I hosted the Atlanta Meetup for Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Book Tour on October 28. It was held at New Tricks world headquarters which doubles as my bed and breakfast, the Urban Oasis . I am so blessed to have this amazing space and love to share it with people. We’ve never had a bad party here so I knew it would be great no matter what and this event surpassed all my expectations!
So how did this event even come about? The thing is, I had not actually ever met Chris in person until the afternoon he arrived for the book signing. Last year, I found Chris’s website and started read his blog and bought one of his workbooks. I had commented on his blog and I twittered him a time or two about things he wrote that I had info on, but that was the extent of it. When I heard he was doing the tour, I wrote to him on his site and offered to be a host for the Atlanta event. Then, I also ran across Sarah Robinson’s course, Creating Irresistible Presence ( CIP) . It spoke to me and I paid my money and signed up. I met some great people and actually Sarah knows Chris and he did a presentation for (CIP) it. He delivered it on a video because he was on his book tour. Shortly thereafter he got back in touch and said he would like to do the event at my place if the offer was still open. So that is how it came about. I saw where I could be of help to someone and made an offer. I saw a workshop that seemed to be a great fit and jumped on it and made good IRL (in real life) relationships.
So that is really the next step for a lot of people. Use social media to get involved with people rather than just push your content out and lurk in the background. Find the people in your niche who you think are doing great things. Read their blogs, buy their products, help them out when they need something. That is how it starts. Go to workshops and conferences. They will remember you. When you need them they will help you spread your message.
But now, let me tell you how it was . . .
The evening was absolutely amazing. It was the halfway point for the book tour, number 33 out of 66 stops. Atlanta did me proud. I saw lots of old friends who I love to bring together and made lots of new ones. Two thirds of everyone there had a blog. Everyone had a streak of non-conformity or wanted to cultivate one. And did I mention that we had about 125 people of all colors and ages come out?
A couple of weeks ago at an outdoor market in Decatur, I met some musicians, Keith and Donny, and signed them up for the entertainment. Keith and Donny donated their time playing such sweet and perfect acoustic music, because I had spent talking to them about their marketing and web presence, and the next day, I got them a paying gig. It was wonderful to have the acoustic guitars and harmonies lend a festive spirit to the magical night.
People made and brought amazing food, Dorothy Knight made homemade sushi and basil rolls, Beth Lord made antipasti platters that looked like the high end caterer came to town, there were Mediterranean platters and oh my, then there were cupcakes! Chris always asks people to bring cupcakes.
We had a fire pit going outside under the stars with the party lights twinkling, and it was perfect weather. All week it rained and was so humid you couldn’t stand yourself, and then the weather broke with a beautiful crispiness without being chilly.
I just love the linchpins, Laura, Amy and Shari from the Lady Rogue Business Network, they ladyed the bar outside which got everyone circulating. My peeps from Sarah Robinson’s Creating Irresistible Presence Workshop were mostly all here. Dana Reeves and her fourteen year old son ( who took these photos), Lori Latimer, Callahan McDonough, Shannon Short, and Brandon Sutton. We missed you Traci and Lana. And from this evening, we have all decided to get together once a month on our own to continue our journey of sharing and caring and rocking our businesses. Sarah, was there in spirit having hosted Chris the night before for his stop in Birmingham.
Three of my actual sisters, Dorothy, Edna, and Linda participated. And of course Callahan, my older sister that I never had, was there with bells on. My sister, Linda painted a huge, ten by nine foot, mural on artist canvas of Chris and two tigers reading his book set in front of my window wall with one of my dogs heads coming out of the window, and the tigers paws on a stack of Art of Non-Conformity Books. Amazing. She painted the whole thing in a week and she worked her day job too. She is so friggin’ creative . . and crazy. Chris walked in that afternoon after we had hung it on my friend Joe’s photography background stands ( solving another one of our questions, how were we going to hand the damn thing so that people could get their pictured taken with their heads in the place of Chris’s face in the painting?) Anyway, Chris was speechless. Overwhelmed. Could not believe his eyes. I loved that I was their to witness his seeing it for the first time. I wish Linda had not been in the shower!
Chris’s sister Mary was able to drive over from Birmingham. She was a doll and it was fun to see them enjoying each others company. Chris’s message about living your own path, and giving back to the world and doing something with your life that leaves a legacy was very inspiring. He is an excellent speaker and is centered and able to be completely with you in the moment. Really hits the heart of the matter and people who had not heard of him or heard him speak were blown away. He sold out of all of the book seller’s books and his own.
I was able to spend just a bit of alone time with Chris about my business. He was very generous and offered to help me anyway he could. I was so enchanted, I forgot to get my book signed! But he told me, just let me know if I can do anything for you!
Now the event is behind me and Chris has 33 events left to go! It is Saturday morning. Our bed and breakfast guests were up and out of here early to their conference, and I am going to JeJu, a Korean Spa, where I will get in the various hot and cold tubs, the sauna, and steam rooms, get scrubbed from head to toe, have my hair washed and then go put on the comfy clothes they give you and lounge around while I work on my vision and business plan for the next ninety days – without a computer or other distractions.