Liam Austin is the co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ and a virtual event strategist, having launched over 15 virtual summits and online business networking events, hosting over 400 speakers whilst educating 100,000+ business owners through his programs.
Virtual Summit Academy is Liam’s 6-week implementation program which makes it easy for people to create their own online summits and virtual conferences to grow their email list, authority, impact, and revenue. Liam is also the creator of the Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program,
where he partners with select clients to generate seven figures.
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Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Free Gift: Virtual Summit Kickstarter Checklist
3 Key Points:
- 5 Reason Why You Should Be Doing A Virtual Summit
– If you want to build your email list
– If you want to build your own authority, credibility
– If you want to meet high-level influencers and experts in your market
– If you want to make money
– Making an impact on the world
- Virtual summit a great way to make your first dollar online, it’s an all in one package, a business in a box and it can launch a business to create other products and services to sell off the back end.
- How to Pick the Right Topic:
– Pick that number one goal
– What is my high ticket offer for the back of the event?
– What are the results we’re getting for clients who purchased this high ticket offer?
– Who is the best-suited ideal target customer?
– Who would want these results the most?
– Build the funnel to be able to scale selling this high ticket offer
[3:34] You want to make something a little bit different, I want to stand out from the crowd to make sure that you get the type of high conversion rate between a 60-75% opt-in rate from a visitor visiting our event web page to actually opting in and getting a ticket.
[4:56] The great thing about virtual events is that they don’t require travel for any of your attendees to get their taxi flights, being Australian or living in Europe trying to get to the conferences, events happening in the US, and meet influences or learn from these influences, very costly.
[5:31] The strategy and method that we use with our clients are that we want to convert as many people into our database, just make sure that they become a lead.
[6:33] As the host, the first person that an attendee will reach out to if they want further help after the event with the problem you’re solving during your event.
[11:03] Creating your own business, being entrepreneurial, gives you that freedom of choice, and not having to be told, to be at a certain place at a certain time or to do certain things or that you didn’t do things well.
[11:29] The thing that really helped, I suppose provide a rocket ship to our business and what we do and enabled us to, to move internationally and work anywhere in the world was the virtual summit
[16:47] The summit just blew everything else out of the park-like 60-75% opt-in rate from a visitor coming to look at your website.
[17:45] One of the main core benefits reasons you should be doing virtual summit is revenue, but the others of building your own credibility authority, your impact you building your email list, and your connections with influencers in your marketplace.
[19:59] It’s so important, that moment when you realize you can do something and somebody else gives you the exchange money with what then you can take and decide on what your dream is maybe fast food or maybe just a sweet or you know, putting it into you.
[22:48] Typical lean startup stuff. You know, sell it before you actually make it, make sure there’s a demand for it. And only then do you start thinking about building the funnel to be able to scale selling this high ticket offer.
[23:46] In the summit topic itself, we should be aligning and tying the promise of the summit to the results we people will get if they purchased the high ticket offer.
[24:51] It’s about providing a really great experience during the event that gives people community, builds your credibility and authority, gives them maybe some quick wins. So they can see the type of impact that working with you or problem solving with you can do for their business for their life.
[27:10] You should always have a number one goal and prioritize that in your decision making.
For FULL Transcript click here:
Christine Schlonski [0:02]
Hey, Gorgeous. This is episode number 304. I’m super excited to have the amazing Liam Austin back on the show today.
Liam Austin [0:10]
Hey, this is Liam Austin, you’re listening to Heart Sells! Podcast with Christine Schlonski. Enjoy.
Christine Schlonski [0:17]
Well, I can’t wait to dive into another amazing conversation with Liam. Liam is a co-founder of Entrepreneurs HQ, and a virtual event strategist. He has launched over 15 virtual summits and online business networking events, hosting over 400 speakers while educating over 100,000 business owners through his programs. He is the founder of The Virtual Summit Academy, and The Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program. And I’m so excited that he is back on the show, sharing more of his brains today. So let’s dive right in. Well, I am so super pumped to be back today. Liam, welcome.
Liam Austin [0:58]
Yeah, cheers Christine good to be back.
