How to Know It's Time To Plan A Virtual Summit

summit basics Nov 07, 2019

Wondering whether you're really ready to host your first virtual summit? Here are the 3 things you need as well as 3 things you shouldn’t wait around for.

Stuck wondering whether you're really ready to host your first online summit? Well, now you can stop wondering!

In this episode, we'll cover:

  • what you need before you start planning your first summit,
  • and what not to wait for.

Giving yourself the right amount of time to plan and launch your summit is absolutely vital to creating a successful event rather than one that looks thrown together. It's also going to help you feel like you are ready to host your summit.

What You Need to Plan a Virtual Summit

Let's start by talking about what you need before planning your first summit. And this is not a super long list. A lot of people feel like they're always waiting to be ready to plan your first summit, but really if you're running a business that's already successful, you have what you need to plan your summit.

You can see the amount of time I recommend setting aside for a summit, my top tips, the big-picture tasks, and even a timeline calculator to make sure you are planning everything right the first time, and get the Virtual Summit Prep Timeline.

An Offer That Makes Money

The first thing you need is an offer that makes money. If your business is not making money, it is not time to host a summit yet. There is so much that you learn in the process of creating a successful offer, whether it's a product or service. You're learning so much throughout the process. You learn about your audience, you learn about your positioning, you learn about what your audience needs.

You also already know what goes into a good website, how to market through email and social media, and how to engage your audience.

You learn a whole bunch about tech whether or not you want to and all of that comes together to make hosting your summit so much easier, and it gives you a much higher likelihood of hosting a successful event because if you haven't been able to craft a product or service that actually makes money, you very likely will have the exact same issue with hosting a summit.

If you can't sell a product or service, you're likely going to have the same problem with the summit. Generally, I see people being ready around year three, maybe between years three and five in their business when things are going really well, things have evened out and you're really ready for something that will bring it all to the next level.

An offer that already makes money is something I would really like you to have before you try hosting a summit.

A Budget

The next thing you need is a small budget. You do not need a lot. If you really need a shoestring budget and already have a website and email marketing platform, you can do it for around $300 by swapping paid tools for free ones. Especially if you're on WordPress, you know, you already have the hosting, the domain, everything you need is already there.

Then what you would need to pay for is:

  • a course or membership plugin
  • an affiliate plugin
  • and maybe a separate domain for your summit.

You don't need to buy anything else. There are free tools that you can use for absolutely everything.

Want to know where to save and where to splurge in summit planning? Check out this blog post!

Personality Traits

The last thing I want to bring up is some personal traits that I think you need to host a summit. So apart from the physical or digital pieces, you need to be successful. There are also some personality traits that you need to have if it's going to go well for you and everyone else involved.


The first is drive. You need to have what it takes to carry a long-term project all the way through without getting distracted or giving up. Even if things get a little tough, which they probably will, there will be times where you wonder if all your hard work is going to be worth it.

There will likely be some pieces that don't go according to plan. Your speakers will probably frustrate the heck out of you by not meeting their deadlines. You need to have the drive and motivation that it takes to push through, find new solutions, and create an event that will really benefit everybody involved. So the driver is the first personality trait.


The second is the organization. If you are not an organized person, hosting a summit will probably make your head spin and you'll probably drive your speakers crazy by not being organized yourself. I have had a lot of speakers from my summits email me afterward literally just thanking me for how easy I made it for them because they say they've been a part of other summits that were just a disaster and you don't want to be that disaster.

There are so many things that need to stay organized for a summit. Things like speaker information, and where each person is in the process. Who has sent you their basic information but not their presentation, who hasn't yet gotten back to you on their pitch, who has sent you most of their presentation but was missing a piece that you have to follow up with? You need to be able to keep track of all that easily.

The attendees are another thing. You need to keep organized and be able to manage without a whole lot of trouble. You need to be able to organize things like promotional resources and files. You need to be able to organize information for your team. You need an organized list of everything that needs to be completed before your summit starts.

Those are just a few examples, but the organization needs to be something you are good at and I can give you all of the templates, the resources, processes in the world, which I do. But if you can't keep them organized enough to use them, they literally won't do you any good. That's why I think the organization is so important.

Attention to Detail

You also need attention to detail. I firmly believe that the profit is in the detail when it comes to hosting a virtual summit. You can go through the motions of putting all the big pieces into place, but the small details are what will give your speakers a great experience and get your attendees to really want to buy plus make a real difference in their lives.

For example, when you're reaching out and onboarding speakers, you want to have everything ready ahead of time and have been able to anticipate what questions they'll ask, what resources they'll need from you and how you are going to gather their information. Otherwise, you are going to have a ton of back and forth and a lot of frustrated speakers. Not to mention your own frustration to deal with, so that's just one place where attention to detail really pays off, but it's important throughout the entire process.

Don't Wait for These Things to Host Your Summit

But I also want to cover what not to wait for. While there are things I want you to have, there are also some things that you don't need to have. If you feel like you're ready to host a summit but are waiting for these things, I want you to stop waiting.

Your Email List

And first is your email list. You do not need an email list to host an online summit. A summit will give you an email list so it's silly if you're waiting for that email list first. Listen to episode 15 for details on how to host a summit without one, but right now I'm giving you permission to stop waiting. Go for it if that's what you were waiting for.

Influencer Status

I also don't want you to wait to be an influencer, just like the email list. You do not need to be an influencer to host a summit. A summit will get you many steps closer to being an influencer. I'm not saying it will make you one, I'm saying it will get you closer, but at the very least you'll be someone that audience members and peers look up to and go to when they need something and you will be the go-to person for your audience.

Feeling Completely Ready

And the last thing I do not want you to wait for this feeling like you are completely ready. If you're waiting until you do feel completely ready to host a summit, you're going to be waiting a while. If you have what we talked about earlier in this episode in place, it's time and you can stop waiting. I waited way longer than I wish I would have, which I just talked about in episode 24 so go back and listen to that if you haven't yet, but please don't wait until you feel like you're ready.

If you have the things we talked about earlier in this episode in place, you are ready to plan that summit.

Action Steps

As for your action steps for this episode, we talked about what to do if you're missing any of the must-haves we covered. If you're listening and you have those things, I have an action step for you. Download my Virtual Summit Prep Timeline and Timeline Calculator and map out the timeline for your summit. No more excuses and no more waiting. 

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. In the next episode just to show you how not ready you need to feel. I'll be sharing about how I launched my first summit during the craziest time of my life up to this point. To give you a hint, there was a newborn involved.

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



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