Hey hey, welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you'll learn how to host a high converting virtual summit that leads to your biggest signature offer launch yet. I'm your host Krista from Summit in a Box. And we are in the middle of a series for those of you who are totally new, or newer, to running an online business, and wondering if you can do the whole wild ride of hosting assignment without a huge email list or wildly successful digital offer. If that's you, I truly cannot wait for you to hear today's episode because I have an incredible guest who launched a successful summit without an existing business brand, blog, email list or audience of any kind. She had a life experience a big vision for impacting others, and she went for it. And to give you some background information on our guest, she's a wife, a mom of three young kiddos, a digital marketer for a hotel brand and a former Wine Enthusiast. And after falling into the mommy wine culture and realizing her nightly wine habit was not benefiting her anymore, she chose to do a 100 day alcohol free challenge. And on day 101 She decided life was so much better without alcohol and wanted to share all of the resources that helped her along the way with other middle aged drinkers so they could start living their best life alcohol free like she was. So she created the sober summit bringing together the best authors podcasters influencers and experts in the sober community for a three day virtual event with the help of Summit in a Box. And with her first successful summit behind her, she now plans to do multiple per year with the hope of finally quitting her nine to five so she can continue to help others in this space. This background story and success story really hit close to home for me. And the reason I show up in this business every single day, not only were we able to like help Maggie and make an impact there. But she was able to take what we have and impact 1000s of others. And that impact just spreads from there with all the people that are impacted from the lives Maggie is changing directly. So we'll see if I can hold it together today. We'll see what happens. So without further ado, let's dive in and talk with Maggie Klaassens founder of The Sober Summit. Welcome Maggie. I'm so happy to have you here.
Oh my gosh, Krista, this is like a pinch me moment. I'm so excited to be here. This is like I go if I could do this, maybe I could get on her podcast.
I love that. And seriously, every time I send a pitch I'm like, "This person is going to say no." So I was very excited when you said yes. I'm so grateful to have you here. This is just going to be so eye opening for a lot of people. So I'm grateful for you taking taking time to be with us today. Usually, the first question I ask on this podcast is for someone to tell us about their business. And I love that that does not apply here. Because this is going to be so eye opening for people who are doubting that they can do this if they're starting small or starting from scratch. And just to clarify, you did not have a business at all before you hosted your Summit. Is that correct?
No business. No business, no brand, not even like a social media account. Nothing. I had nothing. I hadn't even... So you told my story of how I did this 100 Day Challenge. And you get to a point when you go through this sober journey of going, life is so good, I have to share it. And every single person hits that point. They're like I need to give back. I need to tell the world about this because I sleep better, my skin is better, I'm less irritable with my kids, like it's a snowball effect to the rest of your life. And so of course you want to like share it with the world. And so yeah, I hadn't at that point even shared on my social media that I had given up alcohol. And I was like, I'm going to do this. And I'm going to have this Sober Summit.
And it's funny too, because I wasn't an influencer or an author or podcasts or anything. I had no business. I just had attended a few actually "quit sugar summits", really well known sugar summits out there. And I attend them every year because what happens when you give up alcohol is you get a sweet tooth. So I now had to like figure out how to give up sugar. But I'm attending these summits and I'm going there has to be one on alcohol. There's two really well known on sugar, there has to be one on alcohol. And I'm doing Googling, you know, and there's nothing out there. So I go, well, there should be one.
And so there was actually this one girl, Erin Smith, who was on the quit sugar summit last year. And she had done a summit from scratch herself. And it was about emotional eating. And in her story, she was telling how she just did it as part of her journey. I thought, well, maybe I could do that. So I reached out to her and of course, no reply. And I go, Well, I don't know, I don't think I can actually do this. I'm gonna maybe just do the backend work and see if I could pitch the idea to a few well known podcasters in the sober space. They're used to interviewing people, and maybe they'll be the face of it and I can just do the background website, the stuff I like doing: the marketing, the website, all that stuff. And they're in the UK and they were like, "What's a summit?" They only thought you know, well that's a US thing. That's not a UK thing. And I thought well, that could be the case and they were really busy. They had full time jobs and they said you know politely to declined and said, but if you do, it will be speakers. And we'll help you promote it. And I thought, well, I can't do it. Like I'm literally nobody in this space. Nobody even in my like circle of friends on social media didn't even know I'd given up alcohol and you want me to actually do a summit myself.
