How I Hosted My First In-Person Class For Under $100

On September 17, 2016, I pushed myself past my fear and out of my comfort zone to teach my first in-person masterclass.

A few months ago, I sat down in my office with a BIG white poster board and markers and drew out my vision for my business. I wrote out how I wanted my 2nd book to save the lives and brands of creative women everywhere, how I wanted to travel around the country sharing my message and teaching other creatives and how I wanted new opportunities to speak on stage. In that moment I got so excited at the thought of being able to get out and spread my work and message...until I remembered that I was 100% completely afraid of public speaking.

I do amazingly well online via webinars and do pretty ok when i'm speaking on a panel with other people, but the thought of all of the focus being on me made my anxiety flair up instantly. This has been a fear that i've struggled with since I was a small child. I'd cry or runaway whenever I felt like all of the attention was about to be put on me. And if I did get up the courage to say something, I'd stumble through the words. It's also a fear that has held me back from MANY opportunities as an adult.

But I knew that literally nothing that I had written down on that vision board would become possible if I didn't push past that one fear. So I decided to do something to prove to myself that I was actually capable. I reminded myself that fear was only an emotion and decided on that day that I was NOT going to let that fear hold me back. So I not only dug into creating video content on YouTube (I actually kind of love it now!) AND without second thought I started to plan a free in-person class here in Raleigh!


"fear is only an emotion. it can't physically harm you but it can stop you from fully pursuing your purpose."


But there was another tiny setback. Since this class would be free to those who attended, I had to be mindful with how much I was spending. I didnt want to put a TON of money into a class that I wasn't going to see a return from so I made a goal to try my best to keep it under $150. 

Let's look at how I did it...

but first...what did i decide to teach & why for free?

I had been playing around with a few ideas of how I could teach creatives simply how to tell their unique story and also create better content. Creating great content is actually something that has helped me to brand myself in my industry and whenever I ask my audience what they were struggling with, they ALWAYS told me CONTENT. I also knew that telling your story and simply being personable was also a great way to connect with your audience and gain their trust. Thus, the Art of Storytelling class was born!

Most would probably think I'm crazy but I knew from the start I wanted to host this class for free the first time around. Why?

  • This was my first time teaching this class so I wanted to gain feedback so that I could make any changes before launching it as a paid product.
  • This was also my first time doing anything out in my local community and I didn't expect for those who attended to pay for a class with someone they didn't even know.
  • I really just wanted to prove to myself that I could push past my fears so the money wasn't a main priority.

how long did you prepare?

The day I decided to teach the class I hit the ground looking for an inexpensive venue to host it. So after finding a space I would say I OFFICIALLY gave my self about 4weeks to prepare.

what did you have to purchase & how much did you spend?

Like I mentioned before, I went into this wanting to do it as cost effective as possible. My biggest worry was that I wasn't going to be able to find a venue that was reasonably priced and that would allow me to use their space. I also knew that I needed to purchase workbooks for attendees to use as well. So lets break it down!

VENUE - $0

I have been a fan of HQ Raleigh since I attended a seminar there a few years back. The space is beautiful and is typically buzzing with other local Raleigh entrepreneurs. The only thing, those who use their spaces regularly have memberships and I wasn't sure if I could rent a space just for a few hours or how much it would cost me.

As I was getting ready to submit my inquiry for a space, I noticed that they offer space sometimes for non-profit organizations as long as they are related back to business. My business isn't a non-profit but my class would be free so I took a chance and asked if they could donate the space. A few days later I received an email stating that they could provide me the space at no charge!

QUICK TIP: If you're struggling to find a local venue to host your event, put together a proposal asking if they would like to become a sponsor in exchange for donating the space or providing it at a discounted rate. Of course, make sure you are providing them with some great incentives as well!

I am so SO thankful for the HQ Raleigh crew for helping me with this event! I seriously couldn't imagine hosting it anywhere else!

WORKBOOKS - $81.59

If you're familiar with my brand then you know I love creating a good workbook for EVERYTHING! And I knew from the start that I needed to create something for my attendees to use. Originally my plan was to create the workbooks through Blurb but as time began to run out, I didnt want to risk the books not getting here in time.

Thankfully Office Depot had their 1in. 3-ring binders on sale for $2 (I purchased 12 in total - $25.62). And I also had the actual pages printed there as well (12 copies printed with only the cover pages in color - $55.97)

QUICK TIP: Now that I think about it, I probably could have saved a lot more money if I would have just used my home printer to print the workbook pages.

SUPPLIES - $2

The only other thing I needed to purchase were pens for attendees to use. Of course, I just picked up a pack from Target.

ticket platform - $0

Another hurdle I had to get over was figuring out what system I was going to use to get people to sign up. I was going to try to use Squarespace but right before I launched the site I decided to use EventBrite. Since I was selling free tickets, they didn't charge me any fees. And the sign up seemed pretty easy for people to use.

SQUARESPACE - $16/1st month payment

I sort of wanted this class to be a brand of its own in a sense since I plan to continuously launch it online, so I created a separate Squarespace site for the sales page.

TOTAL SPENT $99.59

QUICK TIP: Stick with the basics when planning an event. Im definitely NOT pro but sticking with getting only what I needed helped me a lot!

how did i promote it?

Another part of me pushing past my fear was to also get serious about creating video content. So through out the month, I did daily vlogs that took my audience behind the scenes of me putting together this class. I also created my own social media graphics and promoted it like crazy on Instagram & Twitter and mentioned the class in my weekly newsletter. Thankfully (no seriously, thank you Lord!) the class sold out within a few hours so I really only had one full day of social media promo!

overall, how did it go?

It was AMAZING and im so so glad that I didnt punk out and talk myself out of doing it. The presentation I created was so good and about 8 out of the 12 ladies that signed up showed up to the live class! They also gave me a lot of great feedback that made me feel incredible and also gave me some ideas of how I can tweak the content for the the next class.

Here's what a few attendees said about it...

it was awesome! very informational and encouraging for a beginning creative entrepreneur. i would wholeheartedly recommend this class to a friend
— KRYSTAL OF DESIGN.KRYSTALANDCO.COM
Never in a million years did I expect for this workshop to impact my life the way that it did within a couple hours.
— TESSA OF BELLACREATIVE.CO
loved it! i would definitely recommend to friends! i’m so glad i attended this class before launching my first product. i feel confident enough to offer it to my audience & share my story with them
— ARIANA OF ARIANANICOLEDESIGNS.COM

will you be hosting this class in-person again?

As of right now, I plan to only keep launching it online BUT I am open to whatever doors God wants to open for me!

what would you do differently next time?

If i host it in person again, i will definitely make the class a little bit longer so that I dont feel the need to rush through each exercise.

If you want to see what all happened behind the scenes and a little peak into the class, check out the vlogs over on my YouTube Channel!

And If you were not able to make it to the in-person class, I will be teaching it LIVE online, Saturday, October 1st from 11am to 1pm. During the class we will...

  • Develop your unique story that will help you to stand out in your industry
  • What really goes into creating great content and how to blend in who you are into everything that you create
  • Go through an exercise that will help you to consistently come up with new ideas for both free and paid products!

To register, click the button below or head over to ArtofStorytelling.co! Registration is open until Friday, September 30 at 10pm EST.