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On the Fence about National Conference

Intrepid_Chef

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OK ... I really am on the fence about whether I want to go to conference this year.

Don't want to be "Di Downer" but here are a few of my "cons" on the conference front. I've seen all the pro's so hear me out on this one:

* I can download all the workshops from Consultant's Corner.
* I can interact with fellow consultants right here.
* The cost ... last time I went a clustermate arranged for our hotel, which was beyond a blessing. A "stimulus" paid for my plane ticket and registration. I STILL ended up in the hole over this big time and have not recovered. The whole expense of being in Chicago and all conference entailed was more than I anticipated.
* No surprise boxes. :cry: (Heard there was no Merrill either, which has me bummed. There was no Merrill at Spring Launch either.)
* Workshops feel a little too "been there, done that." Ditto for the whole feel of Spring Launch.

I know there are chances to win prizes and freebies and last time, I was blessed so much that I really have no room to complain if I never win again. But shopping spree aside, I could have taken the $700 or more it cost me to go to Chicago and purchased a whole package for the upcoming fall line and had money left over.

I LOVE Chicago and LOVE the whole conference experience, but am really, really on the fence on this. Please help me get off ... it's starting to hurt. :yuck:
 

esavvymom

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Not sure what to tell you - it sounds to me like you know the answer, just don't want to say it out loud. If the financial aspect is too much, and you don't think your business income will repay it or that you'll earn it before going, then I can see your dilemma. I'd probably not go either, and just get the information later. The only info/training you'll miss for sure would be from General Session (although that's more announcements and such really....a few motivational moments, etc, unless they change format this year) -and of course the Keynote speakers, who are during last general session, but they don't put the audio tracks on the Training Center from the KeyNotes.


BTW - Merrill WILL be there. The agenda shows they'll be open on Monday. Don't know about the rest of the week, but we know they are there at least Monday! (be too much money lost for them I'm sure if they are NOT there).
 

pampered1224

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We do not know for sure either if there will or will not be surprise boxes. Who knows, there may be things there that have not been put on the agenda. For example, we know there will be a product showcase but it is NOT on the agenda. And yes, right in the agenda for Monday is Merrill. I do believe Bobbi is right though, you already made the decision. You have to FEEL LIKE IT WILL BE WORTH THE COST or it NEVER will be even if you decide to go. If you go, feeling guilty about spending the money, it won't be fun for you.
 

chefsteph07

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Jul 18, 2007
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Di, how did you end up paying over $700 if your conference and plane were paid and you ended up w/ a deal for your room? I've never spent over $500 and that's INCLUDING all the Merrills and surprise boxes? Guess I"m just confused.

I agree, sounds like you know the answer. I think it also depends on where you want to be in your business. Yes, it's fun and all, and canoodling w/ the consultants and hearing about new products first, but if you feel like "been there done that" for all the workshops and everthing, then you really won't get anything out of it for yourself.
 

BethCooks4U

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It sounds to me like you've already made up your mind.

Let's see, can download workshops, interact here, save money, no surprise boxes, rehashed info at workshops... All true I guess... Workshops are by design rehashing of info but they update, enhance what you have heard before and add new concepts - and remember that many people have not heard those things at all before. Yes we interact here but it is not even comparable to networking in person. Absolutely you will save money if you don't go. [this is ONLY an observation based on your posts]: You said in another thread that you do pretty much the minimum since the new career plan started so maybe you are not the consultant that conference is there for anyway - it will be a great investment paid back many times if the consultant goes home afterward and uses the excitement and information to build her/his business. No surprise boxes. Really?? That was just a fun diversion for those who wanted to play. They have different, new, fresh things planned for this year. The surprise boxes were fun while they lasted but it's time to change things up. Merrill. Really?? So many consultants here complain about Merrill that I am surprised anyone cares and they will be there at least on Monday.

As far as the cost last time: your post makes it sound like someone else took care of the hotel and you earned registration and had free airfare. If I am reading that right what cost you so much and why aren't you recovered from it? :confused:

Conference costs: we all had the opportunity to earn registration free (subtracting that $200 or part of it for them) and even if one has to pay the full amount it is a DEAL compared to any other company's conference. Then there's the hotel ($160ish for 3 nights in a downtown hotel in a major city is a steal); transportation (of course that is dependent on where you live and there are options - fly, drive, megabus so it can be under $50 or of course much more); food (5 meals are provided in the registration so the amount we need to spend for dinner is no more than if we were eating at home in most cases (the person's part of the grocery cost for the week) - and there are inexpensive choices). Any other costs are totally up to the individual and are totally optional.


