If you've ever been to a big online business conference, then you know how it can go...
It is often in a big convention center or conference room, just rows and rows of chairs, packed in there like sardines. There's often big crowds, so you spend a lot of time bumping into each other. The crowd can even feel rather overwhelming, especially when you're a little more of an introvert by nature.
But, then there's the content. Often, speaker after speaker. And a whole lot of Powerpoint slides.
You're left trying to vigorously take notes like a mad man before they go to the next slide... or you whip out your phone and snap a photo of the slide before they move on. If you're lucky, they'll give you a URL to download the slide deck after the presentation.
But, then when it is time to leave, you're just swimming in ideas. It is almost overwhelming. You've got all those notes... and all those slide photos, but now what?
In the end, what did you get out of the conference? You got a bunch of notes.
And what happens most of the time with those notes? Well... they sit there. They go into the "someday maybe" pile... laced with the best of intentions. But, more often than not, nothing really comes of it. One day, you'll find your notes at the bottom of a drawer.
Does any of this sound familiar?
I've had students and peers recommend that I organize and start my own conference for the Blog Marketing Academy. And I do realize the potential of such a thing.
But, those kinds of conferences are expensive - and outright annoying - to put together. Then, when people come, it'd be that same experience all over again. A bunch of Powerpoints, a bunch of notes, the crowds... and all of it could add up to very little for the attendees just because it is so impersonal.
Truth is... it isn't my style. Plus, I'd probably have to dress up a little. ;) I want to keep my shorts on, thank you.
I can get up there on a big stage and speak to a big crowd. I've done it before. But, it isn't my preference. It is too impersonal. It isn't really any different than what I do right here at the Blog Marketing Academy in a training video... except that I'm sitting behind a podium rather than in front of a camera.
Like many of you, I can do the big crowds if I have to. But, I'd prefer something much different.
I prefer an EXPERIENCE, not another speaker session.
I prefer smaller crowds, more intimate connections... where we can interact and make REAL headway and walk out with much more than just a few pages of notes.
And, if you've been a reader of mine, you know I prefer RV traveling and RV camping. :-)
What if we hosted small, intimate co-working events and group coaching sessions instead of more boring speaking sessions?
What if, instead of a bunch of notes, people walked out having actually accomplished something tangible on their business?
What if we kept the groups rather small so that we could make it far more personal and build real relationships with like-minded people... rather than getting a stack of business cards?
What if we could take the training we already do on the website... and give it a highly personal element by actually meeting my students in person and helping them right there, at their own laptop?
What if we could ditch the freakin' conference center and, instead, meet up in cool destinations... maybe right inside of an RV campground or resort? Combining a little business and fun, perhaps?
What if we could make some real progress on business during the day, then hang out over a campfire, maybe a drink, and some cool conversation?
My wife and I formulated this idea while we were camping at an event at Lake Guntersville State Park - in northern Alabama. We were there for a conference of "RV Entrepreneurs" and we really loved the vibe of the whole thing.
But, even there, it was a big crowd, multiple speakers... and the notorious iPhone photos of people's slides. (Hehe... amazing how common this is these days).
So, over a cigar one afternoon, I had the idea... what if we did something similar? Although, with a much smaller crowd. Much more personal. And more hands on.
People won't just leave with a few notes, some memories and a spurt of motivation. They'll leave with some concrete accomplishments. Some tasks completed.
My idea is that we do a little bit of small group training, but we concentrate on actually getting some real work done. People can leave having actually made tangible, forward progress on their online business. We'll have some hot seats, be able to bounce ideas off each other, and it will be a small enough group where everybody is not only comfortable, but we get to know each other.
Plus, by doing it in conjunction with our RV travels and even doing the events in cool RV destinations, it would have the vibe that I want. It combines business and fun. It will be personal. Relationships will be formed and we'll share an experience.
My wife and I sat there next to the lake in northern Alabama, tossing ideas around... and we found ourselves getting pretty excited about the possibilities. :-)
We are currently putting together a new initiative for the Blog Marketing Academy. I'm calling them the LAB BootCAMPs.
Our plan is to host the BootCAMPs in various RV-friendly destinations around the United States. There's a good chance we'll do them right inside of an RV resort. We would be coming in and staying in our motorhome. Other attendees can do the same if they own an RV, however it wouldn't be required as we would always make sure there are hotel rooms close by and/or cabin rentals inside the resort.
These kinds of destinations would make this very family friendly. So, you could bring the whole family and build a nice trip around any of the BootCAMP dates.
