Presenters: Lara Casey, Jeff Holt
Date: March 7th, 2010
Location: The Signature at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, NV
Price: $700 (I had a partial scholarship and did not pay this price)
Included: 6 hours with Lara and Jeff, snacks and water, MTH branded moleskin.
Bonuses: Special area at the Lasers and Airhorns party later that evening (more on this in a bit).
What I Expected: Learn how to bring my business to the next level, one-on-one review with Lara and/or Jeff to see what I should be doing to accomplish this.
Expectation Met? No.
Summary: The first thing that happened was they changed the times from 12PM - 6PM to 10AM - 4PM about a month or so before without any emails or notices going out. I was trying to come in on an early flight Sunday that would have had me landing at 10AM, great for a 12PM class... not so great when they changed the time. Luckily I happened to come across the change on the website and booked accordingly.
On the flight to Vegas Saturday afternoon, my husband asked if I had yet to get any information for the class the following day. I used the in-flight wifi (woo!) to check all of my emails and I still had nothing. I eventually checked my paypal and WPPI spam only email (HIGHLY recommend this for WPPI peeps by the way) and there was an email from earlier in the week stating that info would be sent out on Friday for where to report on Sunday but no follow up email. Keep in mind I used my main email for all correspondence and contacts with MTH - so the fact they used my rarely checked email I never use save for paypal was troubling.
We get to our room (The Signature is awesome!) and wander about Vegas for a bit, with me checking my email off and on - still nothing on ANY accounts. Finally at about midnight I get really frustrated and check to see if anyone’s heard anything on Twitter. They sent the room information via Twitter instead of emailing it.
The next day I got up bright and early (for me, hey I’m a photographer and a night owl, 10AM is my normal wake up time!) and headed up to the room for the workshop. When I got there (right on time) it was a bit chaotic. Lara wasn’t anywhere to be seen and random people were running all over. There were some people sitting in the living room area of the suite looking kind of intimidated so I assumed that’s where I was to go. If I had to guess I would say it took about a half hour for everyone to get their act together, for the random people milling about to leave and for things to start. It may have been longer. There were 4 people (I think?) that didn’t show up and some time was spent trying to find them/figure out what was going on.
At the beginning we had to go around the room and tell who we were, what we did and how we got to this point. Straightaway, there was crying. LOTS of crying. Lara mentioned that there is a lot of crying at MTH. I told my story. That part of the workshop ended with Lara’s story on how she got to where she is, inspiring others and also running Southern Weddings.
Everyone was handed a notebook with “Making Things Happen” stamped on the outside cover. Lara then began having us write random things like our biggest fears, highest dreams, ideal day, etc. and then we’d go around the room and share what we thought. It was basically an inspirational type thing workshop for this portion of the day. Lots of writing, visualizations and "downloading" onto paper what is going on in your head. This is what made up the majority of the workshop time.
I quickly found out that a lot of the people in my class were very religious when we would share things that we had written and religion became a major focus of the workshop. I wondered how an Athiest, Jewish or Muslim person would feel about this part.
While most of the day was spent on the inspirational aspect of things, there was a small portion of the day that was spent on business advice. General tips on being aware of social media and how to use it effectively, some basic time management tips and how to enhance your brand. I wished that this would have been covered in more detail.
One part of this that I did take a bit away from was learning how to break down your to-do list into manageable bits. While there are some things with my job that I’m great at, there are always the things that take more time and I put off because they are such a big task. I realized with this workshop that breaking it down into chunks is better than not doing it at all.
At the end of the day we were rushed out of the room as they all had to get ready for their party that evening, which was a topic that sent many exercises off on a tangent through the entire workshop. I was the only one there who had not purchased tickets for Airhorns & Lasers. They kept referring to it all day but wouldn’t give any specifics - including the location. You know how you feel when people have inside jokes and you’re with the 3 people that get it and you are the only one that doesn’t? It felt like that, especially since I was the only one without tickets for the evening. At the end though, Lara offered to give me a ticket for myself and my husband and got my email and said that she’d email me all of the information I needed to go.
She never did.
To lay it out honestly, I feel I have to include this mortifying tidbit because it influenced my thoughts about the entire experience - and Lara. While I’m sure that she didn’t do it on purpose it still hurt.
When I got back and had discussions with other MTH attendees, they all raved about how wonderful Lara was to them. They mentioned how they had a one-on-one session with both Lara and Jeff about their images/work etc, heard direct advice how to improve, how she keeps in contact and makes check-up calls to them to make sure they’re keeping on track. Unfortunately, none of this happened for me. I haven't received any follow up emails or follow up calls. The only thing I’ve received or heard from MTH since the workshop was a shipment with a Paloma’s Nest square with Making Things Happen on it and a Southern Weddings magazine from Lara.
Recommend? I believe they are doing another tour, although I am not certain. I would not recommend it, based on the experience that I had.
Note: I want to reiterate that this is my views on MY experience and I realize some other attendees had positive experiences with Making Things Happen.
Corey Ann is a wedding & lifestyle photographer from North Canton, OH. She is a mix of everything - fashionista (runs Clothes for Pros, clothing suggestions for photographers), travel guru, deal hound and geek rolled into one. She's had a website online since 1997 and a blog since 1999. When not plotting world domination or her next trip, she can be found reading one of the 100+ books she reads a year. Follow her on Twitter.