Golfing at Sunset on Tobacco Road after my conference…
Well, so much for not traveling for a few months…
After my Scotland trip, I was really excited to take a couple months off from traveling to really focus on my business and some healthy habits.
That’s until Tate told me she was going to NYC and that I should come.
“Cool, I can handle a few days in New York!”
Then I got the invite for a sweet conference in Charlotte.
“It’s only a couple more days, and a quick flight.”
Then once I was realized I’d be in a state that I hadn’t been to recently, I had to look to see if there were a few golf courses I could knock off on my quest.”
“Pinehurst is just a two and a half hour drive, and there are six courses in that area I could play!”
Tack on another 4 days, and a thousand dollars in travel expenses, and my quick trip has turned into a two week excursion.
Sidenote: I just the best round of my life on Pinehurst #2 today – which was the host of the 2014 US Open. Almost hit a hole in one on #9:
That being said, the trip has been FANTASTIC – and the conference turned out to be much more valuable than expected.
The event was called Think Tank, and it’s put on by the affiliate network Share-A-Sale. I’ve done some work with them, and I know the guy who started the company – so when I got the invite I was pretty stoked – especially since I was unable to attend last year.
As I’m wrapping up my trip, and thinking about all the work I need to do, I began making my checklist for what to do “post-conference”. Conferences are always crazy periods of go-go-go, and meet-meet-meet, so you don’t always get a chance to think or do much work during the event itself.
So how do you make the most out of your time, post conference?
This is my 10 step checklist that I’m going through over the next few days to make sure that I stay in touch with the people I met, and follow up on the business opportunities that arose during the event.
1) Get Back to Inbox Zero
Before I worry too much about new business, it’s important I manage the business and obligations I already have.
I almost always try and stay at inbox zero, but after Think Tank my inbox was overflowing with hundreds of emails that I wanted to attend to before anything else.
This has me waking up early, while sitting in the dark at the Best Western Pinehurst plowing through messages. I’ve stayed at a lot of sexy hotels, and had a lot of sweet offices, but I can definitely tell you – it’s not always that glamorous:
Luckily my room tonight at Pinehurst Resort is much nicer than that 🙂
So before you worry too much about what happened at the event, make sure any balls you dropped while you were gone get handled, and that your employees, readers, or friends don’t feel like you’ve completely ignored them – even if you have.
2) Transfer Notes
There’s a good chance you’ve got copious notes that you’ve written on everything from business cards, to napkins, to the notes app on your iphone – yes people really do use that…or at least I do.
Transfer them someplace where they’re all together and you can easily access them. Personally, I like Evernote for this.
3) Prioritize Action Items
Once you’ve gone through email and you’re starting to think of what work you need to do, as well as how to follow up with everyone you met – it can be easy to get overwhelmed.
I’m sitting here with 20 different people I want to talk to, that will lead to 20 more action items, and this is just on top of all the other business related stuff that’s come up over the last week.
It’s important you break down the most important things and do them first – even if they aren’t the most fun.
Here’s my list:
- Inbox Zero
- Send all conference related emails
- Update Marketing Funnel for Enter China
- Make new Location 180 email list live
- Write and Schedule Content for November
If I just sit down and do this, it shouldn’t take me more than a couple days – but if I put it off in favor of something more fun, like editing golf course photos, I’ll find myself hurting.
4) Email the Event Producers
As someone who helps to organize a major experience every year, we put in a LOT of time and effort to ensure you have a good experience. We love getting feedback, and hearing nice words. So take a second, and email the event producer, thanking them for a wonderful event, and giving any other feedback you feel is relevant.
5) Email the People You Want to Stay in Touch With (and Maybe Some You Don’t)
You never know where your next major opportunity is going to come from. I’ve found it to be a rule of thumb that I’ll get two contacts at any conference that will have a significant impact on my business.
You can usually recognize which one those are going to be, but make sure you don’t drop the ball and let the relationship disappear until the next time you randomly cross paths. Email them to follow up, and talk about next steps if there are any.
Sometimes you also meet people that you don’t necessarily want to follow up with. Do it anyway. Even a simple email saying nice to meet you can go a long way, and you never know when they go to a friend and say something “So I know this guy that can help you with that…”
6) Clarify Primary Takeaways
You probably just got overwhelmed with a ton of information, both from the actual sessions, as well as from all the new people you met. Take the time to write down your primary takeaways, so that as you’re going through your next steps you can incorporate them.
A couple of mine from this trip:
- There are a lot more potential opportunities to monetize Breaking Eighty via affiliate marketing than I’d thought, while still being authentic.
- There are a couple markets that are perfect for Location Rebel that I’ve been completely neglecting.
- Webinars are still an excellent way to make sales and provide value at the same time.
I’ll be spending time working on each of these over the coming months – and it’s important to keep these front of mine so they don’t get overlooked in favor of what’s more urgent.
7) Write a Blog Post
Well, it’s pretty obvious that this one’s one my to-do list.
Why should you write a blog post after a conference, you may be asking?
Because it can be a great source of traffic, help you cement the key takeaways we discussed above, and can be a good reminder for other people at the conference to follow up with you.
Post it, and then get on Twitter and Facebook using the conference hashtag. Usually people will still be following it during the week after, and it can also be a good way to get on, or stay on the radar of the people behind the event.
8) Go to the Gym
I just spent 3 days (ok, more like 14 between NYC and North Carolina) doing nothing but eating and drinking. Props to Shareasale on that one, they certainly know how to throw a good party!
Sidenote: If you find yourself in NYC, do yourself a favor and check out Raines Law Room. Super cool and unique, and the “Tattle-Tale”1 was excellent.
But the whole trip, all I could think about is “wow, I’m getting fat.” And, you know, instead of doing something high intensity and healthy like going for a run and eating a salad, I went golfing and had bbq.
So when you get back, don’t just go to the gym, but create a schedule for getting back to your healthy habits. Make this the most important thing on your to do list, otherwise, you’ll let all of the other work you have to do overwhelm you and you’ll never make it.
Once I’ve developed those habits it will be easier to listen to Mike’s advice.
9) Take a Day Off
Conferences and travel are exhausting. Do yourself a favor and take a mental health day when you get back. Sure you should get started on this list, but also take some time to watch a trashy TV show or two or get a massage. It will leave you much more motivated to hit the ground running when you get back down to work.
10) Figure Out Which Conference is Next
Chances are you walked away with some great takeaways and are excited to get even more. So spend a little bit of time asking yourself questions to see what the best fit for the next conference will be. Some examples:
- Was this event too big? Too small? Just right?
- Were the attendees people I could actually do business with?
- Were the speakers bringing new and interesting ideas to the table?
- Was the event held in a place that I’ve been wanting or needing to go to?
Thanks to everyone who made Think Tank 2014 such a memorable event for me, and to Brian and the whole Share-A-Sale team for working so hard to put it together.