Hello Again… Again

Event planning this year has been weird…

Last year events came to a grinding halt. This year, has been tenuous because I wasn’t entirely sure that the events would hold. Spring was nerve wracking. Fall was better. In fact, it was GREAT!

Events have been going well. Customers and shoppers alike are ready to get back to “normal”, or whatever the version of normal is nowadays.

But 2022… I think, will be our first full year of doing events pre panini, er pandemic.

Anywho… I’m firing up the old blog to put my events back online here again.

Stay tuned for more information. 🙂

Stacy

It’s been a minute…. Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

Well friends, it’s been a minute. I was neck deep in vendor event season and it all came to a grinding halt when the Coronavirus showed up in the US and swiftly made it’s way to the Midwest.

I went through all the major emotions in about twenty four hours and then decided it was better to be safe and cancel my last two events. Then I set down my laptop and walked away for a bit. I was still all over social media on my phone, of course, but I really needed a break, so I took it.

We are still quarantined until April 30th, possibly longer, so I decided to take a moment to write a blog post about all the things you can do during this time to maintain your business, your home and your sanity.

Mind Your Business

File your taxes. Now is the perfect time to get all of your receipts together and get them done.

If you have already done your taxes, start working on next year’s taxes. At least organize your first quarter.

Do some training for your business. I follow a lot of coaches, but Brenda Ster, Gary Vaynerchuck and Mel Robbins are currently my favorites. Read, listen, watch or do a class. It’s all beneficial.

Start a blog. Okay, this is easier said than done, but you’ve got the time, right?

Join a new platform to build your business. TikTok is the biggest thing right now. Build a following over there by providing value and having fun and funnel them to your sales channels. Yes, I have an account, but I haven’t posted anything yet. I’m going to take my own advice and start creating content. Come on over and follow me there – @snowangelinwi

Reach out to your customers and community. See how they are doing. Ask them how they are genuinely doing, no strings attached. Just take the time to reconnect with them. They will remember when things level out.

For Your Home

Where to start? There are about eleventy-million projects on my “When I have time to get around to it” list. Now’s the time to tackle those items. You don’t have to do them all….. just a few.

Organize your photos, books, movies, emails, your phone (clean up all your digital places).

Clean. Yeah, I know you’re probably washing every dish in your house right now, so take a moment to clean the dusties out of the dish cabinet while it’s in between dish washings. Get the baseboards, wipe down handles, and all the other things you want to do to stay healthy.

You can even start to spruce up your yard now that Spring has officially sprung in Wisconsin.

Now is also a great time to teach kids some new life skills while they are home with you. You might discover that they love helping. One can hope, right?

For You

I’ve seen this posted a few times and while a lot of people are taking the time to check items off of the checklist, you can also choose self care.

Pain your nails.

Have a glass of wine.

Connect with friends via Zoom, Facebook, email or even pick up your phone.

Binge on Netflix, Disney + or clean out your DVR and watch to your heart’s content.

One of the best things about this quarantine is the requirement to slow down and just enjoy the little things.

I personally have enjoyed the break, but I’m ready to get back to work, so I’ll see you around the internets as we get ready for the fall.

Take care!

Stacy

2020 Word of the Year: JOY

I am not a fan of resolutions. I like them about as much as deadlines. They are such a vague notion to think about unless you take the time to put specific, attainable goals in place. Otherwise, it’s a thought that gets broken by the end of the first week of the New Year.

I am a big fan of a word of the year. It’s simple. Pick a word and figure out how you are going to live up to that word throughout the year. Ummmm… this sounds like a resolution with a deadline, but stick with me here. This is a lot easier.

How do you go about picking that word? I  admit I have stressed about this as often as I have had it just pop into my head, but that’s not the point of this. It should come naturally.  Sometimes that word comes to me in October of the year before, sometimes it’s the February of the year I’m supposed to be living that word. Start focusing on it when it comes to you. 

This year, it came to me easily, as soon as someone asked me if I had my word of the year yet.

That word is: JOY.

What made me choose that word? This world. We live in a world where people wake up angry and don’t even know why. Have you seen the meme “Good morning Facebook, what are we outraged by today?” It’s like people go looking for reasons to be angry. It makes me feel exhausted.

