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.


  1. Dear Sean:

    As you already use podcasting for your Storyteller.net Live event, could you apply this technology to your event in August at a reduced registration price?

    Then you could have a blog set up for online and in-person attendees to ask questions.

    In fact, I would like to see this same idea applied to the National Storytelling Conference. Upon entrant release forms from presenters, there could be podcasts that people buy. The presenters could actually receive the profits from the sales.

    It may be too late for 2008, but there is always next time.

    Until we tell again,

    Rachel Hedman

  2. Great questions. The audio for the event will be released in a learning kit later this week :-). Although people will be able to get the content from the audio kit, there is still great value in actually being present. The power of a "mastermind" group, even if gathered for only a few days, is very intense. I urge anyone who really wants to go from "serious hobby" to "pro" to come join us.

    When people attend the camp, they get a copy of the CD/mp3's as well.

    Not sure if there is a market for the "listen in live" for the event itself. That would be an expensive addition to the camp and I am not sure that it would be financially successful. I do think that the blog ideas in conjunction with that would be a good idea.

    I have been podcasting with the NSN events for years. They've ignored me and my work on that for 10 years. I did it anyway. You can hear many variations of that in the Amphitheater at Storyteller.net. Technology has changed by scadzillions in the last ten years.

  3. Dear Sean:

    Being in-person is definitely better, though it is also good to be close to family! Having technology options allows us tellers to balance our lives.

    I think the market will eventually be there to listen in live. Perhaps this is an idea to pursue in 2009 or 2010.

    Until we tell again,

    Rachel Hedman

  4. Rachel,

    I was just editing the audio from the follow-up call from the Outside In Storytelling Marketing Boot Camp. Wow.

    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.

    Teleconferencing is a great idea for the future. You may be right. However, it's hard to get artists to pay for conference calls. You know that first hand as an organizer.

    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.

    Thanks for your thoughts!