So I mulled it over for a couple of weeks, and I listened to one of their podcast episodes that talked about in sobriety, when you give up alcohol, you gain so much more. And it's so true. This is not about hitting rock bottom. And being a homeless person on a park bench. This is about just like choosing to live a healthier lifestyle by removing alcohol. And when you do that, all these new windows and doors open up and it's like, you're so clear minded and you're going maybe I could do this, maybe I could do this. And you know, people run marathons, they write books, they do all these things. I thought maybe this could be the thing that I do with this sober journey. So I actually, in my previous life used to be a craft blogger. So I know Abbi Kirsten and Amy Romeo and Jen Swift, who've all taken Summit in a Box and have done their own summits. And I reached out to Abbi and I said, How did you do it? And she said, I purchased Summit in a Box. And I listened to Krista's podcasts, I thought, Okay, I'm gonna do it. And one of your episodes is actually about like, you don't need an audience to be able to do this. So I binge listened to your podcast for a few weeks. I thought, I'm just gonna do it. Maybe I could do this. So I did. And it was just like, everything is so well laid out in Summit in a Box that you just, yes, you have limiting beliefs. And yes, you there's multiple times you don't think you can do it. But if you just it was just baby steps. It's like, I just have to keep going. And maybe like, I'll get to the point of no return, which is what happened.
You do you get to the point where it's like going, you go up the roller coaster and you're at the top and looking down and you can't stop at that point. You're in it for the ride. Oh, my gosh, that is such a beautiful journey. Thank you so much for taking, taking us along, like what all of that looked like and you try different avenues to make it happen. And the doors kept closing. And I feel like they were closing for a reason. Because you were supposed to be the one that led this thing. And I'm so grateful that those people did say no, because you're you're just the perfect person to be leading the summit and all the people you're impacting. And you mentioned there at the end, like the limiting beliefs that you know, kept coming up, even though you had the process to follow the limiting beliefs were there. What would you say were like your biggest fears or doubts going into hosting this summit?
Other than it would only be my mom and my husband joining?
I mean, that's a valid one was the big one.
No, it was just actually I had a lot of limiting beliefs throughout the process. And I kept proving myself wrong. And I'll give you a few examples. Because although Summit in a Box laid it all out, it didn't mean that I still didn't feel like I couldn't do it. So for example, there became a point where I go, I there's no way I can pull this off. There's no way I can do this by myself. And I hired an agency to help me. And they said, Don't do Kajabi, do WordPress, do Active Campaign do Thrive cart, do all this stuff. And I went down that path and a month into it. I had thrown away all the work I've done in Kajabi. And I'm trying to learn these new systems and it just didn't feel right. And I'm going What am I doing? This doesn't feel right.