A little over a year ago, I started a project on my personal Facebook page, called #happyposts and every day I posted a meme or photo of something that made me happy.  I’m still adding to it. This made me happy because whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed, I have a nice little collection of happy thoughts right in one place that I can access whenever I’d like. 

This year, I decided to level up and and include my word of the year into my project. Here is how I’m using this word.

  • Every day, spend a few minutes concentrating on things that bring me joy. If you know me at all, you know this isn’t hard. Coffee brings me joy. My hubby, family, friends and my two nutty huskies all bring me joy. 
  • I created a playlist that makes me super happy. It is also great for cleaning motivation.
  • I look for quotes that make me feel joyful.
  • I make a point to connect with people who make me happy. 
  • I look for something to be joyful for each day. 

I know, it seems overwhelming, but it really isn’t that hard. I have a little reminder set on my phone to go off in case I had a rough day and am not feeling particularly joyful. We all have those days and need a reminder to look for your personal joy and this makes it way better for me. 

Have you chosen a word of the year for 2020? 

Drop me a message and let me know. 🙂

Stacy

 

That time an event went TOO well. Or, Thanks, Facebook.

That time an event went TOO well. Thanks, Facebook. 

This has taken me two years to write and even now, I feel very emotional about it. I wasn’t sure I’d ever write anything about this event. It was the day I almost quit organizing events and the day that I realized I was meant to do this. I learned about 100 lessons that day about operating a business.

Vendor Events can be hit and miss when it comes to attendance. You just never know if all the work you have put into an event will pan out until the day of the event and the customers start rolling in. Until that moment, you second guess every move you have made. Did I book the right vendors? Did I do enough advertising? Did I advertise in the right places? You get the drift. 

Let me tell you about an event that went TOO well. How can that be? How could an event go too well? Keep reading, dear friend. It is the day that I call the best and worst day of my business life. 

I booked an event at a new venue and I was excited at the prospects of what this event would turn out to be. I had been thinking about organizing an event in this city for ages and it was finally coming together, until it went kablooey (is that a word?). 

I’m going to gloss over the months of event preparation with the exception of one facet and that is Facebook. I created a Facebook event as I do for all events. I’m still learning about the magic of algorithms and whatever Facebook does behind the scenes in order to select an event to showcase to the world. For all I know, they let a group of caffeinated adults throw darts at 30 different events and choose one to feature in the area. 

A couple of months before the event I noticed that the numbers of people who had marked interested or going were starting to climb rapidly. Facebook picked it up and made it a Featured Event. That made me feel excited because it was growing by the hundreds every day and steadily into the thousands. I posted about how exciting it was because the interest was in the tens of thousands and people posted that they were going to come to the event and share it with their friends. 

Now, let me say this – I had hoped that 1,000 people would turn up at the event. I’d have been thrilled as that would have broken my attendance record, so I encouraged people to share their event with friends and family and local connections. Eventually over 60,000 people were interested in the event (insert excitement and panic attack here) never thinking that that many people would actually turn up, they just marked it as interested in but wouldn’t actually come. Y’all, instead, it went VIRAL

The morning of, it’s raining and cold. The vendors are rushing between raindrops to get their product unloaded and get their cars parked. The venue had helped me coordinate extra busses to transport people back and forth from the overflow parking to the event space, just in case we needed them. Everyone is excited to be there and then…..

We opened the doors at 9 am and all.hell.broke.loose. 

People were coming in by the hundreds. The driveway and road leading to the venue was backed up and there were people who sat in their car for two hours in order to park and get into the venue. My greeters were literally running to keep up to welcome people into the event and hand out shopping bags. People were frustrated and tired and wet before they even set foot into the space or they were excited and treating it like this was a big party. We stopped counting how many had come through after 5,000 because we just couldn’t keep up. 

The shopping commenced. Vendors were running out of product two hours into the event and calling friends and family for backup product. It was the best day of their lives. Practically all of them left completely out of stock. Many shoppers left very happy. 

The others shoppers had a very different view – even though they chose to come to a free event at an upscale venue, they were angry. This is it? One room? Only 100 vendors? I came for THIS?  Let me say, I was very transparent, as I always am, about the participating vendors at the event, but they had built it up to be something completely different other than a vendor event. 