The whole experience of it all is what makes it worth going and it is a proven fact that people who attend conference have a bump in their business that way more than pays for the expenses incurred. I have gotten a ton from conference every time I've gone, even in the year that my mother died while I was there. (I later went back over the fog of conference that year and found plenty of things to use in my business.) Point: even in the worse of years you can get your $$ back out of it if you make the effort.

Some people want to go but can't for many different reasons. Others don't feel the need. It is a fun event and the highlight of the year for many. If I felt my cons outweighed my pros I wouldn't go either.
 
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jwpamp

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Jan 13, 2006
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I agree with Beth's post...

Nothing can compare with actually being at National Conference. It helps me move my business forward every year (and I haven't missed one in the 4 years I have been with PC).

I went the first year as a Consultant and the next year I was a Director. I am now close to being an Advanced Director....it's the in person, up close and personal touches that make it so worth while.

It's an incredible INVESTMENT in my business.

If you don't want to go, Di, don't. But for the sake of others, don't put negative ideas into those who are excited to be there and want to move their businesses forward.
 

Intrepid_Chef

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I guess I don't mean to sound as negative as I did ... I left out the pro's just b/c they've been posted many times over and BELIEVE ME I agree with every one! And I DO remember at conference in 08 I told many people it would have been worth it had I not won the spree!

The estimate was just a guess ...(somebody said conference usually costs $700.) I really do not know to this day how much I spent ... all I know is that at the time, my finances were in a downward spiral and the whole being in Chicago was more than I bargained for. I paid for the registration and plane ticket in advance but was pretty much broke by the time it came to paying for everything else ... cabs, meals, transportation, logo wear and oh yeah, the cost of having my cel phone OVERNIGHTED to me after Roomie cheerfully drove home with it in the car!

If I DO go this year, I will take the MegaBus and then maybe a regular bus to whatever hotel room I get, rather than wasting money on cabs and the airport shuttle ... and look for other ways to save money as well. In general, plan the whole thing a whole lot better!

Yes, at this point I do the minimum b/c that's all I seem to have time for once I'm done with work and all that. But I HAVE been known to get VERY excited and re-launch my business when some good motivation comes my way! Looking at the schedule this week, I may FINALLY have some time to get some calls made, for instance.

I am NOT trying to put negative ideas into others. I am asking ... maybe BEGGING for those who are so excited to tell me WHY and help me find the motivation to go.
 

pampered1224

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Well I can only say one thing here. The main reason I go. It is something I do for ME!!!! I do come out of it, usually so motivated that I average $4000 to $3000 a month in sales for some months after ward. It does my mind good to get the CRAP and COBWEBS out of my head. I get stuck about half between NCs and I need that boost. It makes me realize why I started this business in the first place and gets me all excited about it all over again! It makes me think clearer and do better. My recruiter and up line said it is like some one stuck a rocket up my rear end and I simply took off with it! I did it last year just before we filed for bankruptcy. Conference club paid my way, I scrimped for the hotel - $200, Mega bussed down and back for $20 and literally had $100 in my pocket when I arrived in Chicago. That was all. I was in a horrible frame of mind due to the financial things happen in my life but I still got something out of it. I spent all of $300 down there including my room and cabs, food, some of the new minis and that was it. I did it. I had fun with it and well, it was not the same as past years but it kicked in right after I got laid off from my full time job and I was glad I had it to fall back on. For me it will never be an option to miss unless something really horrible happens to me. Oh and believe me, I knew you were not being a Debbie Downer. But I could see the financial burden looming over your head. It is hard to make it work and I know all about the guilt of spending that money. Is it really worth it? (I hate it when that takes over my thoughts!) Especially since even if it is not an immediate return on my investment, it will all become worth it eventually. Only you can decide this. There can be no guilt in doing something that makes you happy.
 

leftymac

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Your finances are your business and your business alone. If you don't think it'll work for you financially, then don't go. But most importantly, whatever decision you make, don't feel guilty about it! No one will look down on you for not going. I'd applaud you for making a responsible financial decision, if that what it boils down to.
 

esavvymom

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One thought Di....you've got time before deciding to register...OR you can register and you have until mid-June to cancel and get a refund. It's only mid-April. A good 6 weeks between now and the last chance to register for the $200 rate. If you wanted to go and it was mainly the finances, why not challenge yourself to add 2 shows to your calendar in the next 6 weeks? I know you don't normally do alot- just enough to stay Active, so if it's doable with your work schedule, it could be enough to get the money for the registration, yes?