Christine Schlonski [1:00]
Yeah, I mean, I can’t wait to talk about this topic. Because I’m so passionate about it myself. As I said, in the last episode, I kick-started my business with a virtual summit because I was looking for a way to get myself out into the world to get my message known. And I decided, you know, I wanted to have a big impact fast. And you teach about summits with your Virtual Summit Academy, which is your 6-week Implementation Program. And you also have like a thing called The Million Dollar Virtual Summit Program, which just a title like yet, right, my ears are ringing. So I want to know more about this. Help us a little bit to understand the process, from starting a business figuring out that summit is a way to go, to now being one of the people to go to when we talk about virtual summits.
Liam Austin [1:57]
Yeah, sure. So 2015, we started Entrepreneurs HQ, which is our business, our main brand that hosts all the events that we do, and all the events that we are hosting our virtual. Since 2015. We’ve hosted 17, ourselves, my partner, Sarah, and myself, where we’ve had an average of about 10,000 people attend those virtual events. And we’ve helped many clients create their own events based on strategy and our process, via, as you mentioned, The Virtual Summit Academy, which is an online course with all the script templates to go and do this yourself. Or if you want some help and want to partner on a summit, then we’ve got our Million Dollar Summit Program to help you get hit a million dollars within 18 months by combining a virtual summit with a high ticket offer.
Christine Schlonski [2:55]
Wow. So that’s, that’s pretty impressive. So someone just listening like, probably being a bit overwhelmed? What would be a good first step, like what kind of decision do they need to take to even find out if this a good path for me at my business? Or do I need to find another strategy?
Liam Austin [3:15]
Cool. So I always look at there’s four and then a bonus kind of fifth reason why you should be doing a virtual summit. So or any type of really virtual event, because there are many iterations and ways you can be hosting virtual events these days. And you want to make something a little bit different, I want to stand out from the crowd to make sure that you get the type of high conversion rates that we see. And we see anywhere between a 60-75%, opt-in rate from a visitor visiting our event web page to actually opting in and getting a ticket. And that’s a free ticket to the event. So super high opt-in rates. And you only get that if you’re creating an event that really stands out from the crowd. So in terms of the reasons why if you want to build your email list, you should be doing a summit. If you want to build your own authority, credibility. It’s a great way to do that by hosting an event yourself with high-level influencers and experts. If you want to meet high-level influencers and experts in your market, call them friends, build relationships with them to partner strategic relationships, alliances, that kind of thing. You should be doing a summit. If you want to make money.
Liam Austin [4:30]
A virtual summit is a great way to make your first dollar online. I know many of our clients have made their first dollar automatically. I mean, there’s work to set up your event but once you turn it and switch it on, it can keep making money for you forever. And then the bonus fifth one, which is sometimes much important for many of our clients, is making an impact on the world. So the great thing about virtual events is that they don’t require travel for any of your attendees to get their taxi flights, being Australian or living in Europe trying to get to the conferences, events happening in the US and meet influences or learn from these influences, very costly. So doing it virtually, it’s pretty much free. I can attend from my lounge or the steps in my house, all right, wherever, wherever you are in the world you can attend. And for free as well, the strategy and method that we use with our clients are that we want to convert as many people into our database, just make sure that they become a lead so that they can, we talked in the last episode about turning these people into ambassadors that can refer their friends, colleagues, partners, to you and your business. So we want to offer a free ticket to convert people into our database.
Liam Austin [6:00]
And the great thing about this is that it builds your email list really, really quickly, they then experience you, hosting influencers, big names, famous people that they already know, in the industry that they’re learning from, they start recognizing you, as on par with these people, sometimes even above them, because well, you’ve brought all these people together, you’ve organized this, you must be like the focal point of it. So I’m going to get in touch with you first. So you’re normally the, as the host, the first person that an attendee will reach out to if they want further help after the event with the problem you’re solving during your event. And also, they’re on your email list. And most likely, they will just reply to the email. And that’ll be a lead for you. And then during the event itself, you’re selling tickets, some kind of paid upgrade, a private, more high-level experience for them. So people will pay for that, maybe it’s somewhere between the 60 to $100 mark, for that VIP experience. And then you want to be selling your main high ticket offer off the back end of your event. And that’s where the profit is really going to be made.
