The B-Word Podcast Episode 93: How To Throw A Baller Event On A Budget With These 5 Tips From Pro Joanne Bolt

My name is Joanne Bolt and I am obsessed with all things business and being unapologetic about the life and career you wanna have. Is it all easy friends? No. But together we'll tackle it all with simple strategies and expert advice from industry, besties, money, marketing mindset. Consider this your girlfriend's Guide to business and ladies, it's an open playbook. So grab a glass of wine,

curl up on the couch with your fuzzy slippers on and let's see how good it can really be. Cuz happy hour has started here. On the B word, If events are part of your business strategy and they're definitely part of mine, then oh my gosh, have I got an episode for you today? I'm going to walk you through five ways you can ball on a budget because I personally like to keep my hard-earned money and I don't love to spend it on the event itself.

I like to have the event speak for itself. Instead, before I roll into the five ways you can be a baller on a budget, I'm gonna go ahead and address the elephant in the room. Yes, you can host an event and have sponsors or vendors help pay for it. And if that's the way you wanna roll, girlfriend you do you.

It's not my preference. And I will tell you why. I vividly remember when the kids were smaller and we were heading to the Halloween event at the clubhouse in my neighborhood. I used to love those events. Our neighborhood would throw them every single year. And what they do is they take the clubhouse and they bring in a company that makes it a haunted house.

It is kind of age appropriate, so don't worry, I'm not sending like a five-year-old through a haunted house that a 20 year old is the only age appropriate to go through. So it wasn't too, too scary, but it was good enough for the five and six year olds and outside in the parking lot, they would bring in all kinds of fun activities for the kids,

like cotton candy or those little blow up bouncy houses or a pony ride. I mean it was really kind of like a ball festival at the community clubhouse. Well, we had gone for several years in a row and my kids absolutely loved it. It's always held the weekend prior to Halloween, so it kind of rolls them into that holiday in a really good way.

And here's where it took a turn for the worst one year, whoever was in charge of it in my neighborhood decided that in order to help pay for it, we needed to bring in sponsors. And so when we got to the event that year, it was a completely different vibe. Every single booth had sponsored by in front of it. And the people that were paying to host were all there thrusting their business cards at you or trying to talk to you about their business.

Now I am all for spreading the word about someone's business and I totally get it. Sometimes you may need a sponsor or two, but I will tell you my kids didn't enjoy it. They walked away from what should have been an amazing event for them and said, mom, we don't need to do that again. Because we couldn't even get into the haunted mansion without someone putting a business card in our C in our candy bag.

They felt like it was one big commercial. That was a turning point for me in my personal career where I never utilized a vendor again and allowed them to be present at the event. I've had a lot of vendors sponsor events. Yes, there is a win-win way to do that and we'll get into that, but I never, after that event when I held one of my own,

had it to where you felt overwhelmed by the sponsors at the event. I really wanted my sponsors to take a very backseat at any event that I hosted because of the experience my kids had at the Haunted Mansion. So yes, you can utilize vendors and sponsors to throw an amazing event on a budget or you can lean into the five methods that I like to use.

Let's get started, shall we? The very first one, when you're going to do an event, whether it's a client party or a employee party or just an event announcing something like your book launch, you have to have a location. And folks, if your budget is small, you can't afford to rent out Most hotels, most hotels come with several things that you have to contract with them,

one of which is A, f and b, that's a food and beverage minimum. And those come with some pretty hefty price tags and tipping and service charges. Or in some hotels combine it with an and f B and you have to have a certain number of room blocks. So if you've ever gone to someone else's conference or event and they're really, really seem to be pushing that event link to get a discounted room,

yes you are in fact getting a discounted room. But the real reason they're pushing it is because they've contracted with the hotel to sell out a certain number of those rooms. And if they don't, they're financially responsible for them. That is how it works in that industry. So if you don't have the budget, and I'm assuming you don't, cuz you're listening to an episode on planning a balling event on a budget,

then let me walk you through another option for finding the perfect location. Go take a look around. Where do you want your event to be held? And take notice of a few things. Is there a new store that's open that might benefit from having some attention drawn its way? Is there a restaurant around you that has recently renovated or been purchased by new management with a new menu?

Is there any building that could utilize your audience in growing their presence in the community? If there is, go talk to them. That's where you wanna host your event. Folks. Quite frankly, it's often the easiest and the cheapest way to get in because what you always wanna remember is it has to be a win-win situation. I actually did this a couple of years ago.

I held a client event party toward the holidays and one of my favorite Cuban restaurants here in the Alpharetta area really was suffering. I mean, I would go there on a Wednesday, my husband and I would meet up at the bar. The bartenders all knew us by name, they knew our order. I mean, part of why we loved it was that family feel to it.

But we had noticed that there was never a wait anymore. People didn't know about this restaurant. It was sort of tucked away off of the main street. And so there was a lot of other stuff going around in the area and they were just getting overlooked. So I talked to the owner of the the restaurant and I said, Hey listen, here's what I wanna do.

