January 19, 2018, 10:47:17 PM

Author Topic: Need advice for upcoming event  (Read 3339 times)

ag2

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Need advice for upcoming event
« on: April 23, 2012, 12:32:48 AM »
I've just applied for a booth at an upcoming weekend "arts picnic" this summer.  Last year there were 25,000 visitors.

My long-term plan is to sell the blueprints and building instructions online in an automated fashion.  And if possible, I'd like to sell the rights to another company.  (I don't think that I want to get into the manufacturing business at this time.)

In preparation for this arts picnic, I plan to have a dozen or so of these desks for sale, and a large stack of these blueprints and instructions for sale.  I hope this picnic gives me a little boost.  This picnic is in late July, so I have some time to build the desks, tweak the plans, etc.

My website and facebook page need tons of work, but it's enough to give you an idea.
http://doubledesk.net/
http://www.facebook.com/doubledesk

So I'm looking for advice.  I've never run a booth at anything like this before.  My wife is super comfortable running the booth, talk to people, etc.  I'm comfortable as well, but I'm looking for advice on the business side of things if anyone has any.
Thanks everyone.

benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2012, 06:05:09 PM »
Your goal should also be to build your mailing list (either physical mail or email or both.)

Since I'm in the greeting card business we typically do a fishbowl type drawing. We put up a sign that says enter your info to win $50 AMEX gift card or whatever... We have some forms people can fill out with their address info, email, and phone.  We then have a random drawing for the $50 and I send the prize to that person.  In my case I usually give away a lot of "second" prizes which are a free trial account of my greeting card web site. I send them all a follow up card and let them know they didn't win first prize but for second prize they can go to my web site and try it out for free. ($5 free trial.) It gives me an excuse to follow up with them immediately after the show. 

Now that might not work for you, but maybe you can figure out some other type of free bonus to give out to everyone.  Maybe you could have one blueprint you give away free (like the tinyhouse guys do. They give away one or two blueprints to sell their book of all their blueprints.)

BTW the majority of people doing a show never follow up with the leads they get!
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ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2012, 09:14:22 PM »
Thanks Ben.  I'll be sure to give away a few plans through a fishbowl drawing.  I hadn't thought about that.

I also thought about building my Facebook likes in a similar manner.  Perhaps a drawing for every 50 likes or something.  (I don't have any likes yet because I haven't told any friends about it yet, and I've asked my family to wait until I perfect the plans.  Should be done next week.)

benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2012, 12:23:51 PM »
Also

If you're building an email list or facebook page, make sure you have some great content scheduled to go out after the show...

You want your new readers to get some good content right away which will make them continue to stay subscribed.  When I'm building blog readers or email readers or whatever... I try to have already planned some great content for a week or two afterwards. Or if I post an article that goes viral, gets traction, gets "dugg" or "liked" or "tweeted" or whatever. I want to make sure I continue to followup that article with some of my best content.
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ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2012, 09:20:13 PM »
Well, I know this crowd is big on blogging, but I have one product to sell: plans/blueprints.  I have ideas for future, unique designs/products.  So I can see the value in building a mailing list.  But I don't intend to blog.

I'm certain there's opportunities, such as raising children.  I might keep up with comments on facebook.  I can think of a theme /topic to keep visitors comming back, but I don't have the time or interest to blog about raising children.

JakeR

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2012, 08:43:13 AM »
Blogging (more like podcasting) is good for a community building for a membership or an ongoing series of products. For a single product/niche the 3 product approach is probably best (free product with no opt in, free product with opt in, and for sale premium product).

Resources I use.
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benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2012, 06:00:56 PM »
LOL

I said blogged and you immediately shut down instead of listening to a bit of million dollar advice I gave you. Let me ask you a question a different way since you seem to have a hard time grasping my golden nuggets. 

What good is building a mailing list if you don't have stuff to MAIL THEM?

The point is you need to develop some content to mail those people (or email them) right away.  Otherwise it is pointless to create a mailing list.

Develop a newsletter or some other free content you can mail out to everyone that joins your mailing list at the show.

