- DON'T PROCRASTINATE - The first time I was approached by Cassie and Tuke about the event, was in July. We were each quite busy for the month of August, so figured we would have the event in September. Because it seemed far off enough, no concrete plans were made. Before we knew it, the proposed date was 2 weeks away and nothing at all had been done. We decided to push the date to October, and still procrastinated on decisions and tasks until a week before the new date. Eventually, we postponed it yet again and the third time, were more serious about identifying what needed to be done to get the event rolling.
- CONFLICT MANAGEMENT - Of course, there were disagreements along the way. One person would want something and the others wouldn't. A couple of times, there was some tension. It just made it clearer to me that different people handle conflict in a personal way - some avoid confrontation, and others don't. Some can discuss a conflict and move on immediately, while others need time to deal with the conflict before moving on. As adults though, I believe that there are times when you have to just agree to disagree and keep it moving.
- DREAM BIG - This was (and still is) something I struggle a bit with. I'm more of the realist and tend to "dream small." I think it has to do with self-esteem issues I had/have. When the prospect of charging money for the event came up, I was alone in thinking it wasn't a great idea. I didn't think that there would be anybody willing to pay anything for a meet and greet. Tuke and Cassie on the other hand, didn't have that view. In fact, when I finally agreed to that point, I went with the lower fee suggested. Tuke stuck to her guns and insisted on the higher one. I was really afraid that nobody would show up, but I was proven wrong. I belittle myself a lot and I'm gradually learning to see what others and God see in me (and my blog).
- DELEGATE!!! I'm sure Tuke and Cassie will back me up on this one. We had a number of tasks that needed to be done for the event - getting a photographer, sending out sponsorship emails, getting the event venue and sorting out the agreement, etc. For some weird reason, we didn't particularly delegate any tasks to any one person. There were a few times that 2 different people were talking to one vendor and getting to different agreements, leading to confusion. For next time, it would make better sense to list out the different tasks and delegate each one to a particular person - it's best to do this using each person's strengths.
- WHO YOU KNOW MATTERS - If there's anything that was very apparent, it was that we were able to get vendors based on who knew who. I hate to say it, but it seemed as though most vendors we had no personal affiliation with, were unwilling to work with us. Of course, it's every businessperson's prerogative to pick and choose who they will work with. But it's even more so in Nigeria, it seems. At the end of the day though, I'm glad and grateful to those who chose to work, partner with and sponsor our event.
- MONEY TALKS - In the same vein, I do realize and understand that some of the companies that rejected us wanted money - obviously, they are in business for a reason. For instance, venues were quoting hundreds of thousands of Naira! Now, if I had that kind of money, no problem. But I barely make any money from blogging and my 9-5 income is not on that level where I can splurge on an event that won't give me any returns. Thankfully, our final venue - Ethnic Heritage Centre - came through and I still have to say that if you haven't visited there yet, you're completely missing out. My friend was mad at me for spilling about one of Lagos' best kept secrets :p
So those are some of the things I learned. I hope you also gained something from it. Have you ever planned a public event in Nigeria? What was your experience like?