The megabus- definitely, if that's an option for your area! Hotel rooms- with roommates- doesn't that typically bring the cost to around $50 a night? x3 nights....after that, you're evening meals are what you'd need.

But since you have time, see what happens in the next few weeks. If it doesn't work out financially, you know you have Plan B (the audios later, etc).

Good luck! (and I didn't see your post as negative in anyway either!! We just sometimes need to "think out loud"...and posting here to get feedback and help organize thoughts is what we need to do now and then!)
 

pampered1224

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Well said Keith. You can not do something you do not feel comfortable with. Di, I know it is a hard decision as it would be so much easier if you had a boat load of money and could just not think about it and go, but with the way things are these days, we all are weighing it a lot! If you can not do it, you can not do it. Your are not alone and Keith is right, no one will look down on you if you do not go. Go with your gut. You know, you can wait quite a while before deciding. See what happens in the next month and a half. Just so you know, I would not be going at all had I not done conference club. There would have been no way I could afford that $200, then the room and other things. I also have a good buddy paying for the deposit on the room because he knows I am hurting and it will take me from now till then to scrape up the money I will need. So here is hoping you can EASILY do what you need to do for you!
 

pampchefsarah

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I don't think Di was being negative. She was being realistic (negative is "Going to Conference is stupid and a waste of time," while realistic is "I'm not sure I can afford it, and not sure the workshops will benefit me.") Also, Di's list is of HER cons, not intended to be applicable to everyone or anyone else.

That said, Di, I won't explain why I'm going, even though I can't really afford it, but I will say I think you're mistaken about the workshops. First, the recording will be of ONE version of a particular workshop, but there will be at least two (or, as someone posted in another thread, perhaps several presented at the same time to accommodate everyone). If you go to one, and take good notes, and a different one is recorded, you might pick-up things from the different perspective. Also, when you're there in person, you can ask questions to clarify any points you find confusing. Then there's the fact there is a whole different energy when you seeing the presentations in person (I loved Tammy Stanley's workshop last year, but hearing the same thing on her CD's doesn't do it for me).

Yes, you can interact with us here, and I love the friends I've made on CS and then become closer with on FB. Which is why I'm so excited at the prospect of seeing as many of you live and in person! Oh, whoops, that was about me. You get to see us live and in person, and doesn't that just fill you with excitement??
 

chefsteph07

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Jul 18, 2007
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Your finances are your business and your business alone. If you don't think it'll work for you financially, then don't go. But most importantly, whatever decision you make, don't feel guilty about it! No one will look down on you for not going. I'd applaud you for making a responsible financial decision, if that what it boils down to.

I totally agree with this, it is your decision and your yours alone, and DO NOT feel guilty no matter what you decide!

To be honest, I was kind of there with you a few months ago...I earned Disney, which is only a few short weeks before conference and I had mentioned that maybe this year due to finances, I wouldn't attend conference. But, then I changed my mind because of everything I do get out of it. I usually pay for things in little increments, and I think that's what makes it easier for me. The only thing I have to pay by the time conference actually arrives is spending money! Last week I registered (all paid by conference club, plus I got $100- REFUND!) and I bought my plane ticket (180.00-OUCH) and I put a one night down payment to my director for the hotel when she registered. I plan on paying for the rest of the hotel in small doses as we get paid and hopefully again the only thing I will need is spending money. Depending on what hotel you stay at, you can get a shuttle where you need to go if you do go downtown, alot of meals are covered, etc.

And again, it IS an investment in your business. If you plan on just doing the minimum, maybe it's not for you. I agree w/ John though, whenever I come back, I always have a KICK BUTT fall. And honestly, I might be out of PC altogether a long time ago if not for NC.

But, in the end, it is YOUR choice, and no one will think any less. You do what is right for you! (but if you don't go, you might say sometime, "what if I HAD?")
 

Intrepid_Chef

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I want to thank all of you for your posts and kind thoughts. And you're right ... I WAS thinking out loud. As you can tell by my post count. I do that quite often.

