Always an outstanding event, Engage14, the luxury wedding summit, is even more of everything this year. I first attended an Engage conference in 2009 and it was a game changer for me. I met incredibly motivating people who would shape my entrepreneurial thinking over the next several years. 2014 is the first Engage conference held in Cayman for three years, and is an opportunity to learn from the superstars of the industry, to network with the forward thinking, and to brag on Cayman a bit.
Rather than verbatim reporting, my recap series will be short key takeaways of the speakers and events each day. Read on.
During the Platform Conference in Franklin, TN, I took a crazy amount of notes. In the two weeks after the conference I posted recaps of all the presentations. Looking back on it, they are a bit hard to find so this, for your convenience, is a roundup of the 10 posts in my epic recap series. As I noted in one of the first recaps, this information in no way replaces the experience of actually being there. Please, if any of this information resonates with you, go ahead and make the commitment to attend the next Platform Conference or find out where any of these presenters are speaking and make it your mission to get there and interact with them. They are all delightful, caring, generous people who succeed because they genuinely want you to succeed.
All presenters have their websites and featured resources linked in their individual recap post. For ease of following them on Twitter I have linked each name below to their twitter feed. Thus the first link is the twitter feed for the speaker, and the second is to my blog post recapping that speaker. Enjoy, and please take a moment to comment here on this roundup post or directly in any of the individual posts that may have spoken to you.
Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income blog was the 10th presentation at Platform Conference. Tough room to work too – mid-morning, just before the coffee break, the last speaker at the conference, and coming on after the super dynamic Stu McLaren. Well, he nailed it. How? Why he did a trumpet solo of course. Seriously. It turns out that Pat played trumpet in the famous University of California, Berkley, marching band. In fact, he ended his band career as their leader. The tie in becomes clear later as he wrapped up his presentation on “Platform to Profit: How to Earn an Income Online Without Selling Your Soul.” So how did this self-described ‘marching band nerd’ get to close out the Platform Conference? Read on.
Pat threw out one word at us – CARE. To him this word is what makes all the difference in life, in work. Care in the quality of your content. Care in the impact of the first impression. Care about your audience. If you can nail this aspect with authenticity and sustainability you are probably going to be ok. In fact, the better you are at this caring approach is the better you will be at earning revenue. Pat pointed out that earnings in this business is a byproduct of how well an audience, a tribe, is served. You must always be considering how you can add value to your followers.
This recap is the penultimate in my recap series on the Platform Conference held in February in Franklin, TN. In this 9th installment I cover the presentation delivered by Stu McLaren, co-founder of WishList Member, the most popular WordPress membership site platform, and a self-described tech entrepreneur. Stu, together with the next (and last) speaker, Pat Flynn, spoke on techniques to monetize the platform that you have created if you have followed the advice of the earlier speakers. The key in all this, though, is not to generate revenue for revenue sake. Instead it is about generating revenue to maximise the impact you have on your tribe. The mantra – “multiply your profits, multiply your impact.” For Stu, he gives back through World Teacher Aid. Read on to see his outline for ways you could develop your platform into a membership site.
The focus of Stu’s talk was on the creation of a monthly (or similar) form of recurring subscription model for your internet outpost. Obviously content is king. You have to have something that others want to pay for before this even matters. However, before you get to that point, it is good to know the concepts so that you build content intentionally that supports the eventual monetization of your website or blog.
The eighth speaker at the Franklin, TN, Platform Conference was visionary entrepreneur John Saddington. John is the founder of 8Bit, a self-described band of digital rapscallions. One of their products is Standard Theme, a premium WordPress theme for publishers and photographers. If you like the layout of my blog then you like Standard Theme as it’s what I use. John spoke to us on ‘Finding Opportunity in the Ordinary’ and outlined a method for looking at the things around us that can help in giving direction on what our platform could be, focus if we already know it, and ideas if we are stuck.
As so many speakers had, John related his ‘story’ as he opened. He described being a student of engineering, breaking some rules, failing at engineering, taking two masters degrees at Dallas Theological Seminary. None of this speaks to the ‘normal’ path to net success. However, if you have been reading along on the 10 part series you will have discerned a subtle truism. There is no normal path. You have to be you, and you have to share a lot of you with others.