So I pivoted, and I was like, I took them away. And I said, I'm sorry, I'm gonna go back to Kajabi and I went back there. And that was what felt familiar for me at that time because Kajabi was new to me. And there are some, you know, it's not as great of an email program as Active Campaign, but you can do everything in there. It's just different. And so yeah, I got rid of them. And I went back to, you know, doing going through my Asana and doing the baby steps. And then at some point, I'm going, "Social media? I can't do social media. There's no way I can do social media. I don't even do social media in my personal life." So I hired an agency to do it. And they put together the templates for me to do for social media. And I didn't like them. So that night, I spent my night developing my own creative and my husband goes, "Why do you keep doing this to yourself? Like, you don't realize how good you are and you keep paying people to do things that you can do. Why you just You gotta believe in yourself." And I know you're right. I fired them and I use my templates, and then towards the end of it, I'm like, "I can't execute this alone." So I hired another person. I spent so much money, Krista, because it wasn't because I couldn't do it myself. It's because I thought I couldn't do it myself. And in the end, I absolutely could. It's just It is terrifying to take this on by yourself and think that it's going to actually like you get to a point where you're fearful of like actually launching the thing Is your you don't know what could happen? Absolutely. Like my statement to anybody who's new to this is like, just follow Summit in a Box and just just keep taking those baby steps because you can do it yourself and everything's in there. I just didn't trust myself and I can trust you. And
I mean, I know that I love hearing like, I still go through that every time I put on a new Summit. I'm terrified to pitch speakers, I'm terrified when registration opens that no one's gonna sign up or buy. And the first time, it's even worse, right? And the first time especially when you feel like you feel like you're nobody. I mean, I'm sure it's just heightened. So I totally see how that would all come into play. And it makes me want to go through Summit in a Box. I honestly think I will do that. And like build in little pep talks all throughout different sections. Like, I promise, you can do this, you got it, you know, like, like, just things I know people need to hear at every stage. So thanks for sharing that. And yeah, it's scary. So like, I hope people listening here and you're not alone. If, if this feels intimidating, if you get to a certain point, you're like, oh, my gosh, I don't know if I can do it. Like you are not absolutely not alone. When you feel those things. It's like it's very normal. It's just the people that have the little bit of power. Or maybe you're, you know, driven by your task list. And you just have the task the next day that you have to do you just let that push you. You just need something to to keep moving along and the pieces come together, they really do absolutely do.
And you've done such an incredible job of putting Summit in a Box together because you literally thought of everything. And so it is all there. It's just a matter of yeah, those pep talks would be great.
I love that idea.
You know, even throughout the way, you know, we had a couple of gut checks, like with my registration page, and I got your feedback on that as part of Summit in a Box because I paid for, you know, the little extra to get your feedback on those things. And that was worth it to me, because to me, it was it was just hearing from you that I was on the right track. That was so helpful.
Yeah, I remember yours was one of the few where I was like, Oh, wow, this is really good. Like this is really, really good. So but I'm glad it was still helpful, even despite me being like, oh, and I'm sure I still had I don't think I've ever done one where I didn't have any any feedback to add. But I do specifically remember yours. Like you were so good at speaking to what these people were going to be feeling and going through because you had just gotten through it yourself. So like, of course, you know, and also it might help that you weren't running your own business at the time, you weren't kind of like, like bogged down by all the other marketing messaging that might have been like flowing through other people's head, like you were just like, This is what I felt like, and we're able to communicate that so well. So that was another fun thing for me to see. But okay, you talked about, like your fears and the things you had to push through and go through. Let's talk about the reality of your site. Can you tell us a little bit about the event itself first?
Yeah, so I gave myself six months to put it together. Just I mean, I wanted that extra time.
I mean, you have a full time business. You have kids, like...
I work full time, I had gone back to school to become a health coach. And I was planning, you know, the summit, and I have three little kiddos. So yes, life was chaotic for a very long time, but worth it. So worth it.
It was a three day summit, obviously free for those who join live, I had eight speakers a day, and I had each day broken up into different themes. So the first day was all about how alcohol affects your mind and body. So I had speakers talk about really the science behind alcohol, which was great. I loved every single episode I went, it was a journey for myself, you know, it's going yes, this was so I could get off these interviews, like, that was so good. I learned so much. I was in these interviews as if I was, you know, listening to them myself and asking them questions that I would want somebody to ask. So it was really eye opening for me. And I also got to interview some of my, you know, people, authors and podcasters, that I that helped me through my journey that I'm like, I was fangirling to, you know, being able to talk to him. And then day two was all about tips and tricks on how to actually remove alcohol from your life. And then day three was all about how to normalize sobriety and fit into society.
So once you remove alcohol, like what are your relationships look like? What does dating look like? What is you know, would have gone to parties look like? How do you actually fit into society when you don't drink alcohol. So it was really good. I didn't know you were running it at the time. But you are running another summit and I got some good tips from there. So I did a virtual goodie bag, which was amazing, because there's so many alcohol free brands out there who offer discounts to attendees, which was incredible. And then people could you know, buy the All Access Pass and we had over $450 worth of bonuses from speakers. So it was really, really incredible. And then we had the Facebook page. I will say I did hire someone last minute to manage my Facebook page and my inbox for the help inbox. And that was well worth the money because after the summit, I talked to her and I was like I'm so glad that I wasn't in the weeds on all that when it was happening, or I would have freaked out. I spent a lot of miscellaneous money that I shouldn't have that one was one that I will absolutely do, again, having someone help you with your inbox.
