How to plan and run a workshop tour

In the past year, I’ve run 3 Australia-wide workshop tours

This was off the back of running just a single workshop, in Bondi, in early 2016. (That I was so nervous to run!)

(After that first workshop, I wrote this post about planning and running a single workshop.)

I ended up loving that first event so much, that I decided to run a nation-wide tour for my first book, You Are Enough, several months later.

Just before that tour, the idea came to me to run an extended version of my Love What You Create Workshop, as a nation-wide tour which I ran several months after the first tour.

Then, when my second book, It’s All Good, came out, I decided to tour again!

I ran my You Are Enough 6-city tour over three weeks.

I ran my Love What You Create Workshop 4-city tour over three weeks (with a break in the middle to head to Byron Bay to edit It’s All Good).

I ran my It’s All Good 5-city tour over one week!

And now I’m running a monthly online mastermind, the You Got This: Business Alignment Mastermind.

In this mastermind, I’ll blend business alignment coaching and kinesiology to offer a combination of group coaching, soulful strategy, and energetic clearing work, to help you clear your blocks, take focused action, and align yourself to the business you’re so worthy of creating (and enjoying!).

 

 

I have some tips for you, if you think you’d like to run a workshop tour, too

 

Firstly, yes: you can totally run a workshop tour

You can… even if you think you can’t, or it’s too hard, or too big, or you wonder who would come to your events (I still sometimes wonder who’ll come to my events, and I’ve run 16 events in the past year!), or any other number of limiting beliefs that pop up when you do something new, something bigger, something bolder.

You can do it; if you believe you can, set your mind to it, plan for it, take action around promoting it, and know your work is enough.

 

Don’t ask people which cities you should hold events in

Every single person is going to put their hand up and say you should go to their city!

Firstly, this doesn’t mean they’ll come to your event, and secondly, this is your tour, and you’re the one travelling, so you need to work out which cities work for you.

Of course, it’s good to know where your audience lives, so rather ask that question. You’ll gather data that you can then use to plan your workshop tour.

I also advise against asking which days/times suit people because again, everyone will say something different. Check for public holidays/festivals in every city and avoid running your event around that time (unless your event directly relates to a specific holiday/calendar event), and then choose the time of day that suits your event most. The people who want to come, will be there!

 

Plan all the venues, flights and accommodation before you announce the dates

This way, when you announce the events and open ticket sales, you’re all ready to go!

It would be a little bit stressful if you announced an event in a different city and then couldn’t get the right flights/accommodation.

Make sure you’re completely organised before letting people know about your workshops, so you can simply work on marketing them once ticket sales are open.

 

Simple is perfect

I’ve run events and launches before where I focused a lot on asking other brands to collaborate with me to provide product, and I offered extra gifts to my audience/attendees. While this it’s important to offer lots of value to your audience and attendees, you also need to trust that what you’re offering is enough.

It’s also easier to offer lots of extra physical bonuses when you’re only doing one event in your own city. When you travel for events, it’s a little harder to take lots of extra product/gifts with you, and while you can ship things ahead, you don’t always know how many units to ship ahead if you’re still selling tickets up until the day of the event.

I keep my workshop tours simple now; I either create a beautiful worksheet that I print out for everyone, or I ask attendees to bring a notebook or journal; I offer herbal teas and chocolate, I offer digital bonuses which are easy to send out after the events, and I spray the room with energetic sprays to lift the vibe and give the room a gorgeous scent before and during the events.

For my full-day Love What You Create Workshop, I had the course workbook professionally printed and bound, gave everyone specific crystals for creativity and focus, and I offered morning and afternoon tea, in a way that was easy for me to organise. I bought snacks like fruit, cut up veggies, nuts, dips, cheese and crackers, popcorn, sweet potato chips, and chocolate. We all went out for lunch to nearby cafes together, as it was a full-day workshop and taking a break away from our desks was important (and is part of my Love What You Create philosophy!).

 

Be clear on your refund policy

I have a clear refund policy in my business: I don’t offer refunds for change of mind. Nothing in this policy affects the rights you may have as a consumer under the Australian Consumer Law, and I clearly state this on my sales pages, and anywhere you’d purchase tickets/offerings.

For my events, what I do offer is that if someone buys a ticket but can’t make my event, they can transfer the ticket to a friend; they simply have to email me to let me know.

