if this is part of what you would consult with people on, but I know that you probably have advice and I know that people are thinking one of the biggest questions would be ‘How do I fill my event?’
Can you share some strategies that knowing that you work on largescale events, and obviously we’re talking to people who are probably at the six figure mark already or approaching that, or even seven figures, what are some strategies that you think are great at filling events?
What are some strategies that you think are great at filling events?
Tanya: I would say one of the best strategies is word of mouth.
Word of mouth, people walking away from the event saying: ‘That was the best event I’ve ever been to’., and ‘I want to go back and I want to bring all my friends and family with me’.
We literally had that happen so many times.
The number one strategy, deliver an epic event.
That is my number one marketing strategy because that is going to be what makes people want to come back more and what is going to have all of your attendees turn into raving fans and ambassadors of your event. That is one thing.
Beyond that, I would say you have your strategies that you would use for anything else, social media, paid ads if you want, if that’s a fit. Personal outreach, I love smaller, intimate events like retreats, for example. I absolutely love personal outreach, like a phone call or a really genuine, authentic voice message I find really works well.
It really depends on the profile of the event. But yeah, those are a few off the top of my head.
Pam: Let’s talk about some strategies for now to turn this event into a source of revenue.
Because we know that if you’re doing this as a business owner, then at the end of the day, you don’t want to walk away from your event out of pocket if you want to either break even or have some income coming in.
I know what offers that I have made in the past, but as you’re the one who is my guest here, I would like to hear your thoughts about what are some strategies or advice that you have regarding creating or making an effort or even other revenue sources that you have come across from live events?
What are some strategies or some advice that you have regarding creating or making an effort or even other revenue sources that you have come across from live events?
Tanya: One, I think is to have the mindset that you absolutely can make great money off of events.
I feel like there’s this stereotype, especially around retreats, where people do it because they love it, but they don’t necessarily see it as something that is going to be a big profit driver for their business. I mean, you even said it. You said you want to at least break even or make a small amount of profit. I mean, I scaled one single event to a million in revenue.
Now, the events that I’ve worked on are more focused on the experience and the transformation.
There are a lot of other people that do enrollment events where the purpose of the event is basically to sell. That’s not my area of specialty.
But within the transformational event space, there’s still lots of opportunity for you to be highly, highly profitable.
And I’ll give you a few ideas on that.
So one mistake I see people make is they focus on getting all their revenue from ticket sales, and they don’t make enough of a profit margin on their ticket sales.
So one is that you want to figure out what profit you have and you want to make sure that you are pricing your ticket tiers accordingly.
So I like to tier tickets where you have maybe, let’s say if you’re selling 200 tickets, the first 50 are at a certain price point, the next 50 are another price point and you rise.
So you will have revenue on the front end with ticket sales, but you also want to have back-end sales.
Whether this is enrolling people into your coaching program, whether this is offering some continuity program of how the group can stay connected, whether it’s offering some additional workshops, whether it’s letting speakers, a few very strategic, carefully selected speakers, sell from the stage where then you can make an affiliate or commission fee off of.
Sponsorships are another way. I have one client that, I mean, she gets half a million dollars in sponsors for her event because she has a very targeted high-profile demographic for her event.
So, yeah, those are a few different revenue streams that you can look at.
I would say get creative and definitely look at revenue beyond just your ticket sales.
Pam: I can see how you’ve helped people wake to wealth, but what was the defining moment for you when you saw and thought: ‘Oh, my goodness. Now I am able to wake up wealthier’. What does that mean to you? Just take us on that journey of that defining moment for yourself.
Tanya: I actually have a few moments come to mind.
I would say that the first definition of wake to wealth for me is not necessarily financially related. It’s the moment where I’m like: ‘Wow, I love my life. I love my work. I love the impact that I’m having. I can’t believe that this is my job or that I get paid for this.’
That for me is the first thing that comes to mind of true wealth because I’ve worked in corporate for very big companies making six figures. And there were times when I did not feel wealthy. I felt burnt out. I felt unhappy. I felt like I would have sleepless nights of like: ‘Am I ever going to meet my purpose and my potential? This can’t be it.’
And so for me, it’s really getting to a place. And I would say discovering events and my absolute passion for organizing transformational events that have such a beautiful impact on people and seeing the transformations that come out of that, that for me was really a defining moment of like: ‘Wow, I found my thing.’
And I’m so grateful that I get to do this work in the world and that I get to help.
Now I’m in a position where not only do I do this work, but I help other people do this work.
And so I feel like the ripples are just so far and wide. And that’s just the best feeling.
Pam: Absolutely. Gosh, I love that so much because, for me, true wealth is when you can reach back and help somebody else up, help them up. And that’s exactly what you are doing, which is just incredible.
We’ve come to the point of wildcard now.
And wildcard for anybody who’s listening for the first time or watching for the first time. And even Tania doesn’t know what a wildcard is. But I have a series of questions and I’m going to ask you, Tania, to just choose a number between one and five. And any number you choose, I will be asking you that question. And these questions are plugged from our community and are just questions that have come in that I feel you will be able to answer.
Tanya: Okay, let’s go with number 3.
Pam: Wonderful. Okay, so number 3 is;
What is the best strategy for selling out your event consistently?
Tanya: Focus on delivering an epic event, an epic experience.
Just really put the intention and the emphasis on how can I deliver the most amazing experience. How can I just wow people as much as possible and really weave that intention in throughout the event? That, for me, is the thing that is always going to work.
Pam: Yeah, 100%. So don’t focus on profits, don’t focus on money, just focus on delivering at the highest level because that will sustain your business.
Tanya: And I believe that the profits will come when you focus on the experience and you deliver something amazing, the profits will come.
Pam: Tania, it has been wonderful.
Being somebody who has done plenty of events, both my own events and being part of other people’s events as a guest, as a speaker, or just in the audience. I have learned a ton just from hearing it from you.
Thank you so, so much for being on the show.
Amazing value. Thank you.
Tanya: Thank you so much for having me. I love talking about events, so this has been an absolute joy for me.
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