Each BootCAMP will have a pre-determined focus that you will know ahead of time. Things like...
We will take care to try to get people who are at similar phases of their business together. I know that this kind of experience will always be most helpful if the attendees are close to the same point in their business, so we'll be working to make that happen.
And while there will be some live training by me, my main goal will be that we make concrete progress for you before you leave. I'll come armed with shortcuts to help speed things up. I'll be there to help get you over any humps (even the technical kind) right there, in person, on your own laptop. When you leave, you will have a plan. You'll know what to work on when you get back home. And most of all, you will have actually made some real progress on your own website that you can point at.
I don't have every detail worked out yet. This will take place over 1 - maybe 2 - days.
And most of all... it won't be all business. After a productive day, we'll hang out at the campsite. Have some good conversation. Maybe a beer, if you're into that kind of thing. Bring your folding chair and let's hang out! It's camping, after all!
As I mentioned, this is a brand new initiative and we haven't actually hosted a BootCAMP yet. We're in the process of putting together our ideas for it and coming up with a solid plan. But, let me answer some questions sure to come up here...
That's sort of the magic question, isn't it? :) Truth is, I don't know yet. Most likely, we'll land somewhere between $200-$400 range. But, we shall see.
My goal is to keep it affordable and reasonable, therefore also allowing for costs of travel. However, the nature of this event is going to be much higher involvement from me. This isn't a conference. This is a small group workshop where I will be working with each attendee one on one, as well as the whole group. You will leave feeling like you got WAY more tangible value from this than even one of the most expensive big ticket conferences with multiple speaking tracks.
Not at all. Fully paid lifetime LAB members (who paid at the current rate or higher) will get one complementary ticket to any upcoming BootCAMP which they can use whenever they wish. ALL LAB members will get an exclusive, discounted rate on a ticket. But, if you're not a LAB member, you can still get a ticket and attend and you will love every minute of it. I will not be putting these things together assuming you're a LAB member.
We will likely record any presentations that I do. Livestreaming is unlikely. But, most of the event will not be recorded because we will be doing interactive work, co-working and masterminding. We will not be recording that.
Your guess is as good as mine! As I said, we're in the planning phase now and this hasn't been fully tested with the marketplace yet.
I will say, though, that it is important for me that each of these events feels intimate and personal. I want to be able to work with attendees directly. I feel that that's what brings the real value and sets this apart from a regular conference. For that reason, I would be putting a limit on each one. I don't know the exact number yet, but I'm thinking 10-15 people - tops.
No. I think you'll really dig the experience if you can be there in an RV. We'll camp together. :-) But, we will always ensure there are affordable hotel options close by, or even cabin rentals (common inside many RV campgrounds).
Our homebase is in Florida, so BootCAMPs will likely be in the southeastern US more often than not. Besides, Florida is already a great vacation destination and VERY popular with RVers.
However, as things pick up and depending on how this idea evolves, we may schedule trips around the country so that we can host BootCAMPs in other areas of the country (including the west coast).
And if necessary, we can always fly in rather than drive the motorhome. We'll have to play it by ear. :-)
Truth is, we don't know yet. :-) For now, it will more or less correspond to our own family travels. We will have to see how things develop from there. It is also possible that we may group several BootCAMPs together into a period of a few weeks in different areas. I could totally see us scheduling a trip for a month or so and we deliver several BootCAMPs in different cities during that month. So, you would just need to stay tuned to us for the upcoming schedule.
The last big question is likely... when and where is the first one?
Well, we're going to see what happens here. Part of this is because we're testing out the idea, seeing what the level of interest will be in this. But...
We're going to be taking a family trip in the RV this summer. Not going super far this time. Probably up to the Smoky Mountains area... in the Tennessee/North Carolina area. And so, we've got some loose ideas of scheduling a "trial BootCAMP" in that area this summer.
We're not selling tickets yet. However, we WOULD like to know if you're seriously interested in attending.
If attending a BootCAMP like this sparks a strong interest and you think you'd like to attend - whether this first one or another one in the future, then subscribe below to our waiting list. I'll keep you informed on the schedule and how things develop.
Cool. Here ya go...
By subscribing below, you're letting me know that you have a strong interest in potentially attending one of our future BootCAMPs. I will keep you informed as things develop - and as we have schedules, locations and availability. I'll likely also be in touch with you about some of your thoughts on what should happen at the BootCAMP... so that I know that what I put together is exactly what you guys need/want.