I think the challenge to increase my show schedule is a good idea ... kind of a fleece before the Lord. I do have some fairs coming up this summer. And the difference between Fall 08 and Fall 09 is so different it's striking, but there were some major differences there too. Not only did I go to coference, but I was working 32 hours a week and very motivated to make up the lost income.

One thing I will say I can't get any other way ... and that is the chance to meet all of YOU in person!
 

baychef

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For my 10 year career, I have not missed a National Conference once..even the year when no one else I new very well was going and I roomed with fellow cluster members I did not know.

All I know is this investment in my business and taking action on what I have learned has gotten me from Consultant to Advanced Director. A pay check that initially was $200 a month to now averaging $2000 a month and rising. A nice supplement to my full time income. (I am not married so what I do in life financially is all on my shoulders. No safety net of a partner's income, health insurance or retirement to fall back on). And the trips I have earned by putting conference ideas into action. Taking my son with me to his first trip to Disney, a Carribbean cruise and a week at Atlantis with him as well. Places I have always wanted to go and to share them with him as well is beyond what I ever had dreamed I could do for him.

I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people. And trust me...meeting your friends on CS in person is much richer than just enjoying them here through posting.

For me, I have never participated in the suprise boxes. If were to guess, I bet they will still be there because it helps PC with left over inventory.

Conference for me is an investment on maintaining motivation and excitement for my business. This is necessary to succeed and grow your business.

The basics of this business are simple: selling, booking and recruiting. That's it!! Yes, I have heard it all before...but I still stink at certain aspects of those three simple words!!! Conference helps me develop the things I stink at. Also, as you share this business you need to help others develop theirs. Conference helps me excite others with ideas they can use to help them earn a higher income and trips so they too can experience this wonderful journey as well.

What I will always keep with me is the "spray" that they came up with the skit with Jean Jonas. Spraying all the negative thoughts and doubts away! What visuals!!

So good luck with your decision on attending conference, Di.
 

pampered1224

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Di I wish you all the best in your business so you can easily make that decision. Even if your business picks up, make sure you are comfortable in your decision. That's all we really wanted to make sure of. Hugs.
 

esavvymom

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I want to thank all of you for your posts and kind thoughts. And you're right ... I WAS thinking out loud. As you can tell by my post count. I do that quite often.

I think the challenge to increase my show schedule is a good idea ... kind of a fleece before the Lord. I do have some fairs coming up this summer. And the difference between Fall 08 and Fall 09 is so different it's striking, but there were some major differences there too. Not only did I go to coference, but I was working 32 hours a week and very motivated to make up the lost income.

One thing I will say I can't get any other way ... and that is the chance to meet all of YOU in person!

This could be a good thing or a BAD thing...depending on who you are talking about ! HAHA (JUST KIDDING!) This year will be very interesting in that regards. I didn't make last years Meet-n-Greet because my son wasn't feeling well when I got back for the evening (my fam goes with me), so I was with him...but looking forward to trying to meet more folks this year. And since we are all in ONE conference group, and have Monday (the tentative time of the MNG) 'open'...should be a great chance to meet more CSers. :D

Let us know how it goes in the next few weeks Di and if we can plan on seeing you there! :)
 

Intrepid_Chef

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Thanks. I will.

Two years ago I was a bit disappointed because many of the people I wanted to meet were not in my wave, and many of those who were skipped the MNG ... so this year will be very interesting in that regard.

I plan to make some calls tonight and tomorrow because my first order of business will be to pull my April out of the hole. Then it's on to connect with people who said they "might" have a show in May ... and people who might want to book in June to get some outdoor products.

It's a 3 paycheck month in April so I'm going to see if I can set some money aside from that as well ... even my new checking account at Key is a way to put more money towards Chicago. I REALLY want to go but there is so much up in the air. Thanks for helping me with the stinking thinking.
 

Cr8vKitchen

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Stupid question---but this will be the first year I've been to conference (only been a consultant for a little over a year)....but what are 'surprise boxes'???

Thanks!
 

pampered1224

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Surprise boxes are just that! Surprises of past Pampered Chef Products all bundled up in boxes if varying costs. I can not say what those prices are as I usually can not afford them. You purchase them at NC and then people love to trade items and what not. They make great give-aways for your parties or you may want something for your own kitchen. The best part, you can have them shipped home so you do not have to lug them around NC or home on a plane, train or bus or automobile!
 

esavvymom

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They ranged from $10 or $15 I think being the cheapest (?) to $50 boxes. Obviously the more expensive the boxes, the more expensive type items you'd find. No one's sure if they'll even have them this year. I'll try to steer clear of that area if they do....don't need to spend the money. :D But I did give several Christmas gifts from what I bought last year.
 