Then send it out within a week after the show so that you, your product, your booth, your desks, are fresh on their mind.
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ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2012, 09:25:47 PM »
Ben,

You are right.  You said blog and I slammed the lid on the discussion.  My intent (as honest and righteous as it may be) is to develop an automated trickle income on the side without significantly disrupting my time with my family.   (Right now I spend my time on this in the late evenings and early mornings.) I've got a great job that many people would give their right arm to have.  Good intentions often go nowhere.

However, your words didn't fall on deaf ears.  I have always wanted to be my own boss.  So I've put a lot of thought into what you said and tossed around a few ideas that might suite my abilites and personality.

Besides, some folks pay good money for the advice you, Heidi, Jack and others give on this board. We oughta pick up those golden nuggets you are tossing our way.

benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2012, 02:44:56 PM »
Admittedly I think I was in a bad mood when I slammed you. Sorry about that. Been a little bit stressed lately and working to relieve that stress.

Yes... a pretty standard topic is...

You have a product now. But how do you get that to become a full time business. Is it a single product or can you develop more products to go with it... And can you sell additional products (affiliate stuff for example or memberships to another web site or whatever) to your existing customers...

It's something that holds a lot of people back and keeps their business as a "hobby" and not a "business".

The fact that you're thinking about that stuff is your first step to real financial freedom.
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ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2012, 09:29:48 PM »
No worries.  Been there done that too.

The doors to my sponge-like mind are open.  I've tried a business in the past, failed, lost some money, did not regret it, learned from it.  Only wanted independence even more.

My approach is this:
 This doubledesk.net business is a learning experience.  It may be practice run for something else down the road.  I've always got more ideas.  But in the meantime, I'll put all my energy into this.  If it doesn't grow and produce independence, perhaps it will at least be residual income.

benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 10:25:31 PM »
No worries.  Been there done that too.

The doors to my sponge-like mind are open.  I've tried a business in the past, failed, lost some money, did not regret it, learned from it.  Only wanted independence even more.

There are investors that won't invest in you unless you've tried before and failed :) You usually learn more from a failed start-up so you know what pitfalls to avoid in the future. I've had quite a few failures.

My approach is this:
 This doubledesk.net business is a learning experience.  It may be practice run for something else down the road.  I've always got more ideas.  But in the meantime, I'll put all my energy into this.  If it doesn't grow and produce independence, perhaps it will at least be residual income.

Exactly... and it can help you pay down your other bills and give your family stability when you're starting these businesses.

One of the things I didn't realize was when I went full time and quit my job, I really did it early.  I should have kept doing both my job/business for a little while longer... all that extra money was allowing me to pay off all my bills and build a nest egg and it would have made going full time in my business easier... if only I had waited another 6 months or year.
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benfitts

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2012, 10:31:29 PM »
Oh yes...

Have you seen Tumbleweed Tiny Houses?
http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

Now they're not the same niche... but they are similar in a lot of ways.

They don't make desks, they make tiny houses.

Here is what they do.

They have free houseplans. All you have to do is optin to get a couple of their most popular houseplan designs.
They have a houseplan book with more detailed houseplans and the story about how their company started.
They have blueprints for specific designs that give you the more detailed building instructions you need to actually build one of their houseplans.
They offer workshops around the country where you can come learn more about their tiny houses, how to build them, etc.
They also offer fully built tiny houses for sale.

In some way's it is similar to your business.

You have plans for the doubledesk.
You sell pre-built doubledesks.

So you've got two of those elements that the other company has. 

Maybe talking and thinking about how Tumbleweed does there thing you can  come up with some more ideas.

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ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 09:38:27 AM »
I think I could develop a similar model. 
Perhaps give away the blueprints, but sell access to the building instructions and videos.  Grow it.  Do it again and again with other designs.  I have new designs for other niche markets.

ag2

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2012, 08:07:26 AM »
I got accepted.  I have a boot for this summer's Arts Picnic.  It's not a huge accomplishment, but it will be a good opportunity to gauge people's interest.  There's been over 25K visitors the last two years in a row.  My booth is directly across a children's activity center, so I think it's a good spot.

It's time to get in the workshop and build my inventory of completed products!

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Re: Need advice for upcoming event
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2012, 11:03:21 PM »
Once you get your doubledesks built it might be worth it to build single desks for children as well.  Some people might want something more conventional (or only have one child).  Then you become the "child desk guru" as funny as that sounds :)