Monday, May 19, 2008

More on ROI

I've been getting some interesting online and offline feedback to my post a few days ago regarding "return on investments". Thanks for the conversations, folks.

Just a quick thought 'cuz there aren't enough cliches in blogs already:

"If you keep on doing what you've always done, you'll keep on getting what you've always got."

And also, here is one of the comments I posted for that other post:

You are right, folks can stay home. But...How many good stories do you know where a journey must be set out on, the growth obtained and the journey home a changed person?

That is the power of going off to a conference like ours. And like many stories, there are monsters to defeat. In the case of the OISBC, some participants found that the monster was themselves and their old belief systems.

There are few stories that say, "see how much I learned never leaving my house." There are exceptions and they are few. One of the past participants of the OISBC included in her comments about the camp that a person needs to come ready to focus ("make it a retreat") on the volume of information we deliver. The power is not just the information. The power is in the journey, the setting-aside of time, the sacrifice of one's gold, the entering into and of energized space. Journey to the conference.

The journey tho', if we believe in the truth of the stories we tell, is pretty darn important.
Journeying to the same place, over and over again, loses its ability to teach. Time for folks to set out on a new path.

Being a full-time storyteller is not for everyone. It takes a lot of sacrifice, as any small business does.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Take a Listen Now! In Depth for the "Outside In Storytelling Marketing Camp."

Our most recent marketing workshop was in February. Part of that camp experience was a follow up conference call. We recorded that call and it's here for you to listen to now (click here). If you are on the edge about attending the next camp in August 2008, please listen to these folks talk about what they've learned and how they are applying the learning from the camp.

"Sean, there were so many wonderful things that came 'at' us in the boot camp, that I have just started working on just a little bit of it at a time. One of the things that became very clear to me was that I really needed to spend time redefining my niche. I thought I knew. I knew what I enjoyed. Even my mission statement didn't truly reflect what is was I actually do. So I spent time trying to refine that and working on my niche some more. That is just one of the things ( I learned). I am going to name two or three more..." - Call Participant, North Carolina

The audio is a bit rough in places, such are the wonders of conference call technology. One of the things I like about this call is that you can hear Priscilla and I working through some thoughts about marketing one of her events. This is the kind of give and take that happens at the camp- something you can't just get from listening to the camp audio recordings.

You can register for the next camp at our website. Use the promo coupon code: dryheat to save 20%.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Return on the Investment

Hey storytellers and other working artists....So, what’s the ROI on the conferences you keep attending every year?

The email or the posting (I get many) reads something like,

“I go to so many conferences that I just can’t afford to come to your 'Outside In Storytelling Marketing Boot Camp.' You should (do something that makes it nearly painless for them) to attend.”

So, if you will, let me talk to your CEO for a moment. Yes, you have one for your small business and that small business is YOU. I know, it will be hard to quit being an Owner for a moment, but I need to talk to your CEO, the one who makes real life, bottom-line decisions.

Dear CEO- maybe you need to convince this storyteller that it’s time to ask a real question: “How much ROI (return on investment) are you getting from going to the same conference(s) every year, seeing the same people, taking yet another version of the same workshops you take each year?”

Hold up there. Your Owner side is popping up and saying, “But I like the people, the setting, the friendship, the fun” of the conferences I keep going to year after year after year.” Your Owner may be right in that those things are important for one part of your spirit, but your CEO needs to step in and focus on your bottom line. So, again, CEO, what is the ROI in these same conferences every year? Is it time to take a break this year and attend the “Outside In Storytelling Marketing Boot Camp?"

One woman left the OISBC last year and went out and made nearly $1000 with a simple change in her marketing strategy. Paid for her workshop in just one week. Others report new publicity from the tips they learned at the workshop. I can't assure you that you will do the same. You might do better.

So, what’s the ROI on the conferences you keep attending every year? You know, the real ROI, the one that pays the gasoline bill, the electric bill and puts food on your table? You know, the real ROI that knows the economy is changing?