Intrepid_Chef

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The cheaper the surprise box, the better. I find that I get a lot of things that can be sold at fairs and festivals throughout the summer and fall ... red scrapers, old Season's best's, vintage bamboo spoons, etc. Also, vintage Quickstir pitchers and slice and serve, which I still use at home and in shows. Last year I didn't go and asked my clustermate to pick up a $10 and a $15. Instead she sent me a $10 and a $25 .... and I was unhappy. The $25 box was loaded with stuff I didn't need and am STILL trying to unload ... like vintage simple additions and old placemat sets.

I basically try to sell most of it, or give it away in gift baskets. I just gave away a basket of stuff that had a retail value of about $60. Every item came in a surprise box, and some were "freebies" they tossed in.
 

Becca_in_MD

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What would be interesting is for PC to do a survey of people who don't attend NC to see why they didn't go. They do the surveys of attendees. Has anyone ever heard of them surveying people to see why they didn't attend something?
 

Intrepid_Chef

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I think they already know. I think early on, I was told that cost is the number one reason people decide not to go. That's why it's billed so much as an "investment in your business."
 

Becca_in_MD

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Certainly I can see cost being the #1 reason as I'm looking at this year vs. last: another hotel night, more dinners to pay for, blizzards messed up my show schedules so I didn't earn free registration as well as questioning the value of 3 1-hour workshops plus a general session with outside speakers. Are those workshops plus the other intangibles of seeing the products first, the excitement, the time to focus on the biz, etc. worth the cost? Same boat as you, just a different part of the ship.

For me this year, the fact that there are no weekend days is making it really tough. I have to convince my husband to take 3 days off of work so I can go and so far I have not been successful. I know others have to juggle taking time off from their FT jobs. This is what has gotten me thinking that it would be good for HO to find out why people aren't going and get them to think about doing it over a weekend next year. It seems in the past they have not wanted to do any conference activities on a Sunday but if there was at least a Saturday involved it would make it a little easier.

Still plenty of time to decide and for many other parts of my life to fall into place and make a decision clearer.
 

Intrepid_Chef

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In the past, we've always gone for four days. If I recall, we left on a Wednesday, even though conference didn't start until Thursday, and left that Sunday morning first thing. (There was not much involved on Saturday, just the wrap-up session, but we had the tour of Home Office that day.) So it was five days and four nights.

This time I'd probably still look at being there four nights. My director is planning to go Sunday night since she has director stuff all day. If I seriously do this, I'm toying with the idea of coming in on Saturday afternoon, spending Saturday and Sunday night with my cousins who live in the area, and begging them to drop me off back in Chicago that Monday. If the hotels cost about $100 a night with tax, that's $100 each when split four ways. About the same as I paid last time for a plane ticket. I'd be doing MegaBus this year.

I get three weeks of vacation from work. My roomate is leaving for Myrtle Beach two days after the end of conference. So as long as I get home on Friday, there will be somebody to feed the cats.

The general session with the guest speaker should be good ... I'm guessing the weekday thing was the reason behind the end of the home office tours.

Lots of time ... but this is my three paycheck month ... so I hope to assess things at the end of it. Also, my director is pushing us to register early for best selection of workshops and to get a hotel room.

I think I'll call my roomate from last time, a former director who would have been my director if I could have chosen her, and get her thoughts on it. I've always respected her wisdom.
 

wadesgirl

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I'm a firm believer in getting in any and all training I can! You never know when you'll hear that one thing that will kick start your business. For me it was conference two years ago. I took a recruiting interview workshop. I went from recruiting 0 in my first year and a half in business to recruiting 4 in the next 6-8 months. If you find that you can do it, I would suggest going.

I too have to take time off work but for me, this is my me time! I'm looking forward to the time off work and the time to be with other people who do what I do.
 

Cr8vKitchen

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Again, this is the first year I've gone to conference and I'm super excited about it. But, taking 4 days of vacation from my full-time job is really tough. And since I'm not planning on coming back to work on a Friday, I've decided to take the whole week. When I only get 2 weeks of vacation per year, I had to spend that much but I do think the time will be well worth it. Now, I'm SUPER STOKED about surprise boxes...they better have them this year!! :)
 

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