Liam Austin [7:19]
So you want that end offer to be with our clients, we aim for at least a $10,000 offer, program, service product, whatever it may be, we help design that for our clients that don’t have that. But we want that to be high margin, high profit, and at least 10K so that we’ve got the leads coming in, we’re building a database, we’re building our 30 credibilities throughout the event. And then we make a profit revenue on the back end. With the high ticket offer, we have thousands of people coming to our events, we’re making a huge impact in the world. And you’re building relationships with amazing influencers in your market all at the same time. So it’s an all in one package that does all of those things. So even if you just want one of them, well, you’re going to get all of them. But there should always be one specific focus.
Liam Austin [8:11]
Some of our charities are not for profits and are about making an impact. Some obviously want donations and make some money from that. But it’s about making an impact and making a difference in the world. So that is their number one priority, get us as many people to the event as possible and just reinvest any money being made into getting more people into your event. And again, that’s obviously building the database, building your email is so deciding on what that one key driver is what you want in your business, then, you know, a virtual summit really is a that all in one package. It’s a business in a box. It can launch a business to create other products and service to sell off the back end, as we mentioned with that high ticket offer, but really if all you did was run these virtual events, and there are so many different types so you can plan it, certainly keep your audience interested, then it’s worth checking out and exploring whether you know, a virtual summit is something that you’d enjoy doing.
Christine Schlonski [9:12]
Yeah, definitely. I just love them because you know, connecting with the influencers, connecting with people who really are successful in their businesses, and then having that opportunity asking any question you want to ask. It’s pretty cool. And like, each time I do a summit, I learn a ton. And that’s why I also went into podcasting because you know, you get to connect with amazing people. And once they like the opportunity right they come back, right I don’t need to worry about finding podcast guests because so many while all of my guests love the summit experience, and then if it’s a real fit for the podcast, they are happy to come back and share even more knowledge, which adds amazing value to my audience and also helps me to learn along with everybody else. So that’s, that’s super exciting. So how did you even get the idea to go into summits? When you were thinking about what kind of business could I do? Right? We all start out with building our ideal client Avatar and you know, trying to find the first steps in becoming an entrepreneur, have you always been entrepreneurial? Or is that something you had to discover and learn? Like, what was your path?
Liam Austin [10:29]
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s in the blood, right? Like, you’re born with it. Yeah, you have this drive, this determination to make an impact on the world, do things a little bit differently. And find your own path without having to report to someone else and ask, or can I take a holiday this week? I mean, that’s not freedom yeah, like, okay, how can I go work for most of the next three years? Like, I didn’t have to ask anyone, right. And like, I think it’s creating your own business, being entrepreneurial, gives you that freedom of choice, and not having to be told, to be at a certain place at a certain time or to do certain things or that you didn’t do things well like you can, you can be an adult and recognize that you have done them, well yourself. And it is reflected in the results in your business. So anyway, it’s in the blood been always interested in being testing, trying different things, things have worked, things have failed.
Liam Austin [11:29]
But the thing that really helped, I suppose, was providing a rocket ship to our business. And what we do and enabled us to, to move internationally and work anywhere in the world was the virtual summit, the very first one we ran in 2015. How did that come about? Probably a little bit different than what other people have experienced. But having been entrepreneurial, I was always testing different ideas. And one of the things that I did was I created a group on LinkedIn, in 2008 when LinkedIn first allowed you to create a group on LinkedIn. And I called it The Small Business Network, I put a lot of SEO keywords in there because I knew that LinkedIn had a very basic search engine, so you can manipulate it quite easily. So anyone that was searching for anything to do with small business, entrepreneurship, starting a business, whatever it might be marketing, social media, like, oh, our grip was coming up number one and LinkedIn, change your algorithm, and to showcase yes, based on keywords, but also like the most popular ones first. And because we had the most people in our group for most of those keywords, we automatically against that is showing up at the top. So it was like a self-fulfilling prophecy where we were number one, and we were in terms of the largest group.
