Have you ever attended a conference? Did you get “perceived” value from the conference? Was there a speaker at the event that you looked up to?
I see a widespread “trend” taking place right now in the opportunity industry that is amplifying the number of conferences that are taking place. Marketers and Motivators have been doing these for years. Folks like Tony Robbins (probably the most famous of them all). He discovered that you could earn a significant amount of money by canning a speech and getting people to make an “event” out of attending a conference…which instantly increases the worth and the self worth someone feels they get out of it.
Is it any better than a free “hangout” in Google with these exact same folks? Not really. The difference is that people that have not achieved the results they desire feel a sense of accomplishment when they attend conferences. They are in a room of like minded people and they have paid a lot of money to do so. Whether or not it leads to any level of success is insignificant at that point.
At the root of it, the actual value is the act of going to the conference.
The REAL Costs of Attending a High Ticket Conference
Attending a conference and the expensive “fee” usually associated with this is one thing, but then take into consideration a few other factors:
- Flight. Average flight is going to cost $500, regardless of where you are travelling, with international travel obviously costing much more. (Extra $500)
- Hotel. For a typical 3 day conference you will be looking at a minimum of 3 nights hotel. Depending on where the conference is located, you are looking at a minimum of $150 per night. (Extra $450)
- Food/Partying. You gotta eat and if there are social events, likely buy yourself a martini/beer or two. $100 per day would probably be a fair estimate as to what you would be spending. (Extra $300)
- Time That You Are Not Working. Conferences tend to be “mid week” because these are the cheapest times for the person running the conference to book the conference room. Weekends are typically eaten up by higher paying clients and companies, therefore in order to attend a conference you are usually going to be required to take a minimum of 3 days off. Let’s say at an average wage, you earn $200 per day that is $600 that you are out by attending the conference. (Extra $600)
- Time Away from Your Family. An intangible, but something you cannot forget. When you leave to go to a paid conference, you are going to spend 3-4 days away from your family, sometimes longer. The argument typically is that you are going to the conference so that you can make your life better for your family/children, but in reality you are creating a mountain of costs that could be better spent on them or building your actual business.
Add that up and you are looking at an extra $1,850 minimum just to be at the event.
Then the conference fees are $1,000’s for an experience. It is like going to Disneyland without the thrill of a roller coast…in fact, you don’t even get to meet Mickey. Instead you usually get to listen to a bunch of high paid speakers who’s sole motive is MONEY not actually helping people out.
When you fly anywhere, you feel like you are going on vacation and the level of “importance” that you think the engagement has (the conference in this case) is automatically increased.
People tend to think if they get a nugget or two from a conference, then it is worth their while. I disagree with this. You can get nuggets of information where you look, in fact, many every single day for free. If you are feeling in need of one or two, head over to the quotes.com and find yourself one of the most famous business quotes.
Here is today’s “nugget” for you (hopefully it will curb your hunger to waste a bunch of hard earning money on a conference):
HARD WORK = SUCCESS.
The people on stage are rarely the ones that are making the money teaching you what they are talking about. Their source of income usually comes from, well, being on stage and speaking at events like that one. I have personally seen folks in the industry that have “flopped” as Internet marketers yet somehow they can become speakers and experts on stage. They tout knowledge that is theoretical and ideas that “may” work (just not for them) versus knowledge they have and practical skills they have generated an income with.
I guess as they say, if you can’t do, teach/preach. That is exactly what is happening here…with an added blanket of overcharging and under-delivering.
In fact, these are “canned” speeches and you can pay pretty much anyone you want to speak at a conference if you have the funds to do so. But, it is often times very much worth it and quite lucrative.
Let’s look into the business model of running conferences.
Internet Marketing Conferences are PURE Business…
To understand why high ticket conferences are so expensive and why I believe they are unethical, you first need to understand the business model of conferences. The purpose of a conference is profit. Nothing else.
As much as the “marketing” behind the conferences tells you that the purpose of the event is to HELP people, it is purely for the sake of the company running the conference and the speakers to line their pockets with “mucho dinero”. It goes far beyond a legitimate company seeking to build a business, and falls into the category of an opportunist taking advantage of opportunity seekers.
I guess they say, if you are dumb enough to pay for something, then it is your own fault….or if people are willing to pay for something, then it really must be worth it.
I highly disagree. People that attend conferences are often times desperate. Like a gambling junky at the cash machine unloading their last $3,000 in hopes of turning it into something much more significant. Conferences are preying on the exact type of person.
That is a problem.
Let’s look at the revenue of a hypothetical conference.