Seriously, that would be my top recommendation also you like it's so hard to actually enjoy what you put together if you're having to deal with all the support and people who are confused or angry or just have like good questions like you can't enjoy it, you have to just put out fires all day. So I'm, I'm glad to hear that you did that. Yeah, it was great.
I was able to actually engage with people in the Facebook group and not have to worry about the everything. You know, the miscellaneous questions. It's the same questions over and over again, too. So yeah, that was great.
Awesome. I love hearing all that. Are you comfortable sharing some numbers with us?
Yeah, of course. So I had over 4600 attendees, I had just under 600 people purchased the all-access pass, and I had a revenue over $34,000.
Gosh, what were your like goals and expectations going into it?
So my goals were I basically hit my goals. So my attendee goal was 5000. So I wanted to hit 5000. So I was just about there. Yeah, customers, I didn't have like an actual number of customers. But revenue, honestly, I just wanted to make my money back, and then be able to have a little cushion. So that that was with all the miscellaneous. Right, my, my costs was a bit higher than everyone else's. So yeah, my goal was just to make my money back. And I did that. So which was great.
That's incredible. For our first time Summit, your conversion rate was 13%. That's real good, especially with, you know, what I tell people to expect with conversion rates slightly has gone on a little bit. 13% is great, almost 5000 people in a first time Summit, that's incredible. Like, you did all the things right. And it's so cool to see. And it's so cool to think about 4600 people raising their hand and saying they need help with this. And then having this thing you put together for them. Like I hope I hope you're you're like just so proud and happy of that and see this huge impact that is like spreading to their families and like everyone around them, and all the people they want to go tell like, it's so cool. So cool to see this with the first time Summit.
Yeah, I mean, my goal was to help one person, if I could help one person just question their relationship with alcohol and say, maybe life would be better without it. I know what it's like with it. And, you know, how do you feel with life with it? But how do you truly feel with life without it, and I was blown away by the amount of messages and email, I'm going to cry. How many people reached out to me from around the world saying, you don't realize what a big impact you just had on my life. I mean, all those resources, all those people are out there, they could have found them on their own for sure. But hosting a summit wrapped it up in a pretty little bow of saying here, you know, the resources that helped me through my journey. And, you know, maybe it could help you too.
And it really, it filled my cup Krista. This is what I go, my dream is to quit my nine to five because I couldn't wait to come down and work on this every single morning. I stayed up late because I wanted to, you know those people who have jobs they love they don't feel like work. I hate those people. I hate those people who are those people. They're like unicorns, but in running this summit, I was one of those people. I was like, I love this. I love doing this it fill my cup so much. So yeah, to be able to help other people. And then the speakers. I feel like with the Summit in a Box, I blew away the speakers, because I had so many people say this was so well done. This is so professional, to do this for a living. I'm so impressed. And even like when I sent out the little gifts, I had one speaker go. You think of everything, every little last touch and I've gone Yes. Yeah, it was it was really great.
And I do have to say to my favorite moment throughout the whole thing was I have never heard my husband say, I'm so proud of you more times than when I did this. He was like, "I didn't even know you know how to do all this stuff." I'm like, "Well, you know, Krista kind of helped, but but yeah." I mean, he was just he was so supportive throughout the whole thing. And I just that it was amazing. It was absolutely amazing.
Oh my gosh, I love that. To me, you know, I'm not the one doing it. But to me that's like better than everything than like any of the numbers is hearing those kinds of things.
1,000%. It is so good.
I love it. Thank you so much for sharing all that one. One question that came up when you were talking about like, you got all these podcasters and speakers and authors who you like helped you? I was thinking the most common concern I hear from people, especially when they're starting smaller from scratch with a summit, is they're not gonna be able to land any speakers and you clearly landed some real great and well known speakers. What do you think made that possible without you having an existing audience of your own?
