Why Hosting Live Events are TRICKY


ARE YOU PLANNING TO HOST AN IN-PERSON EVENT?  Did you know that by hosting an in-person event or retreat that you opening yourself and biz to A LOT more liability than if you were working solely online?  

So much more goes into planning an in-person event and it’s important to have solid Terms of Purchase or a signed contract in place to make sure you don’t end up losing a bunch of money (or worse - end up in a courtroom!)

Because in-person events are….well in-person, there are many more chances for things to go sideways.  

From you forking out money for hotel rooms and then having clients cancel, to someone getting in a car accident in transportation provided by you, to paying for speakers and products that are going to your guests.  

In-person events take a special contract because of these extra factors. Anyone coming needs to be a signing a waiver of liability that YOU are not responsible for basically anything that could go wrong!  

Events and retreats can be extremely lucrative but are also a risk.  Make sure you are planning for the unexpected!   What are legal boxes you need to check before it starts?

If you are hosting a live event or retreat there are certain things to consider even before the opening party.  Here’s a few things to consider to keep your profit and biz protected:

  1. Make sure your guests sign a contract or agree to terms of purchase that outline EVERYTHING that is included. This is important so that everyone’s expectations are clear.  The last thing you want is a client showing up expecting 3 days of meals when you weren’t planning to offer any.

  2. A refund and cancellation policy.  Things come up, especially when trying to plan events far in advance.  What happens when a client backs out?  Are you on the hook for their hotel room? Do they get a refund?  Can they reschedule?  All of these things need to be outlined when they first sign-up!  

  3. Force Majore - acts of the Universe.  This is a clause that should be in your contract outlining what happens in the case of the unpredictable: acts of nature, war, terrorism, ick.   So what happens if you are planning a spectacular health retreat in the Bahamas and 3 days before a hurricane hits and your venue shuts down.  All of a sudden you have 20 customers demanding refunds.  Are you legally required to give them their money back?

And what about co-hosting? 

It’s just as important to have your legal bases covered if you are co-hosting event than if you were doing it on your own.  Sure it can be way fun to plan something with another entrepreneur but you need to make sure to have an agreement between the 2 of you before you get too far down the path.

This is similar to a partnership agreement in that it would outline each person’s responsibilities and expectations for the event.  The last thing you want is to arrive at the event only to learn that you both had planned to MC the stage and no one had coordinated with the hotel on any logistics.  Or your co-host had offered to pay for a few speakers to come and was sending you an invoice to front the costs and you had no idea!  

As Marie Forleo says, “everything is figuroutable” - but you do need to figure it out!  

When two people are involved there are other longer term issues to consider. What if your retreat/brand is a huge knockout success and your co-host decides they own the intellectual property of all the branding and leaves you in the dust?  

In addition to signing an agreement together, you need to make sure your Terms of Purchase or agreement with guests/clients exclude both of you from liability as co-hosts.  

Retreats and live events are an awesome way to connect with your people, but make sure you are planning in a smart, legally protected way!  

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