I’m working on a book project that will likely release as an ebook. I intend to title it something like “Business Principles for Geeks: So You Want to Run a Convention?”
Yeah, snazzy. Obviously I need to come up with a better title. I’ll get on that after I name my bard. Snarflord Flarghlehopper maybe?
In the process, I’ll post updates and snippets of the idea of where it’s going here. Probably on Wednesdays because today is Wednesday and that just makes sense.
First of all, let’s say you do want to run a business. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that its a convention you desire to run. You should be able to answer all of these questions.
What will the convention be about? Will it be a Pony con, a Whovian adventure? A generic Science-Fiction/Fantasy convention? Who is your audience? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they like to do?
What is your motivation? What’s driving you to make this happen? Why do you care?
Who will help you? Why will they help you? More importantly, why will they help you?
There are those who say that if the WHY is big enough, the HOW won’t matter. I prefer to think of it this way. If your WHY is powerful enough, the HOW HARD won’t stop you.
The facts always count. Success is in the details.
Before you start counting your thousands of planned attendees, picking your venue, rolling out your red carpet, and especially before you quit your regular job, you need to know what you want from this venture. You have to understand why you want to venture outside of your comfort zone.
And remember, this WHY has to be really, really big. Otherwise it won’t survive the five years it will take before you’re established enough to even consider escaping the huge workload you’re about to take on.
To understand your end goal, you need to decide what it should be first.
Do you plan to run a successful science fiction convention on an annual basis with positive increase in attendance every year? What does that look like? 500 attendees? 5,000?
Do you desire to have interesting and thought-provoking entertainment content and a well-rounded vendor’s room? Does that mean people are making their own content and programming, or are you controlling the whole schedule yourself?
Now why do you want these things? Is it to become well known in the community? To fill a gap that exists? Are you starting the first convention in your town or joining the ranks of many?
Write your final destination out in positive present tense, and make sure it’s something you can grasp onto. Make sure it really lights a fire in you to think about it happening.
For example, mine for AnomalyCon is this:
“I lead a highly successful convention that grows every year. We provide diverse content that supports authors and artists in their personal growth and chosen career paths while entertaining our attendees. We offer a safe, friendly and diverse environment where everyone can enjoy music, art and literature without fear of harassment.”
Ask yourself why you want to take on this project, or any major project. Until you have the why deep in your gut, your foundation will be shaky at best. This is like the very beginning of your business plan. It’s your mission statement. It’s what defines you. And if you can’t reach inside yourself, Simba, your volunteers won’t know how to find direction either.
So find your Why.