They all took to social media to vilify me as the worst person on the planet. Comments rolled in by the hundreds and all I could do was to shut off the commenting feature on the event and then hand my phone to someone else to delete the comments on the event that were horrible because they were the most vile things I had ever read. That’s what almost broke me. People were SO angry because they didn’t have what they had expected it to be and what 60,000 other people had expressed interest in. 

In this case, Facebook grabbed onto the event and it taught me one hell of a lesson. Making sure you know your audience, for one and marketing directly to them in order to bring in the right people. It can take an event and make it amazing or an absolute disaster and depending on the person – the event can be a massive success or a huge failure. 

It also taught me what I’m made of. It was the worst day of my business life. That was not my only event that season and I contemplated cancelling everything and just quitting my business. After a day, the comments started to go away and it seemed easier to press on with the next events. The rest of the events went very well and despite this huge massive mountain of a bump in my business, it pushed it to the next level and it has encouraged me to keep going with events because it is truly my passion – to help small businesses with growing their businesses. 

I’m still going……

9 Surefire ways to land in Facebook Jail

Facebook Inmate #28175783736 reporting for my 30 day sentence. 

Yes, I have been to Facebook Jail. It is frustrating for every user who relies on Facebook for everything from running a business to daily kitten videos. One moment you are happily scrolling along, liking posts, commenting on others, and you go to share something and ….. BLOCKED.

Yup.. you just landed in Facebook jail and probably have no idea why or how it happened. 

I have some insight as to why this happens, having been there myself and having watched others go through the same thing. If you want to avoid the of experience Facebook jail, do these things. 

  1. Spam Sandwiches – Spam stays in the can and out of the inbox, groups and walls. If you are posting the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over again (bet you thought I was going to keep going with that) it will surely land you in FB jail. Copy and paste is not your friend in this instance. FB knows what you are up to and changing a few words doesn’t trick them into thinking what you are doing isn’t spam. 
  2. Slow down, Speedracer – Copy and Paste will get you here too, if you aren’t jailed for handing out the offending spam sandwiches. If you are sharing the same post everywhere and doing it quickly, you will be locked down faster than you can say copy and paste. 
  3. Too many friends – Facebook wants you to make friends, but not too many friends or too quickly. If you are sending a lot of friend requests and not all of them are responding to your request, eventually Facebook thinks you are being spammy and will not allow you to send friend requests. You can monitor this by checking this link look under view sent requests –  https://www.facebook.com/friends/requests . If you see a number of requests that are not accepted, you can remove the requests. 
  4. Make your profile personal – I know a lot of folks are concerned about identity theft and such, but if you have a profile that doesn’t have any personal information and all you do is post ads, Facebook will flag it as such and potentially shut you down.
  5. Create original content – If everyone in your company is sharing the same company provided ad content, Facebook will eventually consider it spam and block you from posting it. All those little bots at FB central monitor all that stuff and while it’s not actually spam, they will start blocking views of the same thing posted over and over. This can be daunting, but it is SO worth it to stand out from your fellow representatives by posting original content that gets noticed (and probably borrowed by your fellow reps – so watermark it with your branding!).
  6. It’s not business, it’s personal – Your personal page is not for business posting. In the Terms of Service, it’s listed on FB’s page. It’s super easy to go live on your personal page and share with all of your friends, but you run the risk of getting shut down. The 80/20 rule is a good way to safely share your business information occasionally on your page without getting into trouble. Basically, 9 personal posts for ever 1 business post.
  7. Don’t tag 100 people on every post. Tagging is a great tool, but if you feel the need to tag your entire friends list every time you post something, it annoys your friends and they will untag themselves enough for FB to take notice.
  8. Annoying your friends and family – don’t be that marketer where you have a solution for everything with your company. You might… but you don’t have to bring it up in every comment of every post (no matter what your sponsor tells you).  If they don’t unfriend you or unfollow you, they may block you and that isn’t good at all. 
  9. General facebook glitchyness – there are weird times when something you post that is completely allowed will be blocked by facebook. It could be that Facebook is updating things and you get caught in the melee

The main point of all of this is to grow your business by building true relationships and not build quickly by annoying others. Slow and steady wins the race. We are so lucky to have this as a tool while marketing our businesses these days that we don’t want to abuse it. 