Liam Austin [12:56]
And then, because LinkedIn source is the largest group, they recommended us to everyone else. So we got the most amount of the highest conversion rate of people looking for this type of group that was joining. And it probably wasn’t the best group out there. I just like to set it and forget it and let it run by itself until 2015. So seven, eight years, before we actually did anything with it. And this is probably a lesson that people could take away from this is I was getting, like emailed connection requests on LinkedIn, from people in the group just saying, you know, why aren’t you doing anything with this? Can I promote this? Can I do this in the group? Can we da da da, and I’ve been ignoring them for years. But in 2015, I decided to listen to our audience. So I read some of those emails. I replied, I got on the phone with some of them. I actually did a number of surveys out to that group just asking, Well, yeah, what do you want? What’s your number one struggle when it comes to x. And I’ve got those responses. And it led me to provide a weekly webinar on how they could connect better and network with each other. Right?
Liam Austin [14:19]
Funny because it was a LinkedIn group, as well as how they could generate more leads and sales for their small business. So those were the two things that we were doing webinars on a weekly basis. But every single week, I had to promote this new event that was happening, new title, new landing page, new email sequence, and new expert speaking. And it was a lot of work and we were getting like 20 to 30% and opt-in right for that webinar. But from this, I realized again, like just looking at the data looking at what the audience wants was, reading those surveys looking at what people were most interested in, and it was the webinars or the training that had to do with how to use LinkedIn to prospect to generate leads and actually make sales on LinkedIn. Which makes sense, right? It was a group on LinkedIn.
Liam Austin [15:16]
So I thought, well, this is a lot of work every single week doing, you know, a LinkedIn webinar, like it feels like it’s, it’s gonna always be the same, how can we make this different? And then I thought, well, why don’t we just bring all of these people together in one place, all these experts so that there’s just one event that we’re promoting, we spend a couple of months to promote this one event. And there’s one opt-in page one title, one email sequence that I need to create. So super simple, and I can just focus on marketing, getting as many people there as possible. Rather than setting up this new sequence every single week, it was a bit of a drag, and it was only converting at 20%. As I mentioned before, our virtual summits there, the free ticket offer that leads magnet converts anywhere between 60-75%. across all the different topics we’ve tested, we’ve run 17 virtual summits, and posted them personally, ourselves, and many more for our clients.
Liam Austin [16:18]
And that’s typically what we see, which is way more than your typical lead magnet. So go and check out if you’re asking people to opt-in to your email list, see how many visitors are coming to that page, and how many email addresses you’re getting from each of those visitors? You probably around 3-5% how webinars were getting 20-30% because it was so focused in terms of the leads coming from the LinkedIn group, and I knew what they wanted and will give that webinar. But then the summit just blew everything else out of the park-like 60-75% opt-in rate from a visitor coming to look at your website. It was just phenomenal. And I knew from there that this is something that we had to continue doing. We monetized that we did okay, we made 50K of our first event 50,000 American Dollars, I was in Australia at the time. So for us, it was like 70-80,000 Australian, which was nominal. Yeah, like half my pay kind of thing like in previous jobs like in a matter of a couple of weeks months. And I hadn’t really done that kind of revenue online before, which just blew my mind too.
Liam Austin [17:28]
And now we’re running like Million Dollar Virtual Summits and making $1 million from the launch from a virtual summit from 50,000 in 2015 to a million dollars today, I just think that the opportunity there for you to well, one of the main core benefits reasons you should be doing virtual summit is revenue, but the others of building your own credibility authority, your impact you building your email list and your connections with influencers in your marketplace. It’s just, why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t you go in and at least test out and try this strategy? At least once?
Christine Schlonski [18:05]
It’s absolutely mind-blowing. And, you know, as I said, I just love virtual summits, it is definitely part of my business strategy. A) because they are super fun and B) because they have amazing results. And I just love that. So when you said you were always entrepreneurial, or what was the very, very first thing that you’ve ever sold in your life.
Liam Austin [18:29]
So this is back in, in primary school. So this is like, seven, eight years old. I and a mate went washing local cars for I think $2 at the time. So would have been an absolute bargain. But I’m surprised that many more people said yes to this.
Christine Schlonski [18:50]
Maybe you were too cheap.
Liam Austin [18:52]
Yeah, hand washing a car. I mean, this was like in the 90s or late 80s, I think. Yeah. But yeah, give me a hand carwash from 2 dedicated young kids hand washing your car for just two bucks. This seems like a no brainer.
