There’s a lot that goes into an event, regardless of whether you’re planning it, attending it, or speaking at it.
Investing both time and money, preparing to be out of your normal routine, booking travel, committing to being in the moment and all in, rearranging your schedule…
But if you’ve ever attended an event that is REALLY good, then you know everything that goes into it is SO well worth it.
Tropical Think Tank 2015
Last week John and I both spoke at Chris Ducker’s 2nd annual Tropical Think Tank event in the Philippines. (Chris Ducker is our good friend over at Virtual Staff Finder, and I KNOW you’ve heard me talk about him before) ;)
The coolest part about it?… it was unlike any conference or event I’ve ever been a part of.
For starters, it was held at a resort in the Philippines and was all-inclusive for attendees.
But aside from the heavenly location and feeling pampered the entire time, each day of the event was so well-balanced: presentations, mastermind sessions and then a night out – everyone together.
With just 50 entrepreneurs in attendance, it was not only easy to build strong relationships with the other speakers and attendees in a short amount of time – making the investment worth it for just that alone – it was truly like gaining a family.
What also blew my mind about the event this year was the indispensable advice and insights that every single speaker who stepped on stage had to share. TTT had an AMAZING lineup!
I also learned a great deal from the attendees – check out the audio version of this post for more on that!
What I learned
As always, I’m writing this post to give you a recap of the key lessons I learned at #TTT15 – ones that I think can help you on your journey as well.
I wish I could also in some way, shape or form share the overall experience with you, but that’s simply not possible, which is why I talk endlessly about the importance of attending live events.
Only YOU can open yourself up to the opportunity to experience something like this.
Here’s a rundown of my key takeaways, plus an actionable challenge for you to walk away with.
John Lee Dumas
John was first up on Day 1 of the conference with his opening keynote on The Fire Funnel: A Step by Step Guide to Igniting Massive Income Growth.
Here’s me and John just before he got on stage:
One of my major takeaways from John’s talk was the importance of your welcome email sequence: the very first pieces of communication your audience receives once they opt in to your email newsletter.
Because your welcome sequence is what will ultimately help you gain trust and build a strong relationship with your audience, which will open the doors to creating products and services they’ll actually pay for.
Do you have a welcome sequence set up for those who subscribe to your email newsletter that delivers free, valuable and consistent content? If not, it’s time to create one! Ideal length: 6 emails.
Matthew brought the heat with his talk, Book Yourself Solid, where he shared a 16-point checklist to help you get more clients than you can handle – even if you hate marketing and selling.
Sound like a valuable talk? Uummmm… YES.
My biggest takeaway from Matthew’s talk was actually something he didn’t mention once: the importance of being uniquely YOU. Matthew not only stole the stage and the attention of every audience member, he also showed us what it means – and the power of – standing out.
How are you positioning yourself as unique within your industry or niche?
I’ve done a whole lot of chatting with Dan online, but this was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting him in person.
Dan’s talk was all about How to Build a Content Machine to Fuel Business Growth, and I HAVE to say, Dan knows his stuff – like really well.
My biggest takeaway from Dan’s talk was packaged up nicely on a single slide: his 5 Must Have Sequences, one of which was a “cart abandonment” sequence. Note to self: create a cart abandonment sequence.
What is it? It’s an email sequence that will follow up with anyone who hits your checkout page for a product or service you’re offering, but who doesn’t end up purchasing.
Do you have a product or service you’re currently selling? If so, a cart abandonment sequence should be top on your list (if you don’t already have one).
I’ve seen Michael on stage a few times, and his presence never ceases to amaze me. His topic? The one he knows best: Why Your Brand Will ALWAYS Be Your Most Valuable Asset. If you listen to Michael’s podcast, then you’ve heard him dish this out here and there.
During his talk, Michael had everyone in the room do an exercise – something I’d never done before: write an obituary for your business.
I thought it quite strange at first, but after completing it, it made total sense: How do you want your business to be remembered? What’s at the core of your purpose?
Go for it! Write an obituary for your business and see what comes up for you! This was an incredibly powerful exercise for me and I highly encourage you to do it, too!
This girl rocks my world. If you’re not following Amy already, then head over to YouTube and check her out.
Amy’s talk was all about YouTube Marketing, and you better believe she had some VALUE BOMBS to share.
My #1 takeaway? Amy’s YouTube Video Formula and her 8-second rule.
What?! 8 seconds?!?? I’m taking this advice to heart: get to the content you promised to deliver in the title by second 9 of your video or your risk of losing your viewer just skyrocketed.
If you’re not using video for you business right now, and you’re looking for a platform to focus on for your marketing efforts, then check out Amy’s YouTube channel for ideas on how you could be leveraging this incredible medium to market your business!
Nick’s talk was all about How to Build and Market Your Movement – something that’s been on my mind ever since attending a panel session he sat on last year at Podcast Movement. Something about the idea of creating a “movement” through your beliefs, your content and your business has really stuck with me.
