Early last year, The Little Wedding Helper and I launched a workshop that sold out in less than 24 hours. A week later, we released a second date that sold out in a couple of days.
Selling out so quickly felt incredible and the whole experience was very validating. Not only had we created something people wanted and were prepared to spend their money on, we were in demand. People rushed to buy tickets, and they begged for more once the first date sold out.
We’d nailed it. We were on to a winner. We’d found a recipe for success.
Same But Different
Deep down, we knew this was an anomaly. We’d launched The Wedding Sessions in the same format multiple times before. Although we’d covered our overheads and made a small profit, we’d always had tickets left over. But the response to our spring workshop made us think we might have finally cracked it.
In September, we launched our autumn date. This time, sales were a lot slower. By the time the workshop took place roughly eight weeks later, there were still two tickets left.
‘Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson
On paper, it probably seemed like the same product, but we had made a few changes. As well as moving to a new venue, it’s the first time we hosted a workshop on a Saturday. Taking place in mid-November, it was also the latest ‘autumn’ date we’d ever released. All of these things were experiments. We were testing things out and finding our way.
Having landed on a recipe for success, perhaps the sensible thing would have been to follow it precisely. But even if we’d kept every detail the same, it would have been impossible to replicate the exact conditions of our previous launch. For starters, it was a completely different time of year. Kirsten and I had different things going on and our focus and energy was being pulled in multiple directions.
What I’ve Learned
Riding out two very different sales cycles in the same year was fascinating. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the process and the various things that can impact launching and selling in-person workshops. There’s plenty you can control, but also lots of things you can’t. Here’s what I learned…
- Running a business is unpredictable.
- Experience gives you knowledge and information that can stack the odds in your favour, but there are no guarantees.
- Experimentation is an essential part of growing and changing, but this will always involve taking risks.
- If you want to keep launching and selling, success and failure can never be final destinations.
Of course, it would have been amazing if we’d sold out like last time. But selling even just one ticket feels good. I don’t think that ever goes away. And besides, the real joy comes from doing the work.
The feedback we received after hosting our final workshop of 2019 was our best ever and I can’t wait to launch more dates later this year. Launching and selling in-person workshops will always be tricky, but for me it will always be worth the risk.
Love Audrey xxx
P.S. A version of this post originally appeared in Letters From Love Audrey, my monthly newsletter filled with creative inspiration for all areas of your life. If you’ve enjoyed reading this today, you can sign-up here.
P.P.S. Photos from our spring workshop by Evoke Lifestyle Photographers.