Christine Schlonski [19:11]
But was it 2 bucks per person? Or,
Liam Austin [19:14]
Per car okay.
Christine Schlonski [19:15]
Liam Austin [19:15]
Yeah. Per car
Christine Schlonski [19:17]
So how did it feel when you received your very first dollar? Do you remember?
Liam Austin [19:22]
Yeah, yeah. Wow, this works. Oh, we actually have to work for it, though. So the thing that we did was we, we, we sold it and immediately got to work with washing the car. We probably spent too much time washing the first few cars that we did. But I think by the end of the day, we earned enough money to go and shout ourselves, as well as a couple of friends out to a local fast-food restaurant with our own money that we’ve earned. And that was a pretty fun kind of exciting moment.
Christine Schlonski [19:56]
Yeah, yeah. I think it’s so important, that moment when you realize you can do something and somebody else gives you the exchange money with what then you can take and decide on what your dream is may it be fast food or may it be just a sweet or you know, putting it into your piggy bank and saving up for something bigger. So I find those stories just fascinating. And you know, today we talk about The Million Dollar Programs, which is beautiful to see what’s even possible. So if I’m an entrepreneur, like starting out, right, I just maybe have my first coaching done. And now I think, well, a summit sounds really exciting. What do I need to do to pick the right topic so that people actually want to come? What is a good decision? Like, because you’ve seen so many summits, and some are probably working really well, and they’re probably some that don’t really work out? So what’s the secret in picking the right topic?
Liam Austin [21:01]
Okay, so it’s working out you know what is your goal for your event, which is the main reason that you’re doing it? You know, revenue impact email list, influencer credibility authority, what is it? Pick that number one goal? And then you want to decide, well, what is my high ticket offer of the back of the event? So what does that look like? What are the results we’re getting for clients who purchased this high ticket offer, and who is the best suited ideal target customer, to who would want these results the most? So this is the thing that we need to figure out. First, you may already have an existing high ticket offer. When I say a high ticket offer, I mean, $10,000 or more average clients we work with, we create $25,000 packages together, a lot of the time, it’s some kind of coaching, consulting program can be any type of service or product. But if we can provide some kind of coaching mastermind aspect to this, that can be done online, provide the freedom, provide the high margins that we’re looking for, then we normally try to angle towards that as much as possible.
Liam Austin [22:16]
But once we know that, we’ve got our high ticket offer, we’ve designed it, we’ve got the results, we’ve got the target audience, we want to sell people into that program. And we want to start at least three people into the program to make sure that well, people actually want this and not just say that they want it, but they’ll actually pay for it as well. So we then, you know, validated this new high ticket program, we know it sells and we want to do that before we even create the product, right? This is typical lean startup stuff. You know, sell it before you actually make it, make sure there’s a demand for it. And only then do you start thinking about building the funnel to be able to scale selling this high ticket offer. So we’ve got a high-ticket offer. We know what the target audience is, we know the results we’re getting for them. And the reasons why these three people purchased, we’re confident it’s going to sell like hotcakes.
Liam Austin [23:19]
If we position that and build the right funnel, so let’s reverse-engineering the funnel, all the way down to the start of the funnel, the start of our virtual event by offering a free ticket to this event. But yeah, what does this event look like? And you mentioned what topic or how do I choose? Well, think about our high ticket offer. What kind of you know the topic is that covering, what kind of result people get. And in the summit topic itself, we should be aligning and tying the promise of the summit to the results we people will get if they purchased the high ticket offer, so that people who get the free ticket they get to meet you at the event, they find out the community is perfect for them because you know your target audience from the high ticket offer. So everyone here is really niched. And they’re very similar. It’s like they found their community. They’ve been looking for their tribe. Everyone likes them. They’re being introduced to speakers, guests that they have heard of that they know that they’re learning some amazing material. They’re like, Oh, wow, yeah, that’s a problem that I have. That’s an issue that I had in my business recently. Oh, I can see that being a problem for us in the future. Oh, that’s an interesting solution. I like how we solve that and that’s a good result. I want to be able to do that for myself, but it looks like too much work, and then boom, you’ve got the high ticket offer on the back end that you can sell to them.
