Trish Morrison is the founder and event creator of MomCom. A yearly conference that promotes conversation and connection around the topics of work, entrepreneurship, social justice, and the economics of motherhood. Read on to see how she's putting on this event for money.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I never set out to be an entrepreneur, although I probably should have. I found out early on that I am not a nine-to-five kind of worker. Unfortunately, most jobs are built around that kind of schedule. It makes sense that I always come back to events and the service industry because these types of positions have flexibility built into them.
What did you do before launching the MomCom Conference?
I was a conference and event planner, marketing director and database manager. I also dabbled in QA and project management. Not all at the same time of course. I’m a Jill of all trades.
How did you fund your business?
We’re bootstrapping right now and trying to determine what our next steps will be to financially to grow the business. Bootstrapping has the advantage of not having to answer to anyone, but the disadvantage of not being able to grow as fast as one might with funding.
How many hours do you work a week and how much is spent in your home office?
I try to work about 30 solid hours of actual work. But with all the meetings, phone conversations, networking, social media, and constant brainstorming, I’m closer to about 50 hours a week. I spend about 85 percent of the time in my home office.
How would you rate your success?
It’s getting there. There’s momentum, but I’m still not where I want to be with all the ideas I have for the future of MomCom. When I can hire a full-time person and start paying myself a decent wage, then I’ll consider myself successful. I’ll still want to do more, but I will have reached an important milestone.
What has been your biggest business struggle as an Event Creator?
My biggest business struggle is figuring out how to scale and what will make the most sense for MomCom and for me professionally and personally.
- Should I do small events in each city?
- Should I do a couple of larger regional events each year?
- How do I keep everyone engaged between conferences?
- And of course, what’s going to be the best move for my family and me?
- What actions that I take with the business will contribute to, rather than take away from, how we want to live our lives?
Because that’s why I started my own business; to work around our family life, rather than our family life working around my job. So meshing it all and making it work personally, professionally and financially in a way that serves us, is a struggle right now.
What advice would you give to other aspiring Event Creators?
Event creators are different from event managers. If you want to be involved in events or manage events for others, it’s a great job and you should go out there and have fun with it.
As an event creator or producer, know that you are truly creating something from scratch. You’re “birthing” something that you are going to have to live with for a long time if you want it to work and be profitable. Most events or conferences don’t make a profit at least until after the first three events. You need to love what you’re doing and be patient through the first few rounds.
Also, know that not everyone is going to love your event and most don’t know how much work it took you to get them there. People don’t care that you didn’t sleep at night thinking about what would make everyone the most comfortable, interested, excited and engaged. They don’t need to know. If someone isn’t completely happy, it’s your job to do what you can and note what you need to do differently the next time.
Essentially, you need to be Oz behind the curtain. There is always going to be one person saying the room is too hot while the person next to her is saying it’s too cold. As long as you know that you did all you could to make sure they were both okay, even if they weren’t, you’re golden. Don’t take it personally and move on.
An event is a puzzle and you have to keep putting the pieces together until you can make them all fit. Even then, not everyone is going to love your vision or have a perfect experience. That’s okay though because if you’ve cared enough and worked hard enough to get them there, people feel it. They’ll walk out feeling better than when they came in. That’s the sweet spot. It’s rewarding and makes it all worth it.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
I do the best I can. It’s often tiring. The event business is a social business that can easily sap your energy. I rely on my Google calendars and my iPhone a lot. I don’t try to go to every networking event. I also shut down in the evenings. When my daughter is with me, I’m with her. There’s no looking over the laptop when we’re together.
Thanks to Trish Morrison for sharing her entrepreneurial journey!
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