Price to Attend: $2,999
Seats Available: 500
Total Revenue: $1,499,500 (yes, million)
Costs to Run Conference
Speakers at events: $150,000 (you can get some damn good speakers for this much, you could get Richard Branson for $100K at your event and have a lot of change for others)
Conference Room: $15,000
Promotional Materials/Set-up: $15,000
Other Costs: $50,000
And we can’t forget the affiliates that are getting a cut of the revenue. Let’s say on average they earn 20% of all the revenue from the event.
Affiliate Payout: $299,900
Total Costs: $260,000 + $299,900 = $559,900
Total Profit (Revenue – Costs): $939,600
That is correct. The person/company behind a conference in this scenario would be pulling close to $1 MILLION dollars. Not too bad for a 3 day event!
They are not faking it until they make it. They are simply faking it so that they CAN make it.
Before you invest $1,000’s into your next conference, I just want to put things into perspective for you as to what can be done with this money instead of donating it to a series of speakers that are THERE for the sole intention of getting paid from the conference and they could care less about helping you.
Every time you attend one of these conferences you are making some else rich, and you are making a poor investment choice in yourself and your business. Not only that, you are exaggerating the problem.
Your Money is Much Better Spent Elsewhere. Be Smart!
People spending money to watch something versus actually accomplishing something is normal human behaviour. We naturally seek out a way where we can buy our way to success. We would rather spend, in many cases, $5,000 on a weekend conference sitting there, listening to information and taking “scribble” notes of stuff we could have watched from the same performers (actors, a better word) on YouTube.
Why would you spend $1,000’s to get to the conference and for hospitality on top of paying a sizeable chunk just to see a canned speech.
Yeah, yeah…it’s all about the “networking” though.
Can this not be done through this funny little thing we have called the Internet? Amazing connections are being made every day, huge deals are being brokered, and people are creating hugely successful relationships through the silicon pipes. People are creating very successful businesses online. Every day. With hard work and a proper education.
I am not saying nobody has ever gotten any value from a conference and I am definitely not saying there are not some smart minds behind conferences or those who are attending conferences.
Kyle, Have You Ever Attended a Conference Though?
Yes, I did. Once.
I attended a conference out of pure interest as to how conferences were operated and the type of people that attended conferences. It was a conference run by Internet Marketing Center, which at the time was one of the more popular distributors of Internet marketing products/services online.
The information was bogus. Was rudimentary. It was more of a rah rah event than something that could actually offer me some tangible, useful, and practical information.
I remember vividly when the CEO of the company asked the crowd how many conferences they had attended. First, was 0. I remember putting my hand up, me and one other person out of around 600 people in the crowd. Then he asked the folks in attendance if they had attended more than one of the conferences and bought their products. Hands went up everywhere. In fact, almost the entire crowd.
You better believe that this came as a shock. You know the old George Bush saying, fool me once, shame on you, fool my twice…well, err…you get it.
Why would anyone in their right mind attend a conference hosted by somebody, buy their products, have an unsuccessful go with them, and then decide it is a good idea to go to the conference again and buy some of the rehashed products again.
Seriously, if you want to burn your money it might be a little more exciting just to take a match to it. Perhaps the people attending high ticket conferences are part of the problem.
Come to think of it, I attend a conference every single year. Am I part of the problem or the solution?
I Have Run Conferences. Ones Where I Personally Pay For the Attendees to Come.
I guess many would ask, what is my experience with conferences? Well, myself (and Carson, both founders of Wealthy Affiliate) run a conference every year as an incentive program within Wealthy Affiliate. They are a little different though from your conventional “conferences”.
WE PAY FOR EVERYTHING!
We pay for the attendees flights, the hotel room (5 star), the swag, the fine cuisine, and all the entertainment.
We don’t charge admittance and I am more than willing to share some of our most profound “strategies” and insights from the over 13 years that I have been online. It is practical insights and advice into what works now…from experience, not some “canned” motivational speech.
Could we charge for these? Absolutely. Could we fetch $5,000 per attendee and scale it out? Absolutely.
Then why don’t we?
It would be selling ourselves and our principles out for the sake of money. Ethical businesses don’t operate on other people’s weakness, they offer services and platforms to further expand ones knowledge and do so in a cost effective way.
Ethically, I personally can’t promote the idea or recommend conferences. They go against my moral values/principles and they also go against what I know and value. I could never tell someone to attend a $5,000 conference and that it is good value knowing that I could offer them an education, business platform, mentorship, networking, websites, hosting, and all the tools they need to run their business for SIXTEEN YEARS for the exact same price (at Wealthy Affiliate).
There are some things in life that I will just never “get”. Wasting money on high ticket conferences is one of them.
I would love your thoughts, opinions, and feedback about high ticket conferences in the opportunity industry. I am not talking about Comic Con, I am talking about paying to attend a conference where people simply “speak” and you pay them WAY too much money for doing so.