Do you have a system in place for recording the "lessons learned" lists you write after you coordinate this or that annual event? Maybe you host a fundraiser at work, or a employee-motivational party. Perhaps, like me, you sometimes sell in an art or craft festival. No matter what regular event I'm planning, I always think of things afterward that I wish I'd done differently. Better. I like to make a list, when possible.
Many times I lose those lists before it's time to plan the next event. Or worse, forget to look for it at all.
So here you are. Let's do the list together this time. I'll make a fun post out of it, if I can, then in a year if I've stored my notebook in a "safe place" I can no longer recall, maybe I'll at least remember to come back here. Yep, that's my plan. Ready?
- Get most of the prep work out of the way early. That means no matter how much you love the adrenalin rush the day before, don't make yourself a list so long that you end up sleeping 2 1/2 hours the night before a 12 hour event.
No, I'm not even kidding. I finally finished everything I could manage by 12:15 the night before, the alarm was set for 3:15am, but my wired brain woke me up at 2:45, so I got up and made two more pairs of earrings before my shower. I can't do anything about the fact that the soiree was scheduled for 6am, I needed about an hour to set up, plus my drive was about 40 minutes to the venue, and I'm not much into sleeping in my clothes and skipping the shower, so an early waking time was unavoidable. But going to bed after midnight? Please.
- Have plenty of business cards on hand. Always. Not just the week of a show. I ran out of my professionally printed ones recently. Keep meaning to get a new box printed, but keep forgetting. But I have skills in that arena and Office Depot will hook you up with some truly professional-looking cards you can print from your own printer. Of course, that might seem like a great plan. But what if you, like me, discover at 11:45pm that your printer has run out of magenta ink? And you didn't have the foresight to buy a printer that will let you print black unless ALL your inks are available. Well, that hardly helps. (So I packed my printer in the trunk of my car that morning at 4:11am, 'cause what else was I gonna' do? I figured I could run out and quick get a new cartridge at the first possible second. But David Weatherly, producer of Roy's Folks, found me a magnificent woman - my new best friend, actually - who works for the venue's administrative office and I was able to print my cards in her office within spitting distance of my booth. Oh how I love and appreciate Sherry, and will be giving extra thanks for her this coming Thursday when we sit down to that big meal.)
- Bring supplies so I can design actual pieces while people watch. I know this...I've done it many times before. It keeps people hanging around. Keeps them interested. I have a theory it might even make them want to buy more of my work. I just blew that one. Ran out of steam and halfway forgot, halfway thought "oh well, maybe next time." Definitely next time. I love watching people's processes. Past customers have, too. This isn't one I should ever miss again. Especially with a crowd this huge.
- Wear comfy shoes. Period. Nothing more to say about that. I wore semi-comfy shoes. Not really quite the same thing.
- Don't forget the comfy folding camping chairs from storage, either. It's great when tables and chairs are provided by the planners. Loved that I had a place to sit. Much appreciated. My own chairs? Much more comfier. Really need to remember them next time.
- Manage personal PR in advance much better. Did I mail any postcards telling past customers I was doing this show? Nope. Did I email a list of friends and family and others who like my work? Not a one. Sure, I blogged a smidge, a couple of days in advance, but so? That's just a cherry on top of what I should have done. Getting these mailing lists together for future announcements: something I have totally got to get a handle on.
That's enough. I'll surely think of other items for this list later, but I think those are the biggies. Now if I can just remember I put the list here, it'll be a really useful tool for next year!