In the past, when I didn’t state this clearly, I’d have people emailing to say they couldn’t make my event, they’d ask for a refund, and then I’d be left trying to sell a ticket a day or two before the event.

That’s okay on a small scale, but when you’re running several events, you need a smoother process and firmer procedures and boundaries. You have enough to think about when running a workshop tour, than trying to fill up last minute places; rather, set a clear boundary around your refund policy. It’s amazing how much more ease this creates!

You might still have people emailing to say they can’t make your event… but in the same email, they’ll also let you know which friend is taking their place in the workshop. Perfect!

(Of course, it’s your business and your choice, so you may waive this refund policy in certain cases, if there’s an emergency for instance.)

 

Only send bonuses after the workshop is over

If you’re offering digital bonuses or resources at your events, I recommend only sending them out after each workshop.

This way, if for any reason, someone coudn’t make your event and you did refund them, they won’t receive the paid/bonus content. (On the flip side, if you send them bonuses as they purchase their ticket, you can’t then ask for the bonuses back if you offer a refund.)

If someone can’t make my event but has still paid to attend (and didn’t transfer their ticket to someone else), or doesn’t show on the night, I still send them the workshop content; they did pay for their ticket, after all.

 

Use software to sell tickets and manage attendees

For in-person events, I use Eventbrite to sell tickets and I love it. It manages my ticket sales, payments, links my events to my Facebook page, and has an events directory which lists and promotes your events for you.

I can’t tell you how many people have found out about my events through Eventbrite alone; people who’d never heard of me or my work, so it’s an incredibly valuable platform to use when running events.

 

Give away complimentary media spots, if you want

It can be a nice idea to offer a few complimentary tickets to select ‘influencers’ or people in the media (writers, journalists, podcasters, presenters, etc.) if it feels good to do so.

You can ask them to share info about the event before, during (on Insta Stories perhaps), or after the workshop, which is helpful if you’re holding several events (meaning people can find out about your tour in time to come to the next event), and it can raise your profile too.

You might even organise for them to interview you about your work/workshop before or after the events too.

You can also run a giveaway on your social media and offer a ticket or two to your audience.

 

Remember that people will often buy tickets at the last minute

When you open ticket sales, you’ll have people who’ll jump on right away, but you’ll also have people who leave it until the last minute.

I’ve held workshops where I’ve sold 25% of the tickets on the day of the event!

So, don’t stress if it seems like ticket sales are slow—if the event hasn’t begun yet, there’s still time to sell tickets, and people will buy throughout your ‘launch’ period. And, this could be a good time to give away a few tickets to friends, loyal fans or clients, or to the media.

I suggest keeping ticket sales open for as long as possible too.

Of course, creating a sense of urgency by giving a deadline to purchase tickets helps, but if you leave too much time between the end of the deadline and the start of the event, if someone wants to purchase a ticket in that time, you’ve created more manual work for yourself.

 

Practice your workshop, but don’t over-prepare

In the past, I’ve had instances where the more I’ve tried to prepare for my workshop content, the less prepared I’ve felt.

So now, I’ll create the formula/content, run myself through my own workshop (this is important, as you’ll always find ways to tweak/refine the workshop when you’ve gone through it yourself), but then I also trust I’ll pick up the flow when I’m speaking.

I find I often add in extra stories or anecdotes simply by reading the room, plus because each workshop will have a different audience and therefore, different discussions, each workshop will also have a different energy and flow (even if you’re running the same workshop in several cities).

 

Look after your own energy

Don’t over-commit to things while you’re on tour.

You might have friends in the cities you’re visiting, who you of course want to see, so simply be mindful of your time spent catching up (holding space in workshops often means you’ll want plenty of downtime in between events), and know it’s okay to limit your time spent doing other activities too (sightseeing etc.).

Look after your own energy in the best way you can.

 

Celebrate every step of the way

It can be all too easy to keep track of your tour by what you’re ticking off your list (each event, each trip to your hotel, each trip back to the airport).

Instead, try to celebrate every step of the way, because it’ll be over in a flash!