Somebody will write me and tell me that I don’t understand how important relationships are and how they need to go to the conferences to be refreshed. Those folks probably are not ready for the life-changing, career-reorienting content of the “Outside In Storytelling Marketing Boot Camp.”

I also get told to “apply” to present the OISBC at various conferences. That would mean spending my money to fix your business. No thanks. You are welcome to make arrangements to bring the OISBC to your area for a reasonable fee. I am one of the most flexible national-level folks out there.

This isn’t arrogance. For some, it is a wake up call to understand your business and seize the freedoms of doing what you love. You can do it.

The OISBC could change your bottom line. It will change the way you think about your storytelling small business. It will affirm your vocation as well.

What if one just one technique from the OISBC brought you ten more gigs next year? That would more than pay for the costs associated in coming to the OISBC. If it wouldn’t, then you need to charge more. If you can’t charge more, then you need to go get a more traditional job or you need to move somewhere where you can charge more.

Take some time off from one of your regular conferences and come spend time at the OISBC. We’ll treat you like gold and challenge you like crazy.

So, what’s the ROI on the conferences you keep attending every year?

Click here to register for the August 2008 Boot Camp

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Monday, May 05, 2008 May 2008 Podcast Is Here!

The latest Podcast is now available. You can listen right now when you click here!

The May 2008 edition features stories by Tim Ereneta (in the picture to the left) telling "Isabella and Her Brother" from his performance at the "Emergent Storytelling Series," Mary Garrett telling "Heaven and Hell" from her new CD, Sean Buvala telling his version of the "Lion and the Mouse," recorded live at a school show for small children (your speakers will get a workout on that one) and Debra Morningstar who tells "The Grasshopper's Song" from her new CD.

The coaching moment this month is from Priscilla Howe recorded at the "Outside In Storytelling Marketing Boot Camp."

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Small is the New Big

In a quick response to Tim's latest blog post:

Tim, with respect for you, I disagree. I really want to agree. I really want to believe change is on the horizon. But, it’s not.

To be even more honest, my compassion is fatigued. I’m still waiting for that apology call from the BOD after the Eric Miller fiasco. Did you get your call yet? I know, it is never going to happen. And really, does anyone believe the ED resigned of her own accord? If that is true, then we really do lack leadership.

Tim, It’s not a battleship, in my opinion. That is too modern a reference. Rather, it is an old-timey, rusted bicycle that has been given a new coat of paint, right over the rust. Then, they added one of them new-fangled battery powered lights to the front. “See how pretty it is, children?” There is nothing new here, with the exception of the location change. This is not even the first time an online forum has been tried and failed for the NSN. What is going on?

The Marketplace solution is already in reach, has been for years with the clear knowledge of the last two Chairs, with zero out of pocket expense from the BOD. Don’t see that happening, do we? Saying collaboration is desired is smoke screen, as I have experienced it.

Now, instead of taking the money that is already on the table, we’re supposed to do benefit concerts for the NSN? Sigh.

The solutions for the NSN are:

1. Allow it to die and resurrect Phoenix-like with a new mission, a new look, a new name, new energy. Nothing says “we mean to change” like letting something, well, change.

2. The new organization must work with existing organizations in true collaboration, reaching out to heal the many wounded that have been left in the wake of the NSN’s path over the last few years. The current economy also demands collaboration.

3. The new organization must be de-centralized. Set Godin calls it, “Small is the New Big.” Regional offices in Chicago, Boston, Phoenix the current office in Tennessee (for example) will allow for a fast moving, modern organization that can reclaim the “Mother of All Art Forms” mantle that storytelling should have. The new ED can then choose to work out of any of those offices. How powerful an incentive that will be!

4. If there is not going to be a resurrection, then there needs to be competition. That will be an economic hit, too. However, right now, you can have your national storytelling in any flavor you want as long as it’s 1970 Julep. Maybe, ultimately, that is the problem.

It's time for me to just stop talking about this. Your mileage may vary. Shoot the messenger. Not valid where prohibited by law. I may be wrong. User assumes all risks.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.