I just putting myself out there. I mean, to be honest, I'm wasn't afraid of putting myself out there. The worst that could happen is they ignore me, which many did, because they don't know who this mom in Virginia reaching out about this event that's never taken place before. Like, what? I wasn't surprised. So my feelings weren't hurt, right? If somebody said no, because they didn't even know who I was. But once people started saying, Yes, I mean, gosh, what a thrill. Your adrenaline just goes through the roof. And then once I was able to get even just a few people, like once I had for people who had written books, or were hosting podcasts that everybody else knew in this space, I mean, the cyberspace, it's a small space. So you know, I could name drop, and I was like, Well, you know, I've got so so and so. And then people wanted to be a part of it. So my reach, you know, was significant with the amount of collectively I was using their audience, right, because I didn't have my own. So I was using the reach of all the speakers that attended, and I even had a few big speakers that are so well known in the space. Not enough that they cost money, those ones I didn't, I didn't do anybody who like actually was like, that'll be $15,000 for me to join them. And I'm going, No, I can't do that. But I had a few people who were so big in the space, they wouldn't promote it. And I thought, that's okay, I reached out in your Facebook group. And I was like, what do you do in this scenario?
And that's the other thing about Summit in a Box was that Facebook group, I kind of felt bad. I'm like, another question for me. Another question for me. But everyone is so engaged in that group that you instantly get feedback from everybody. And that was a game changer for me. Because you have these random questions like, what do you do when a speaker says they won't promote it? And it's like, Well, is it worth having them? Their face and their name? It's part yeah. So you know, there, I said yes, to a couple of speakers are like, I'm not going to promote it. But it would meant more to me to have them and their content as part of the summit than to not have them at all. So what worked for me was to DM people through Instagram, tell them about the summit? Like, here's what I'm doing, here's what I'm trying to do? Do you want more information to be a part of it? And a lot of people like Yes, send me more information. So I didn't try and fill everything out in this DM It was short and sweet. You know, do you want information, send me your email, and I'll send you more information about it. And then I pitch them through the email. And and that's how I got people, the majority of people who said, Yes, we're through that the people who said no, it just didn't work out, you know, after that with their timing or their commitments, or things like that. But yeah, it was Instagram was amazing for that.
Yeah, that's become one of my favorite things to do, too, is make that initial connection first. People like don't have their guards up as much, I think on Instagram and or in places like that. And they're willing to, like, at least hear you out. You know, we're in an email to be like add, delete, you know, without even thinking anything of it. Yeah. You were talking about the speakers who, like didn't respond last time or say no, and I have zero, absolutely zero doubt that as you keep posting this, those people are going to be back. They'll be coming to you to be like, "Um actually, I would love to be in your next run of this." I have zero doubt. And I want you to tell me what might happen.
It's already happened. It's already? Yes, yes. I went to an event in DC. It was a book signing for a couple of the authors. And I met a couple people. And I said, Hey, I reached out to you about this over so many, because yeah, I'd love to be a part of the next one. You know, I already made a connection. So I mean, yeah, I've already had people. So many people reached out to me and asked me if we could just just talk or have coffee, I know what they want. They want to be a part of the next one.
That's amazing. Oh, my gosh. Let's see here. One other thing I wanted to ask about is one of my biggest concerns with people who don't have brands or businesses, hosting a site from scratch is not having a proven offer with proven messaging. And in most cases, I would say people super new to business often don't know how to write effective copy and how to how to say things in a way that resonate with people, which makes it really hard to position a summit and write all the copy that makes it convert. Do you feel like your digital marketing job is what was like super helpful there? Or what do you think made that successful?
