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  • Writer's pictureBill Petrie

Creating Something from Nothing

The most difficult and most rewarding thing you can do.

If you’re reading this blog, there’s a good chance I’m on a cruise ship somewhere in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. After more than three years of planning – and ten months since it was announced – we are finally taking our maiden Promocation in the form of the inaugural PromoCruise. It’s the culmination of countless hours of discussions, planning, creating, marketing, and selling that almost brings me to tears to think that it’s finally happening.

Before I go much further, I don’t want this to be a commercial about Promocations. So, if you want to learn what Promocations is about, you can visit the website here. Now, back to the blog.

All of this begs the question, why would two people decide to embark (pun most certainly intended) on such an endeavor? Because we thought there was a better way to do networking – period. Maybe better isn’t the right word, as traditional networking events aren’t bad. On the contrary, many of them run flawlessly, and people get tremendous value from them. However, we thought a different approach was in order.

When Josh Robbins and I started discussing how to make a networking event better and more impactful, we kept coming back to the same conclusion: the best parts of any event are the conversations over a cocktail before dinner, slipping out of an education session to have an honest discussion about business, and the late-night shenanigans that become inside jokes for years. That’s where relationships are formed, bonds strengthened, where deals are made, and what Promocations is all about. Once we realized this, all we had to do was build it.

In other words, we had to create something from nothing.

This is the part of the blog where I suggest that there is nothing more challenging or rewarding in business than taking an idea and turning it into a tangible reality. I’ll do more than suggest it – I’ll die on that hill, and here’s why: everyone has ideas. Some ideas are good, others are bad, and a few are brilliant. However, without effort behind an idea, it’s completely useless. For example, the idea of creating and building an airplane is fantastic, but the mere concept of air travel won’t get you from Boston to Miami. To get there, you have to construct it.

In the case of Promocations and PromoCruise, Josh and I had to map out what the event would look like to maximize value for both suppliers and distributors. We had to find the right partner in Royal Caribbean, choose dates that would work for most of our target audience, and figure out a seemingly endless array of logistical details. We had to build a website, create a marketing plan and execute it, partner with suppliers for the launch, and even develop an app for the event. Then we had to sell it, form partnerships, gather data (lots of data), and come out on the other side with something that was both elegant and fun.

Continual communication in terms of hours, nights, weekends, holidays, and weekly Zoom meetings meant a lot of extra time away from our families, even though we both already had very demanding and successful businesses. Thankfully, we both have VERY understanding wives in Sandy and Jill. That support has been critical for us to remain sane.

And now, here we are, hours away from boarding the Liberty of the Seas for five days of networking, bonding, and forging relationships. Finally, all the blood, sweat, and in the case of getting an app approved by Apple, tears, are behind us. Together, Josh and I created something from nothing, and I’m damn proud of what we have accomplished. I know Josh is as well.

If you want to follow along, feel free to check in on the Promocations social media accounts, as I’m sure there will be quite a bit of a peek into the experience. As for me, I’ve got a boat to catch.

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