 

Take some creature comforts

I packed one of my favourite mugs (albeit one from Kmart that cost $1.50 so if I broke it, I wouldn’t be too sad. I love you Kmart) and my favourite teas. I love my afternoon Early Grey as much as my morning coffee, and I didn’t need to do without it for a week! It was so nice to settle into my hotel rooms/Airbnb and drink my fave tea from my own mug.

I also made sure to have my favourite music downloaded on my Spotify app on my phone, plus recent podcast episodes that I wanted to listen to on the plane, and my Kindle was stocked up with books, so that I could relax and entertain myself during all the flights and downtime.

 

Have naps

Have naps when you can. You’ll be expending a lot of energy though all the travel, talking, hosting and planning… so getting in some extra sleep when you can is really helpful!

 

Stay healthy and keep moving

I packed my gym gear, and especially during the It’s All Good tour, I made sure to exercise almost every day. The kept my energy high and my mind clear, and helped release tightness in my body from so many flights in such a short time period (5 flights in 7 days!).

It also helped release what I’ve coined ‘traveler tension’—those times you sit behind people on flights who continue to knock their chair into you, or you sit next to people who play heavy rock music through their headphones so loudly that you can’t hear anything else, or you wait in long queues and just want to be at your hotel already. Getting a workout + yoga session in after times like these really helped me to feel grounded and back-to-myself again.

I also made sure to eat as well as I could while travelling. I would often grab two lunches, and eat one of them for dinner, if I didn’t think I’d have time to find something healthy later. I made sure to always have healthy snacks at the ready for plane trips too. I took nuts and dried fruit along with me, drank lots of water and tea, ordered fresh veggie juices where I could, and I also enjoyed a glass of wine some evenings.

I also travelled with the herbal medicines I usually take, to keep up my energy, and support my immune system and digestion.

 

Get out into nature where and when you can

You’ll likely be indoors a lot, so try get out into nature throughout your tour.

When I was staying in the Sunny Coast for a weekend for my Love What You Create Workshop, I’d get up early and walk along the long, beautiful beach, have a swim, then head to a great cafe that was opposite my Airbnb, and sit there with a coffee, breakfast and the paper and relax before my day began.

I also ended the day of the workshop with a walk along the beach, which was such a perfect way to end the day (and then I grabbed grilled fish and salad on my way home, for dinner).

 

Keep up your beauty and skin care routine

To me, my beauty and skin care routine is an act of self-love, and is as important to me as the food I eat, and the exercise I do.

I am obsessed with Zoe Foster-Blake, her skin care brand Go-To Skincare, and her beauty advice; what she says, I do/follow/eat/take/buy/back-flip for.

I took my skincare with me (Go-To Skincare’s entire range), my sunscreen, plus a few extras, like natural sheet masks to infuse some extra moisture, hydration, antioxidants and nourishment into my travel-weary skin. (Especially for a little boost and extra glow, before so many events!)

I also took the makeup I love wearing most (a combo of Inika, W3ll People, Zuovo, Tarte and Nude by Nature), plus of course my blow-dryer, GHD hair tong, and hair products.

 

Have fun with it, and enjoy it!

My tours have felt like holidays, and not just because I’m so excited for them, but I also book myself into nice hotels and Airbnbs, get Ubers everywhere, and allow myself to relax and enjoy my time while I’m away.

As I type this to you, I’m sitting on my hotel bed in Melbourne (at The Olsen Hotel), sipping tea (in my own mug!) and I’ve just done a 1hr workout + yoga combo, with a quick dip in the pool. I feel relaxed, content, and excited to be here.

There’s not much point in planning and going on tour if you’re not going to enjoy it while you’re away!

 

Make space to relax and restore when you get home

I suggest taking a few days off once you return home.

Book yourself in for a massage or a facial, keep your email auto-reply on, and don’t feel obligated to catch up with anyone on those days off.

Take a break, drink lots of tea, have a long lunch in a cafe, move your body, go to yoga, watch a movie (with popcorn, for sure), read a book, and relax; you’ve earned it!

 

And remember, enjoy your tour!

Enjoy your workshops!

Enjoy meeting your tribe in real life—it’s such a brilliant feeling.

 

Love,

 

· CASSIE MENDOZA-JONES ·

I’m Cassie Mendoza-Jones

My work is for you if you’re ready to change your beliefs about what’s possible for you.

It’s time to clear away your blocks, align your energy, and call your power back to you.

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