Stacy

Get in the domain game….

Have you ever Googled yourself? What do you find when you type in your name to the search bar?

Go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait.

You could be in for a bit of a nasty surprise that someone is using your name as their website address. Let me tell you, it came as a bit of a shock to see that my name, http://www.stacysnow.com, was linked to an adult website! As soon as it became available, I snapped it up and will sit on it forever to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

own your name – buy your domain in your name.

Why else would you buy a website domain?

  1. Vanity url – What better way for someone to find you than to Google your name and actually find you rather than the 8 million people who share your name?
  2. Redirect site – When they find your website name, you can use it to redirect to your business website or whatever you would like it to.
  3. Use it for personal reasons – What better way to put your resume online than to have your own domain name?
  4. Family history – We live in an amazing age where you will live on digitally even after you are gone. Why not have your name share your personal history?
  5. Personal security – We also live in an age where identity theft is on the rise. Safety first.
  6. It’s fun! It’s an addicting past time and could be a profitable business as well.

Verify your vendor event coordinator

It’s that time of year friends! The holidays are coming up and vendors, crafters and local businesses are all looking for ways to get their name out there. Vendor events are an amazing way to showcase your product and gain new customers, but there are a lot of organizers out there who are not on the up and up. It’s important to protect yourself and do your due diligence to ensure you aren’t getting scammed by someone who has no intention of doing anything but ghosting you once you have paid them. Knowing that people never expect to be surprised by an event that doesn’t hold, I have created a list of questions/advice detailing the red flags to identify and questions to ask.

Here in Wisconsin, we’ve had some … ahem… newsworthy situations on this topic and it’s become super important to me to share these tips to ensure that you are booking with a coordinator you are confident in.  

Questions to ask:

How many years have you been organizing events? Do you have some examples of previous events that you can share with me? If this is their first event, it doesn’t mean it will be bad. A newbie organizer may have things to learn when it comes to organizing, I know I still do, but if they check out in other areas, give them a try. They are only bound to get better at what they do.

Can I have the contact information for the sales office at the venue? This is an immediate way to verify that the event is legit. If the venue has them on their books, then it’s a good bet the event will hold.

What kind of event is it? Make sure For example, if you are a crafter looking for an event and the majority of the vendors are in direct sales, that type of event may not be your niche of event. Some coordinators will offer spaces to a wide range of businesses – from local businesses, to crafters, antiques, direct sales, handmade, etc… while some will drill down to a specific niche of vendors in a category. For example, handmade vendors who only feature gothic style creations.

How will you be advertising the event? Will you be advertising in the local paper, a sponsored Facebook post, TV ad, billboard, yard signs, fliers, etc. While this is a standard question, it’s important to note that advertising is the responsibility of the vendor and the participants to ensure a great turnout. There are a ton of ways to advertise the event but there should be an advertising budget for the event. That’s a fair question to ask.

How many vendor spaces do you have and how many spaces remain? Some organizers coordinate an event close to the event date and others plan out over several months to a year in advance. This could vary, but if it is within a month of the event and half of the spaces are still open, you may want to ask additional questions to get more information as to why so many spaces are still open.

How many vendors are returning from the previous event?  This could vary on the organizer’s philosophy of cycling in new vendors per event, but in my opinion, I like to see vendors who book with a coordinator time and time again. It lends credibility to the vendor that they are doing a good enough job that the vendors choose to come back.

Is there a fee for shoppers / guests to attend the show? This is a personal choice at the discretion of the organizer. It may be to lessen the costs of the vendors or to raise funds for a specific cause. Most of the time it is $5 or less.

Are there any additional costs for the event? If you are a food vendor, you may need a food license, or need insurance, etc. Those additional costs may make or break your bottom line.

Other event specifics –

What is the size of the space?

Are tables and chairs provided?

Is there an additional charge for electricity?

Is wi-fi available?

Can we set up the night before?

Would someone be available to help load/unload inventory?