Liam Austin [24:50]
So it’s about providing a really great experience during the event that gives people community, builds your credibility and authority. Gives them maybe some quick wins. So they can see the type of impact that working with you or problem solving with you can do for their business for their life. And they want more, how do they get more? It’s that high ticket offer on the back end. So that’s pretty much the process of what we like to think of like, how do we get started, start with the end in mind, start with making sure that you’ve got a $10,000, high ticket offer or more. And yeah, one of the clients we work with us, some of them have an existing high ticket offer, but we work with them to potentially adjust that to make it even more high margin and make it more appealing for just help it convert even better, based on our experience and the partners that we work with to design your high ticket offer. And only then do we then start working on the funnel, which is your event.
Christine Schlonski [26:00]
Hmm. Okay. So starting with the end in mind is obviously very important. And then, you know, when you said, well pick what you want to achieve with the summit, right? I was thinking while I want the revenue, and I also want the people joining like, I want both? Do I need to make a decision? Or can I go for both?
Liam Austin [26:22]
There should always be one and go. So one particular thing. So if it’s like, I want to make revenue, but I also want the people, there’s going to be some decisions where one is going to be more positively affected than the other. So for instance, it’s like, well, do I in this email do I sell? Or do I ask for a referral? Well, what’s my number one goal? Like my number one goal is to sell. So potentially, in this email, I should be putting the offer and selling or at least putting a taste in for the free strategy session or a webinar or taking them through that passage versus say, growing my email list asking for a referral. I mean, there might be a balance of this, because yes, you want both. But you should always have a number one goal and prioritize that in your decision making. It’ll just be knowing this just basically allows you to make decisions faster saying well I’m not well, I’m not sure what to put here. Okay. Oh, that’s right, I should look at my number one goal. What is that? Okay, that gives me more clarity on making this decision on what I should be doing.
Christine Schlonski [27:30]
Yeah, awesome. Thank you. So so much time just flies, but I feel you’ve dropped so many golden nuggets. So it’s really possible for people to check that out, especially with the help of your Virtual Summit Checklists were skipped like a framework for people where they can actually know what to do when so they can create their own summit. And I just want to invite you to check out Liam’s programs which have worked as amazing. So you definitely want to connect with him, I will put all the links in the show notes, so you can’t miss him. And really, really figure that out. If your lifestyle like you are looking for freedom, this is aligned, then Liam is definitely the guy to go to. And, you know, has brilliant work to offer. But there’s a checklist, it’s a good start. And obviously, you will get into Liam’s system, and you will get to know him much better. So you can take your time, or you can accelerate depending on what you want to do. Thank you so, so much for having been here for sharing so much wisdom. I really appreciate it. And yeah, thank you.
Liam Austin [28:37]
Yeah, cheers, Christine, I think you’ve been a really good host with this. You asked some questions that enabled me to share things I’ve never shared before. So a lot of this is unique and just for your audience. So yeah, guys, hope you enjoyed this session. But yeah, thanks for bringing me on.
Christine Schlonski [28:55]
Thank you so much. Well, I hope you are inspired to create your own summit. Or if you have a summit, I hope you could take some of these insights to make your summit even more successful to reach even more people. And to have the impact you are truly looking for. Hop on over to christineschlonski.com find the podcast tab. With this episode, there you have the show notes, the transcripts, all the links that connect to Liam are just one click away. And also in the resource section. You have his free gift, the Virtual Summit Kickstarter Checklist. And I’m also going to put you in the Heart Centered Lead Generation Summit Experience where you can experience his or more of his brilliance in that summit where he shared it’s for the experts on lead generation this will blow you away. And it is a real curriculum divided up into the paid options, the organic options, and also the partner options. Liam is sharing amazing advice, how to partner up with your guests, how to create the summit, and the impact. So hop on over to christineschlonski.com have fun on the page. And once you over there, don’t forget to sign up for The Empowerment Notes if you have not already, this is empowerment right into your inbox, where I share some tools, advice strategies, and I hope to give you inspiration and motivation with them so that you too can sell from your heart with your heart because we know that Heart Sells! Thank you so much for having been here. Have an amazing day wherever you are in this beautiful world. And I’m saying bye for now.
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