The seminar business is not one to enter on a whim -- at least, not if you want to minimize your risk. Between room rentals, equipment, and food and beverage minimums, the production costs can be tremendous. If you don't adequately fill the room, you can lose a lot of money very quickly.

The marketing process also can be a challenge. Getting someone to say "yes" to spending time with you -- learning something much less -- is far more difficult than getting them to plop down their credit card in exchange for a low-cost book or a fun gadget.

Although you certainly can draw a line in the sand for yourself by booking a hotel room for your first live event, think carefully before doing so. I've fielded many calls from new promoters who say, "Help! My seminar is in 4 weeks and I don't have any registrations -- or any idea about what to do!"

Here are the questions I ask them -- questions I offer to you to consider before launching your first event:

1. How big is your mailing list?

If you don't have a mailing list or have only a few hundred names on your list, think about postponing your event and devoting your attention to list development. The best response rates will come from people who already know, like and trust you. This is especially true when you want someone to pay you for attending your seminar.

You don't need a mailing list of tens of thousands of names to successfully fill an event. The better the relationship you have, the more easily you'll be able to persuade subscribers to attend your event.

Your definition of success also is at play. A list of 1,000 names won't put 400 butts in seats. But it could work if you're looking for 15 people.

2. Are you an established expert?

One of the top questions in prospects' minds is whether you are qualified to teach them about the subject matter. If you can't clearly explain why you are an expert -- if not the leading expert -- in your subject matter, you'll have a hard time convincing prospects to spend their time and money with you.

The solution to this problem varies. You may find that you simply need to rewrite your bio to emphasize the experience you have with the subject matter. You may want to strengthen your position by finding another subject matter expert to co-teach with you. Or you may need to scrap the idea of your seminar ... or at least lower your expectations of how well your seminars will perform as you are first starting out in a new field.

3. How much are you willing to risk?

If you have all of your eggs in the seminar basket -- meaning that poor results of a single seminar would sink your business -- strongly consider formulating a new plan.

The fact is that when you're first starting out, you really don't know how your event will be received. Part of marketing is testing and fine-tuning to figure out which offer works with which audience. You will not hit it perfectly the first time out. You need to approach your marketing efforts with a sense of curiosity -- stay open to all of the lessons your marketing brings, some of which will be clear lessons in what does NOT work.

If you are betting everything on the success of a single event, not only do you stand to lose a lot, the pressure may blind you from seeing the lessons your marketing campaign has to offer.

Author's Bio: 

Jenny Hamby is a Certified Guerrilla Marketer and copywriter who helps consultants, speakers, and coaches promote their own seminars, workshops, teleseminars and webinars. Get your free copy of her e-course, 31 Secrets to Jumpstart Your Seminar Promotions.