Are there any plans in place of inclement weather?

How can I pay? Check, Square, Paypal, Money Order?

What if I book the spot and can’t be there? Can I be refunded?

If the event is cancelled, what is the refund policy?

Do they have a list of references you can use to reach out to current / past vendors and venues?

How often do you communicate with your vendors leading up to the event?

This is a long list of questions, but don’t be afraid to ask them until you are confident that you are working with a great organizer.

Now that you’ve booked the event, have a great show!

Money mindset, my why, success and being a good person. You can do it all.

I heard through the grapevine today that someone was saying that I was just in this business for the money. I know it was meant as a slight, but I didn’t take it that way. Most people would have gotten angry, but I didn’t because I am lucky enough to be able to say that I get to have a business that I love and I just happen to make an income as well.

For some reason, people think making money (or wanting to) is a bad thing. Quite frankly, it doesn’t make you a bad person, and the person who is saying it has some demons of their own to work out. I’m not losing sleep over it, but it made me think about my why and the reasons I’m in business.

Here are my top 5 reasons:

1. I am in this business to help other business owners build their businesses by getting in front of new people. That has always been my #1 reason for organizing events. I love being able to watch the vendors grow their businesses! One of the greatest joys I get is to see my vendor friends grow their businesses.

2. I am in this business to help shoppers connect with good business owners who will provide excellent customer service and products to the shoppers.

3. I am in this business to build relationships and friendships. I have gained some amazing friends and I cannot imagine them not being in my life. We have laughed and cried, hugged and teased each other like family. Ultimately, if you have been one of my vendors, you are family.

4. I am in this business to learn about myself and grow. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and the only way you are going to learn about it is to be in the trenches and do it.

5. I am in this business to make money. There, I said it and in a public way. Everyone needs to keep a roof over their head, the lights on and food in the cupboards. Just because I love what I do, doesn’t mean I should do it for free. I consider myself lucky to be able to have a business that I love and pays my bills. I should also add that I organized events for 15 years before I decided to make this an official business and during that time I was not making money from them, I just loved organizing them. I have definitely paid my dues. Now, it’s time to pay myself.

I feel strongly about this simply because money is a roadblock to success for a lot of people. They become scared that making money will change how others see them. You can be successful, make money and be a good person. If others treat you poorly because of your business success, that is a mindset issue for them, not for you.

Be proud of your entrepreneurship and what you have accomplished. It is a business – YOUR business. Don’t let anyone make you feel badly for taking it seriously. If you don’t, nobody else will.

You can be passionate about your business, be successful, a good person and make money.
You can be passionate about your business, be successful, a good person and make money.

What happens when a vendor is a no show to an event.

This was actually a Facebook post in my group and then I realized it was worthy of it’s own blog post. If you are in the Wisconsin or Illinois area – come join my vendors group

I wanted to post something today and it will sound rant-ish… but it’s been on my heart lately with event season and I need to say it. So if this strikes you hard, it probably should. If it doesn’t, then it’s a non issue, but I feel the need to say it.

TL;DR – If you booked an event – show up for it or notify the organizer you aren’t coming. It sucks having empty spots.

Organizing events is not easy. I try to be pretty transparent when things happen with events that impact others, but I try to keep the “stressful” stuff out of it. There are a lot of behind the scenes things that need to be done in advance of the event leading up to the day of the event, when I arrive at the venue and even before vendors arrive. My job is to make organizing events look easy and deal with those details so you don’t have to. Many of you who have gotten to know me really well know that some mornings are not as stress free as I’d hope for them to be and you can tell, but you know I’ve done what I can to ensure that it doesn’t impact you.

I completely understand things come up that require people to cancel at the last minute. Family emergencies, illness – nobody can predict the flu, car accidents, things that change your plans with zero notice. Those kinds of things happen and calling the event organizer is not first on your list of people to reach out to. Even if it hits you a day later, I get it. At some point in time, you’ll hear from that rep.

All that being said, a major point of frustration for me, as an organizer, is when I work to coordinate something and a rep who has committed to the spot, paid for the spot, has received all of the emails and details leading up to the event is a no show. No call, no email, text, voicemail, smoke signal, telepathic message saying they can’t be there. Believe it or not, if you are in one of my events, you become “my people” and I worry when you aren’t there.

