Prepare yourself for a story…
In December of 2011, Graham Talley (Co-Founder of Float On) and I (Derek Wyatt) were chatting in a coffee shop about the lack of small business resources available for people who just had an idea and didn’t know what to do next… mainly our friends.
Having backgrounds in business & marketing we were asked on a regular basis, questions about business… how to start a business… how to grow a business… what we thought of certain ideas… etc.
That day we decided to start C.A.K.E. (Consulting And Knowledge Exchange).
Our goal starting out was to hold weekly meetings and teach anyone who showed up one area of business. We started on the first Wednesday of 2012 and were able to hold events on 45 of the next 52 weeks. To prevent having to repeat ourselves, we recorded these talks and published them online.
Then when friends asked…
We directed them to CAKEpdx.com
That was exhausting…
So in 2013 we decided to help one business for one month for free. At the end of that month, we presented the problem of that particular business and our proposed solution in the form of a case study (we called them CAKE Studies).
A lesson out of 2013 was that every small business owners faced problems. We often noticed those problems weren’t something technical or a skill that was lacking, it was the business owner themselves. A lot of the time our solutions would go unimplemented because, “That won’t work for my business.” “I don’t align with that style of marketing.” “I have (fill in the excuse) preventing me from getting my assignments done.”
There was more resistance than experimentation.
The only way you can for sure know something won’t work for your business is to try.
Meanwhile, at this time I discovered the value of being a part of a mastermind group.
I wanted to bring this to CAKE and Entretherapy was born.
Entretherapy, a place for business owners to GET HELP!
(we aren’t therapists, so keep your nutty childhood stories at home)
At least that’s what we thought.
Initially the feedback was amazing!
People who RSVP to every event they encounter, only to show up to one or none, are what I call RSVP squatters. It’s one of the main reasons we don’t use meetup.com. Take a look at the average profile on meetup. If someone shows interest in the category of business, chances are they are “members” of dozens of business groups. Everyone knows you can’t be in two places at once, but regularly people RSVP for two events happening at the same time.
One of the events is guaranteed to get stood up.
RSVP squatters are ruining the Portland meetup scene.
There, I said it!
Since tickets were selling out, people would RSVP for Entretherapy and then never show up. On paper we were expecting a packed house and only a handful of awesome people showed up.
I love these people (you know who you are).
If you’ve been to more than two Entretherapy sessions, I’m talking to you!
They understood the value of attending Entretherapy instead of shaking hands with the same business card exchangers they see at every event around town.
OH… Did I ever mention that for the past 3 years WE SERVED ACTUAL CAKE AND WE’RE FREE?!? (ok, donation based, but nothing was required)
The lesson learned… people value something exactly how much they put into it.
I realized this at an event a couple of weeks ago where the ticket was $15. The format was similar to what we did, but guess what…
People showed up! Not just a few people… over 120 people!
I talked to the organizer, very few people no showed. There were no refunds.
You might see where I’m going with this… but wait.
We don’t want to force payment for CAKE, but we’re considering it.
BUT FIRST, we want to make sure we’re serving you properly.
None of us want to charge for an event where the people aren’t receiving the value they put in. So this is your chance… YOU GET TO BAKE THE CAKE!
Tell us (Graham, Ashkahn, and (me) Derek) what you want to see come out of the oven.
Ok, enough puns…
Reply to this email or leave a comment below and let us know how to make C.A.K.E. tastier. (ok, THAT was the last pun)
- How much should we charge (if at all)?
- If we remain free, how do we prevent RSVP squatters?
- Should we keep Entretherapy?
- Should we go back to one specific topic, once a month?
- We aren’t doing weekly (so don’t suggest it).
- Would you like guest speakers?
Going back to our original goal, we want to help our friends, the people of Portland, be more successful in their businesses AND to start a business if they don’t have one already.
THANK YOU FOR READING THIS FAR…
That fact alone means you care, and we appreciate it.
One last note: Word is that the East Bank Saloon (our venue for 2.5 years) is closing and next week is our LAST CAKE event there. So, we need your help in finding a new venue.
The criteria: a free venue (remember, we’re donation based), available booze & food (our attendees pay their own tabs), …that’s it. I really wanted a third criteria piece, but this email is long enough.
SO… CAN YOU HELP US OUT?
Thanks again for your time.
It means the world to us!
Graham, Ashkahn, and Derek