Fitting topic since Nick’s business is all about how to live a Life On Fire.
Funny enough, my biggest takeaway from Nick didn’t include the word movement anywhere:
Your biggest challenge is your biggest opportunity.
What’s your biggest challenge, and how can you leverage your story, your stance and your strategy to turn that challenge into your biggest opportunity?
If you don’t already follow Darren, then you might recognize his name from my recap of Social Media Marketing World in our March 2015 income report. To say that I’m a huge fan would be an understatement. He’s the power behind ProBlogger.net.
In his talk, 10 Things I Wish I’d Know About Blogging When I Started, Darren hit a point that hit ME really hard: In talking about how to identify your perfect reader, Darren added that it’s not only important to know what type of content will impact your readers, but also to identify the change you want to see in your readers.
I’d never looked at creating content this way, but it opened my eyes to a whole new process that I think can be incredibly valuable to those looking for better ways to understand and serve their audience.
Take out a piece of paper and write out: Where are your readers when they come to you, and where do you want them to be by the time they leave? Identify the change you want to see in your readers to help you understand what type of content will best serve them.
Kate & John
Well, this is awkward… Should I really be writing about my biggest takeaway from myself?
Sure, why not? ;)
This was me and John’s first duo stage presentation and it was so much fun! Our topic? Partners in Both Business and in Life.
What I think can be a huge takeaway for you: whether you’re working with your significant other, a business partner, or you’re working on building a team, it’s critical that you clearly define each person’s role in the business.
When you not only have a deep understanding of your own role in the business – but also the roles of each individual on your team – it’s easier to see where each member can be playing their biggest strengths (and where you should be delegating weaknesses).
Take time to define your role – and everyone else’s individual role – in your business. In what ways are you not playing your biggest strengths given your role? In what ways are you preventing your team from not playing their biggest strengths given their roles? In what areas should you be delegating your weaknesses to someone else?
This was my first time seeing James on stage (ever hear of SuperFastBusiness? Same James!), and during his presentation on 3 Leverage Steps that Will Double Your Profit and Halve Your Work Hours he brought up a topic that wasn’t necessarily “new” to me, but that definitely made me think twice about my actions: Be ruthless with your time.
James hit on a lot of really great points, including the importance of focusing on ONE thing versus many, but being ruthless with my time is something I’ve struggled with over the past several months so I was happy to hear him bring this up.
I know I need to start saying no more, but for some reason I continue saying yes.
Time is all we have. Over the next 30 days, be ruthless with your time – do not just give it away. Then, in the 30 days that follow, recognize what being ruthless with your time means for you, your business and your life. You might not recognize it right away, but once the effects of you saying no start to set in, you’re going to see a major shift in your day to day.
Lewis rocked the stage as the closing keynote speaker with some powerful exercises around gratefulness and awareness; his chat was kind of like listening to his top-ranked podcast in person! His presentation reminded me that we don’t always take time out to appreciate what we have, and to appreciate what we get to wake up every day and do.
Start your morning off every single day by saying out loud to yourself at least one thing you’re grateful for.
The Tropical Think Tank Team
Let’s be real: the ONLY reason any of this was possible is because of the love, passion and hard work Chris and his team put in to create this amazing experience.
Chris pulled out all the stops – treating his speakers, and attendees alike, as though we were movie stars. I SO appreciate that :) Chris MC’d the event, and he really deserved his own section up top – he was dropping value bombs left and right as well – especially during the panel sessions that took place after each group of 3 speakers hit the stage.
Chris, congratulations on putting together such an amazing event – you’ve set the bar HIGH.
And Chris’ wife, Erz – well, as Chris would say “forget about itttt”. (Translation: she is a rockstar and TTT went down thanks to her diligence, hard work and straight out smarts!) They sometimes say that behind every great man is a great woman. I know this to be true because of Erz.
And Sian (she’s the lovely young lady sitting right below this text with John – upper left) – WOW. Talk about having a strong team. Sian’s involvement and her attention to detail took this event up a notch. Not to mention the video crew, audio / sound check guys, photographers, greeters, resort staff… I could go on, but you get the point.
If it weren’t for ALL of them, none of this would have happened, and I like taking out time to appreciate and recognize all the hard work that goes into planning an event like this one.
From start to finish I felt honored to be a part of Tropical Think Tank, and the activities that were planned in between the talks and masterminds were second to none.
A sunset cruise? Yep, we did that.
A white party? We did that, too.
Recording a podcast in the pool? Crazy – I know!… but we did that, too.
My overarching, #1 takeaway from the ENTIRE event: Attend and participate in live events because the experiences and relationships you’ll build are unlike anything else.
Experiences like the one I shared last week with over 50 incredible entrepreneurs in the beautiful Philippines changed the way I think about entrepreneurship and the way we run our business. It also gifted me a new family of entrepreneurs who I know I’ll stay in touch with for years to come – and I know it can do the same for you.