What happens then?

There is an empty spot in the event with your company name on it. The other vendors will try to fill in the gap by expanding their booths, meant to fit into a specific sized space, to fill in the gap, but it’s obvious the event wasn’t set up like that.

The reps will notice the empty spots and ask who no showed. Believe me, those names are remembered and shared with others. I’m not running around telling people who didn’t show , but it’s not hard to figure out based on the list of vendors on the events lists.

Someone will inevitably come to the greeter table to ask where that person is because they were hoping to see the product line. The disappointment on that person’s face when they find out that the rep isn’t there is something you don’t want to experience. Then, we scramble to find someone else to provide as a contact to that customer to ensure they receive amazing service by someone who may have been able to be there, had I been aware that the rep wasn’t going to attend the show. And I’m sure the company name is remembered as not having reliable reps.

A rep who came to the show to shop, knowing they weren’t able to get in to the show comes to ask what happened to the rep who was supposed to be there. Most times, all I can say is “I don’t know.” I don’t actually have any idea what happened, but I’m hoping that the no show rep is not injured or sick and needs help. The rep who is there as a shopper will inevitably ask why I didn’t call them. On the day of, getting the event going, if someone is a no show, I don’t have time to bring in someone at the last minute – by last minute I mean 30 minutes or less before the event starts. And – I appreciate all of you who keep your displays in your car for that reason, but the last minute swap usually won’t work because we have already broken down the space.

Why wouldn’t someone show up?

First – like I said before – emergencies happen. Although, when the emergency has passed, they usually reach out to explain themselves. Understandable and will resolve itself.

Second, the other reason, the rep has double booked themselves or gone out of business. In either case in scenario number two, it’s important to be communicative, if not to me, then your business sponsor as it impacts them as well..If you are an upline who is dovetailing downline reps into an event, few things are harder to hear than the person you trusted to take on an event is a no show. That is a hit to your organization and company name.

What will really throw you off your game is if you have left one business for another. Your name is Mudd in the event arena now and when you try to get back into the event with organizers, they will remember you and likely not book you.

Every time I host an event, something like this happens. And while I realize it’s not the issue of the vendors who participate, it’s a peek behind the curtain so you can see how something that seems small can have a ripple effect on an event, a company and the people around you. If you’ve organized an event, you know how difficult this can be and have probably experienced the same difficulties.

Thanks for taking the time to read my incredibly wordy and not grammatically correct post, my friends.

Don’t be that organizer

Y’all, getting vendors for events can be difficult sometimes, I totally get it.

There are many methods I recommend when it comes to getting vendors. For example:

  • Reach out to the corporate office for recommended reps in that area.
  • *Network, network, network…. make connections with other coordinators and vendors and ask for recommendations from them.
  • *Find quality artists, crafters and vendors in the area and extend an invitation for them to join your event.
  • *Post in Facebook groups.
  • *Connect with Chambers of Commerce in the area of the event.
  • *Do a sponsored FB post calling for vendors.
  • *Locate community calendars and add your info to them. Some are free, some are paid.
  • *Join the FB groups of the reps you want as vendors. Join their community. Get to know them. 
  • *Event websites.
  • *You also have Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Alignable and other platforms to make connections, as well as in person networking events.
  • *Get to know your vendors so that they recommend other vendors to your events. In this arena, I am very blessed. I have an amazing number of vendors who will advocate for me and my events. 

There are many other ways to get vendors, but there is one way I do not recommend, and this NOT going to make me popular by saying it.

Do not go to another event and hand out your cards, flyers and registration forms to get vendors for your show. It Is tacky and it is lazy. Feedback from the vendors is that they are distrustful of the person who does this and it makes them uncomfortable and potential lost sales because of it.

If you are going to do this, I recommend stepping up and introducing yourself to the organizer to get their blessing. At least they will know what you are up to, but if they say no, please honor their wishes, because no, not all coordinators find their vendors that way.

I realize this stance will make me unpopular in the organizing community, but for the love of Pete, please don’t be this organizer. Vendors talk. They share the good, bad and ugly. Let’s stay on the good.

❤