I'm looking for a event location for my client end of year party, and I would love to have it here now I want to have it on a Friday night. And I know that that is one of your busiest nights. However, I don't wanna have to pay a premium to get the room in the back. I wanna be right up here with reserved space front and center because that's where I like to be,

was right here at this custom made bar that you guys have got going on. And since I'm putting the bill for the cocktails, I want them all to be at your happy hour pricing, even though this event is going to be moving, quite frankly, well past the happy hour time Now folks, I fully recognize that that conversation was all about me.

I want the best spot in the restaurant. I want it on the best night of the week, and I want the best pricing. So here's where I flipped it into a win-win for the restaurant owner. I said, here's how many people I'm expecting. Here's how many people are in my database. Why don't I use my influence in my database to help you?

In fact, here's what I'm gonna do. If you'll agree to do this for me, then I'll agree that immediately after the event, I will send out an email to everyone who we invited or attended the event and ask them to give you a review where it means the most to you. Maybe that's Yelp, maybe it's Google, I don't know. Wherever you want the review to go,

give me the link, I'll send it to my people, and I will do a secondary email a few days after that to everyone in my database in the surrounding area. And that's about 2000 people. And just give them a little, Hey, here's one of my favorite restaurants and here's why. Shout out with directions or links to your menu because I wanna put some eyeballs on this place.

And then I flattered the guy's ego. And I didn't lie, by the way, this was the truth. And I said, because quite frankly, I love your restaurant and I want other people to know about it so that you can stay in business because I will cry if you guys aren't here in six months. He absolutely loved the idea. He appreciated that I recognized that his revenue was down and his client base was down.

And yet I was doing what I could to benefit both of us by having an event, introducing new people into his world, and then doing my best to continue introducing new people into his world so that he could gain new customers. And I landed a location for free with discounted food and beverage minimums. Yep, that was a win-win. And you can do that too.

You can do it with stores that are opening little boutique places that maybe need people to come in and see bookstores when you're having a book signing would be great. Have your book launch not at a big Barnes and Noble type place. Have it at a small, intimate book sale reseller. Any of those kind of things that you can bring your audience into their world and utilize their location.

That is a win-win and a way for you to ball on a budget. Now that you've got your event planned in your location, you are gonna wanna optimize everything about that event. You're gonna need a photographer. One of my favorite, favorite, favorite things to do is to hunt a photographer for an event who's maybe up and coming. They may not be booked out for the weddings that they wanna be doing or the lifestyle brand shoots that they wanna be shooting.

They may not be booked out solid because they just bought their first camera or they're in their first year of business, or better yet they were in the business, took some time off and now they're tiptoeing back into it. And the way I find those people is often I just put a shout out on social media. Hey, who do you know who is looking to?

And then I'll fill in the blank with whatever I need. In most cases for an event, it's a photographer. And so what I'll do is say, Hey listen, you need to rebuild your audience. You need to build your brand. What if you come and take photos here at a discounted rate? Because I don't want them to come in for free.

If you'll notice, I never actually ask for anything completely free, yes, at a discount, but I'm not discounting the value of what they're providing. So if a normal photographer rate for my event would be $1,500, I will ask for it for seven 50 or 800, something deeply discounted. But what's the win-win for them? Again, it all comes down to how can you help them out.

I will take every photo that you put or 10% of the photos that you're taking, and I will make sure I'm tagging you on social media. Or I will get my clients who are at my event or my guest at the event, the opportunity to have a link to your site where they can go and order the photos that you take of them. You can now utilize those photos as part of your marketing resume and your portfolio to show other people the breadth and depth of your material.

And I get to have a photographer, the event which helps us both out nine outta 10 times. Guys, if you find the right photographer who is looking for a little bit of a boost in their brand and business, this win-win solution will work. So go ahead and utilize that one in your own world. All right, number three, an exchange of services.

You may think I've already semi talked about that on this episode, is giving an exchange a win-win. But when I say balling on a budget by doing an exchange of services, here's the deep dive into that theory of mine. I will always look and say, what do I really need to do that I'm not fully capable of doing? Who do I know and how can I help them?

So if for the event I need a really great website landing page produced or a phenomenally designed invitation and I just don't have the capability for doing that, I will go and find someone who, that is their skillset, that is their wheelhouse and their strength. And what I do is approach them and say, Hey, listen. Very similar to my concept for the photographer.

Let me exchange something I'm good at for something you're good at. Hey, I need a really great menu designed and printed for this event that I'm posting. Would you be willing to do that for me? And what can I offer you an exchange for that? Something that I can teach, train, or help you with? One of the things I find most often when I'm asking for an exchange of services,

they will actually ask me to put them on the podcast, inter interview me on the podcast so that my message of what I do reaches your audience. Great. That's a collaboration of audiences. It actually helps me out cuz then I get a guest on the podcast and I get to give my services a podcasting to you for the services that you provide to me.

