I am usually not a person complaining. Especially not about things in the past. But when being asked, I told how hard the pandemic has hit me personally and us as a family. Not only financially, but more importantly emotionally. Because I really love, what I am doing with beyond tellerrand.
Not everybody really knows, that it is a single person organising the events completely. Up to the point, when we set up the events with the lovely team around Guido, Tanja, Patrick, Lulu and many other supporting those gigs, it is only me planning, coordinating and organising everything. Speakers, topics, travel for speakers, partners, venue, side events, workshops, schedule and so on … and I bloody love it! The way those events build up month by months until everything ends in the final piece: the event itself.
Now the pandemic has shown me, that setting all your money on one horse is not ideal. I haven’t created any other revenue stream like a YouTube channel or even a podcast. I did not write books about “my success” or how to run event or alike. I simply have been happy running those events. That lead to the fact, that from one day to the other, all my income I generate through those events for 4 other people in my family and me, was gone. In my positivity, call it naivety, when the lockdown was announced, I thought, that I would run my events soon again. Little did I know and 2,5 years later the small amount of savings in my business bank account, that slowly grew over 8 years of running the event and which would save me, when one event might fail financially and help me planning and ordering swag early, was gone.
When I started running beyond tellerrand again last year, I quickly had to realise that it wasn’t a “let’s continue”, but more a “let’s restart”. And yes it was. A restart from zero. Financially. Getting the word out. Everything. The only real benefit I still ad was a good reputation. It was tough getting the word spread, that beyond tellerrand happens again. Social media these days is more or less dead. Algorithms have broken the natural stream of all platforms and the content people see is not the content of people they follow, but of people who pay to be seen.
Furthermore 3 years are a long time. People’s interests and their jobs chance. Kids were born, people focused on their families (as they should) and many of those who always came to my events simply had a different life and would not come anymore. That led to two events in Düsseldorf and Berlin in 2022 that weren’t sold out. Luckily I did not loose any money, but I also did not make any. I, like in the beginning, needed to plan each event with the money that came from the same event’s ticket sales.
In the past that was not a big problem since people really bought their tickets early and beyond tellerrand sold out sometimes two months or earlier in advance. That gave me the base of ordering swag early and knowing the numbers to plan with. Especially being a single person running this, it is more difficult the later I have those final numbers. The manner how people right now buy their tickets changed. They are not early, but really late and I do understand why. Not only because we don’t know surely if another wave of Covid related shit is hitting us, but also big companies letting go multiple thousand people does not create a save perspective in our industry. And I don’t blame anyone for being late, honestly.
Up until 6 weeks ago I did not even sell 50% of the tickets I have for beyond tellerrand. I was not sure, if that would work out. Not only financially, but a half full room is not the best for the overall atmosphere, for the speakers on stage and also for my partners expecting a certain amount of people to be there. It never has been easy to advertise my event. It is an event without a focus on a specific things. Neither just design or typography, nor just tech or web design/development. It is a broad mix.
I, though, love how one of the teachers, who always brought around 30 to 40 students from Belgium to beyond tellerrand puts it, when asked what the benefit for him and his students is to be at the event:
[…] the joy to create such great inspiring moments in the lives of the students. You know, all the students I had who came to btconf turned out to be better professionals and to have more interesting careers than those who did not. That’s the impact of such an experience. They turned out to become more opinionated, more passionate, more demanding to themselves, more international too. This sort of trip gives lifelong memories for them. I was glad to be an enabler of that, and you made it very easy for me.
That is so lovely! ☺️
Thanks to so many people spreading the word, re-posting my posts on social media, telling others about the event I feel such aa massive relief now as I am proud to say that only about 30 tickets are left for beyond tellerrand 2023 by the time writing these lines. It is late and gives me some hard tasks to get things sorted, but the great excitement that I have will make it possible somehow.
I am so relieved and happy and am extremely looking forward to kick off another beyond tellerrand show in Düsseldorf in about 4 weeks from now.
Thanks so much for those who support me and beyond tellerrand with anything. Financially, with reposting bist I post, with telling other people about the event … with everything!
See you in Düsseldorf.