Making Lemonade Out of Lemons
I just finished up a 3 day event called “Branding, Books and Beaches” at Amelia Island Plantation with my friend Barbara Grassey which was awesome by the way. The way this played out was truly a case of making lemonade out of lemons.
Right before our event someone said to me, “I wish I could get up the courage to do live events but I’m afraid things will go wrong”.
Well let me tell you this; I can almost promise you things won’t go as planned but you shouldn’t let that stop you. Get ready to make some lemonade.
What Went Wrong?
Hurricane Matthew came along.
We were supposed to have our branding event at Hilton Head Resort. Everything was planned; all the pieces were in place. Then hurricane Matthew came along and made a hot mess of the Carolinas. It was impossible to host our event there due to the flooding and wind damage. The resort was closed, and it was just a few days until the big day.
The meeting rooms, photographers, videographers, and so much more had been carefully planned. Now we had to do the planning all over again, and we had to be ready in just a few days. Normally those few days before the event would be used to put last minute touches on our presentations and to take care of any other last minute surprises that always come up. (There are always surprises.) Those days definitely wouldn’t be for moving the entire event to a new location.
Did we feel like having a nervous breakdown? Sure we did. Instead, we just got busy and fixed it.
36 Hours and Counting
Our 3 day event was due to start on Friday. At 1:00 in the afternoon on Monday, I still hadn’t heard from anyone from Hilton Head. The phones were down in that area, I had a flight scheduled in less than 36 hours on Wednesday morning, and I had no idea what was going to happen. I might add that other folks had flights booked and they needed to know if the event was still on too.
My main concerns were being able to deliver what we had promised and making sure that folks coming to the event were not out money on plane tickets and other things they had prepaid for.
Finally …. I Got the Call
I finally got a call from a Hilton Head representative early in the afternoon. Somehow they had managed to get our information and reach out to me from Atlanta. What I learned was that Hilton Head was indeed closed, and they had no idea when the resort would reopen. They just knew it would be more than a week so it wouldn’t be open in time for us.
I spent the next 24 hours getting everything and everyone moved to a location 2 ½ hours south of the original location. The folks at Amelia Island Plantation (which was our new venue) helped make that happen. They were great.
We managed to get our flights rebooked at no additional cost, but there were so many glitches in all the other arrangements. Rental cars were messed up, we had no videographer so we had to find another one, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Did I mention we lost just over 50% of our attendees due to the fact they lived in the affected hurricane areas?
The Show Must Go On
At the end of the day, we pulled it off. Not only did we pull it off, but we had a great time. We found another great videographer in Jacksonville. His name is Robert Van Cleve if you ever need one. He definitely saved the day for us as did our photographer Susan Scarborough of Smitten who was also from the Amelia Island area. She is a great resource for you if you are in that area.
So What Are the Lessons Here?
To be successful:
- You have to take risks
- You have to step out of your comfort zone
- If you're not having “holy crap I'm in way over my head” feelings on a regular basis, your business is already in trouble because you're taking the easy path
There is no denying that this whole process was very stressful!
But, we just took one thing at a time and pulled it together for the folks that were coming to the event. In the process we learned that we could do more than we ever imagined. We really did make lemonade out of lemons.
One thing I know for sure is that if you are to succeed in your business, you have to get out of your comfort zone. If you don’t have the “holy crap I’m in way over my head” feeling on a pretty regular basis you aren’t growing, and a business that’s standing still is losing ground with its competitors each and every day.
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?
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