Another example of some of this that I did actually in the last year and a half, I wanted a piece of my website redesigned to showcase an event that I was hosting the focus conference. And I went to a girl and said, listen, the website landing page itself looks pretty darn good. I would like these extra little animation pieces done or this extra piece of photography worked in in a different way and I just don't have the coding expertise to make it happen.

I've banged my head against the wall with it. Do you think you can? Because she was a website developer and she came back to me and said, absolutely, I can do that. My normal rate is X, y, Z. However, what if I waived my rate for you? But you put a link to my services on that page so that everyone who's looking at it gets a link to my page.

And oh, by the way, guess what? You do this service for me, putting the eyeballs of your people on that page with the link back to my services and websites, love backlinks. Backlinks mean links from other validated websites that lead to your site. That is something that leads back to you. It's a backlink. So she really wanted the service of having the backlink on an established website like mine cuz she was an up and coming website producer.

And I said, sure, that's no problem. In fact, that's like the easiest thing that I could do for you. So she was willing to give me two or three hours of her service, which was redesigning a piece of my site in exchange from my service of adding a back link to her site. It was a meeting of the minds and it was beautiful.

And you can do these kinds of exchanging of services in so many different ways. You know, if you're writing a book and you want someone to maybe preview of chapter or two when you need them to edit some of your copy and you're a coach, give them three hours of coaching for free in exchange for a couple of hours of copyright editing your service for their service.

That is how you do in exchange. Moving right along, number four, and I'm gonna land the plane on all this, I promise. Number four, you are going to host an event. You need an outfit, you'll want your hair and makeup done. Okay, here's one of my tips and tricks for balling on a budget when it comes to clothing.

I go and find boutique owners for clothing and say, listen, if I wear your outfit at this event that's gonna have X, Y, Z number of attendees who all live within a five mile radius of your store, will you allow me to have 30% off the outfit if I let everyone know that it's came from your boutique? What if I did a shout-out on social media about my outfit and tagged your boutique?

Or what if I sent out an email or what if I talked about it on the podcast? I will often get my outfits at a discounted rate even when they're not on sale at a boutique, just because I don't go to Nordstrom, I go to the little guys again, I don't ask for it for free. I just ask for it at a discount.

My friend Lindsay is really good about this as well. She wanted hair and makeup done at an event that she hosted a couple of weeks ago. And so she brought in a hair and makeup stylist who she knew would benefit from being in the room at her event. This woman needed to sit, sit in the room, she needed to hear what everyone else had to say.

It was just gonna be one of those game changing moments for her. So Lindsay offered to give her a free ticket for the event. You can come for the entire four days for free if every single day you sit and do my hair and makeup before it begins. That's not really an exchange of services because at the end of the day, Lindsay really wasn't giving her a service back.

She was allowing her entrance into the event, which would benefit the girl, but she exchanged that ticket price for getting her hair and makeup done. Did it really cost Lindsay a lot to lose a ticket price? No. Did it save her a lot to have her hair and makeup done? You bet it did. So when you can find the opportunities like that to just bring some things together and mesh 'em up,

you can get your stuff on a much discounted rate. Okay, finally, if you really want a ball in a budget and you've got your event location, you've got your hair and makeup, you've got your videographer or a photographer, you know what you're doing, you need to sell some tickets to the shindig and you're not sure how you're going to, you can do a collaboration of other people's audiences.

In fact, one of the chick clicks in our membership, Lori did this very recently. She wanted to host monthly coaching type events for her clients. Now she had the location, her office has a conference room that can fit 150 to 200 people. She has the skillset to bring in the mic to send out to her database. The Eventbrite invitation. She could charge for the event.

I think she charges somewhere between 25 and $49 a ticket. So it's very reasonable. What she didn't have the budget for was a huge speaker because speakers can be 10, 15, $20,000. And she also knew that she didn't have the skillset to be the speaker for this event. So she reached out to a friend of hers, Sean, who used to be in the speaking world and is getting back into the speaking world.

And what they decided to do together was to combine their audiences. Sean could bring his speaking expertise to the events and his database, and she could bring her skillset at running the event and her database to him so that they ensure that they filled the room every single time this event was done. The first couple times they did it, I have no idea what their financial arrangement is.

I'm sure it looks different than it does now because they've been running this for quite some time. But when they first got started, they collaborated together, pulled their resources together, and especially their audiences because each one of them had a different database that only slightly overlapped, and they did that in order to do what fill the room. And the beauty of all,

all of this is you guys, the more and more you do these events, the more names you get in your pocket, the locations you start spotting. Even as you grow your business, even as your budget grows. It doesn't mean you always have to spend the money. You can still ball on a budget even when you actually have the budget. All right,

that's all the time we have for today's episode of the B word. Thank you so much for tuning in. Now remember, your business grows by referrals and so does mine. You can help out in a big way by quickly leaving a review and a rating wherever you get your podcast. It may seem small to you, but it can make a huge difference in helping others discover the show.

So let's let your besties see how good it can be to grow their business here on the B-Word

Listen To The Episode!