6 Things to Keep in Mind Before You Co-Host a Virtual Summit

Here’s what to consider before you co-host a virtual summit including the good parts, things to keep in mind, and how to split tasks with your partner.

Thinking about co-hosting a virtual summit? My most recent event was co-hosted, so I'm giving you a behind-the-scenes look at what to consider before you decide if it's the right move for you.

We'll cover the great parts about co-hosting, 6 things to keep in mind before you make a decision, and how to split tasks if you decide to go for it with a partner.

Co-hosting a virtual summit

I was asked to co-host a virtual summit by Jenn, who is incredible. She runs the Virtual Summit Search, which is a great directory for people looking to speak at summits. She also highlights summits. If you submit your summit to her, she will share it, and that is awesome.  If you're curious about how that event went, you can check out the behind-the-scenes of this summit.

I want to start by talking about some great things about co-hosting because even though it's not something I want to do again, not because of a bad experience just because of how I work, I still want to tell you the highlights of it.

  • It’s like outsourcing without paying someone. You’re not having to do every task. Someone else can be taking care of the things you’re not great at, and you’re not having to pay them.
  • You can leverage the connections you both have. You’ve probably heard how nuts I go over connections and how beneficial that is with pitching speakers. When you have a cohost, it’s like double the connections. You can both reach out to and leverage people you have those relationships with.
  • You can combine the best ideas from both of you. In the planning process, you have someone to bounce ideas off of.

6 things to keep in mind

I guess I'm looking at these like warnings, but I really want you to know about them. I don't know that all of these were bad things that happened but instead things that came up and I thought about.

  1. What happens if they don’t want to do something the way that you do? It’s very likely. This might not sound too bad, but I can see this getting exhausting to constantly have to change the way you like to do things, in order to be agreeable with your co-host. I would say about 50% of the time, you will have to take their side to make it fair. This could be as simple as:
    • The tech you use
    • The way you write copy
    • The way you use the Facebook group
  2. What happens if your co-host drops the ball on a task? That means overtime for you and your team to catch up on something that they were supposed to do, which can be stressful. Then you fall behind on your own tasks, and it just spirals from there. Think about how you will respond: will you pick up the slack? Will you let it go?
  3. Your priorities with the event might not be the same as your co-host. Maybe you prioritize things differently. Maybe you are working on something you feel is important, and they are working hard on something you think is not important. If your priorities are way off, that’s going to cause you to clash. Maybe they want to push speakers to promote and take them out if they don’t, but you want to encourage and support the relationships you’ve built.
  4. You share half that stage with someone else. I will gladly throw myself under the bus, this was hard for me! If you have an established brand, it may be hard to share that stage with someone else. For example, I’m used to doing my podcast by myself, my Facebook Live by myself, and Instagram by myself, doing things and communicating the way I want to, and now you’re having to share all of that with someone else. For me, that was really hard. Jenn is amazing and never complained, though.
  5. Splitting profits can be hard. It makes sense and sounds good but taking 50% of that profit and giving it to someone else can hurt a little bit. It can be a bit of a bummer.
  6. You need to have an agreement. You need to have a contract. What happens if someone backs out? Is it over? Does the other person get to keep it? If the other person doesn’t want to partner anymore but wants to keep doing the summit themselves, what does that look like? What if someone doesn’t complete the tasks they were supposed to do or falls behind? How do things get caught up on? How is that person getting compensated for doing extra work? How are you splitting up tasks? Put all that in your agreement. How you split expenses and profits needs to be in there too and is someone reimbursed for expenses?

Since it was my decision to leave the partnership, Jenn just gets to keep that brand. She's going to control that moving forward. As much as that sucks and does hurt for me, I'm glad it wasn't something that even ended up having to be a discussion. It did not need to be discussed because that was decided in our agreement before we even started planning.

It's really hard to enforce some of these terms. While a contract is important, it won’t necessarily make difficult situations easier. If you do need a collaboration agreement, I have a link to one from Contract Casey

Splitting up tasks

Jenn and I had a really great system for this. I feel like there are 3 different areas to look at.

Before the summit

I think the best way to do it is to split things up by category. One of you takes website and tech setup, one of you takes care of speaker management. You can do the same with engagement, making promotion resources, setting up the all-access pass, launching after the summit, and getting everything ready for going evergreen after the summit. 

Some things are good for both of you to do or have your hands in. For example, speaker pitches. I do think you should each pitch people you have a better connection with.

I think both of you should be in there testing to make sure everything works before you go live. Both people should be reading over the registration page emails and copy and looking over the website. Be ready with what to expect the week of your virtual summit

You'll both want to be showing up in the Facebook group, before and during the event, to make sure both of you are getting your names and faces out there, things like that.

During the Summit

During the summit, there are a few things you want to pay attention to:

  • Inbox for the summit
  • Facebook group
  • Daily tech check-ins
  • Presentations going live
  • Everything working like it should

Switch off on the daily tech checkups. Jenn and I did this, and it worked really well. One of you checks things on Monday, the next one checks on Tuesday. Switch off throughout the day, checking the inbox and Facebook group. What Jenn and I did was every hour on the hour, she would go in and check the inbox and Facebook group. On the half-hour, I would go in and check. 

We did that the first day. Then I was in there having to do it all, but she did it all the last few days while I got ready for launch on Friday. Just make sure it’s really clear and hold each other, and yourselves, accountable to what you agreed on. 

You could also outsource all this, too.

After the summit

There are a few things that we ran into that we split up in different ways. First was: Are we going evergreen with the summit? Having an evergreen offer of the replays is what we did.

I would say the best way to split this up is whoever is taking the lead on any post-summit launch stuff, will probably let the other person handle the evergreen setup and wrapping up with the speakers.

Afterward, you're going to decide what's next. Do a recap of how things went. Talk about if you're going to do it again, all that good stuff.

If you are going to do it again, what you'd like to change for next time, both as far as the summit itself goes, and as far as your partnership goes.

Action steps

Overall co-hosting is not a decision I want you to make lightly. I didn't have a bad experience co-hosting. Jenn was amazing! I'm so glad that she was the person I experimented with on co-hosting. It's just not for me. 

It will relieve a lot of the pressure to have someone else to rely on, but there are challenges that are going to come up once you begin, no matter who it is, even if you have an incredible co-host like I did.

I want you to think about the six things we talked about and make your decision from there.

In the next episode, we'll be chatting about what makes speakers actually say Yes! to speaking in your summit.

Now go out and take action to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit.

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Here’s what to consider before you co-host a virtual summit including the good parts, things to keep in mind, and how to split tasks with your partner.Here’s what to consider before you co-host a virtual summit including the good parts, things to keep in mind, and how to split tasks with your partner.
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