You know what, I don't. I mean, I, it's hard to tell without really knowing, like, having something to compare it to, but my digital marketing job, I'm not a copywriter. I don't that's not what I do. So no, I would say that I honestly one thing is, you know, I went through this journey myself, so I know what it's like to have the Mom Brain fog and not be able to sleep and not feel your best and just feel like you're on this hamster wheel of life. So I've been in that so I that helps, right? But then also I I took inspiration from other summits out there, from across the board health and wellness summits, business summits. And I just kind of took what spoke to me in those summits and, you know, made it for for this specific topic. So yeah, I took inspiration from other people helped me write that copy. But really, truly, it's coming from someone who's been through it themselves, which is helpful. I think that's primarily where the copy comes from. But I'm not a copywriter at all. So you don't have to be I think, and you do such a great job with the templates of saying, this is where you need to put in, you know, your niche. This is where you need to put in your value your you know, what you want people to get out of your Summit. So a lot of it's defined by Summit in a Box as well. Yeah,
okay. Cool. That's really interesting to hear, I just, I honestly assume that you did copy-type of digital marketing stuff. So that's really cool. And I'm kind of thinking now like, again, maybe maybe that was a benefit of not being like super into the online business space yet is, once again, your mind isn't clouded with all of these, like digital marketing terms and things like that. You just said, what you were feeling and what you were passionate about. And that's what works like, in our programs, that's what we have to dig underneath. I'm like, Dude, what does this even mean? Nobody knows what this means except you. But you weren't. Like, I don't know, your brain wasn't filled with all the the marketing garbage that the rest of us might be used to. So you were just able to like, speak from your heart, and that that's what works. So that's really cool. Yeah, let's see here. I'm so grateful for everything you shared, what would you say is like, the top thing you'd say to someone who's doubting whether they can make something happen with a small or no audience?
Honestly, it's the baby steps, it's literally eventually you get to the point where there is no return. And anybody can do this. Honestly, if I can do this with no business, no audience no even like, mention of the fact that I'd gone alcohol free, even on my personal social media accounts, and then went on to the world was like, I'm hosting this summit, you know, anybody can do it. And it truly is, if I didn't have Summit in a Box, though. And I'm not, I know, you didn't ask me on this podcast, just to promote Summit in a Box. But honestly, I couldn't have done it without Summit in a Box. Because I just, I was already at a few points throughout the process, you know, questioning whether I could do this. But having everything in my back pocket was was the key, right? I just had to keep following your process and having everything mapped out in Asana, like, here's what you do, here's the dates, like, I knew exactly when I was ahead of the game. And then I got to a point where I'm like, oh, shoot, I gotta get, you know, get moving. And it was like, You're a little bit behind, you got to step it up. But everything's there.
And so, I mean, I just would, would encourage anybody, because there can be so many summits out there to help other people. And if your goal is truly to do something on a larger scale, that's what I wanted to do. I didn't want to start a social media account and try and build it up there. I didn't, you know, even though I went back to school to become a health coach and eventually want to do something in that space to help people through sobriety in that way. Honestly, truly, I can help more people in with a virtual summit, I can help 5000 people versus one on one coaching, of course, I'm going to choose this. And it's really truly not about the money. It's about spreading the word of how great it is to choose a healthy lifestyle and to live alcohol free and how amazing life can be on this side of alcohol. So I honestly, there's so many opportunities for people to jump in the on a virtual summit bandwagon, but you do need Summit in a Box. That's what I would tell people, you you need it.
Oh, thank you. That's very sweet. I appreciate that. And again, thank you so much for sharing all this. Thank you for sharing your heart behind your event. I love seeing that come through, even when the questions are gonna be based more on strategy. The fact that you just truly want to help these people shines and everything you do and I know that's going to help you along with whatever you decide to do next. So So Thanks for sharing that with us. Where can people go to learn more about your summit and keep up with what you get up to next?
Yeah, so the website is thesobersummit.com. And you can also find me on Instagram @thesobersummit. I also have Facebook because not not as big as Instagram, but yeah, yeah, I would love for people to check me out and join the next one. If you're sober curious, which is the phrase you know if you think you might want to check it out. Yeah, please join us for the next one. I hope to be hosting another one in November.
Amazing. We will link to that in the show notes for sure. Thank you so much for being here, Maggie. And thank you so much, everybody for tuning in. For show notes and resources and links to Maggie Summit, head to the show notes at Summit host hangout.com/two for one. In the next episode, we'll be chatting with another guest about using virtual summits to build your own table and become a thought leader. So please sure to stay tuned for that now go and take action to plan strategize and launch your high converting virtual summit.