If you’re interested in building a community around your niche, here’s your inspiration. Siobhan Farr went from being an “unintentional” digital nomad in March 2020 to launching a 3 day virtual event, jam-packed with Q&As and networking sessions for over 130 aspiring digital nomads in their late 40s and beyond.
With over 10 years of experience as a Health Insurance Agent specialising in Medicare and Travel Insurance, Siobhan harnessed her expertise with the Digital Nomads Beyond 50 Summit in June 2021. Digital Nomads Beyond 50 is for people in their late 40s+ who are either thinking about becoming Digital Nomads, or already have some experience to share. I spoke to Siobhan about how she became an “unintentional” Digital Nomad, what inspired her to launch her very first virtual summit, and the incredible community she built along the way.
Where did it all begin?
When Siobhan left Dallas, Texas on the 4th of March 2020, she had no idea that she would soon become a Digital Nomad. Siobhan had already visited 35 countries before this point, but Dallas had been her home base for the past 30 years.
Siobhan’s original plan was to travel for 6 months and return to Dallas in September. Her first stop in her 6-countries-in-6-months itinerary? Ecuador.
However, when Siobhan arrived at Ecuador’s Capital, Quito, strict COVID- 19 restrictions had just been implemented. Her intended 3 week stay ended up lasting for 13 months. It soon became time to pivot Positive Impact For You Health Insurance to remote working - and there began her incredible journey as a Digital Nomad. When Siobhan realised that she wasn’t returning to Dallas anytime soon, one of her first instincts was to find people in a similar position to herself. Of course, she had to find them online.
“I just created a Facebook group. I wanted to find out, how do you do this? I’ve travelled a lot. But how do you travel and work?”
Initially, Siobhan was begging people who hadn’t even left Dallas to join her Digital Nomads Beyond 50 Network just to get numbers up. But within its first month, Siobhan’s Facebook group had over 100 members. The COVID - 19 pandemic facilitated a mass shift to remote work and pushed many people to think about retiring later than initially planned. Siobhan believes that this was a catalyst for many people in their late 40s and beyond to begin seriously considering and planning a Digitally Nomadic lifestyle.
The majority of people who join the Digital Nomads Beyond 50 Network are either thinking about becoming a Digital Nomad or have actually started their planning. As for early members who joined the group to support Siobhan, they’re getting interested!
“I have people saying to me, ‘You’ve inspired me! I just joined this initially to help you out but now I’m really inspired to do this for myself.’ ”
As the number of group members increased, so did their questions. Questions that neither Siobhan nor existing Digital Nomads had the answer to at the time.
Siobhan wasn’t about to leave these questions unanswered. She went into what she calls her “learning and development professional mode” and thought, “We need a conference, we need a summit!”
Launching a Virtual Event with HeySummit
Siobhan had years of event management experience in the corporate world before she began working as a Health Insurance Agent. From small team building events to large scale executive conference weekends, Siobhan knows events, and she knows learning and development.
This was, however, Siobhan’s first foray in the world of virtual event marketing. After a lot of research into virtual event management platforms, Siobhan landed on HeySummit. For Siobhan, HeySummit had that magic combination of affordability and user friendly software.
Siobhan says that HeySummit’s ‘live office hours’ were particularly helpful for planning and launching her Digital Nomads Beyond 50 Summit. Our live office hours give HeySummitteers the opportunity to work with our event marketing experts in a private session. Siobhan gave a shout out to our event marketing experts, Olga and Kate, for being especially awesome, describing their support as ‘absolutely remarkable’.
Siobhan has over 10 years of expertise to share in Medicare and Travel Insurance. That was one speaker for the summit sorted! Siobhan then set to work recruiting another 21 Digital Nomads to run attendee focused Q&A lounges. Topics included tax advice, being a good guest in a foreign country, dealing with feelings of isolation, even creating a new stream of revenue through bitcoin! Siobhan pulled together the best and brightest in her new-found niche.
“It’s even more wonderful than I anticipated. I’ve got this group of 300 people as a result of this summit.”
What Advice does Siobhan Have for People Thinking of Launching their First Virtual Event?
Siobhan found her first round of speaker recruitment very work intensive. Asking 21 people for their photographs, tracking their social media, and writing their speaker bios took up a lot of her time.
Siobhan discovered that recruiting speakers didn’t need to be such a long process when she was invited to an interview shortly before launching her summit. Before her interview, Siobhan’s interviewer sent her a google.doc for Siobhan to write out her bio, drop in her social links, and submit her photographs. This all had to be submitted a week before her interview, otherwise she simply wouldn’t have been interviewed! It quickly dawned on Siobhan that this is what she should have done for her speakers.
Speakers are beacons of lead generation and conversion for your summit, sure. But, as Siobhan points out, you’re also giving them some great exposure. They get access to your audience and those of their fellow speakers. It’s perfectly reasonable to give them deadlines for submitting their info. At the same time, you also want to make it as easy as possible for your speakers to share and promote your event. Check out our article on speakers for advice on finding this balance when recruiting the right people for your event.
What’s Next for Siobhan?
It’s been an incredible journey for Siobhan so far, and she’s not even close to being done with event marketing. Not for this year, or next year, or any year after that! Siobhan continues to connect with her community on Facebook and is currently organising events of all sizes:
- 30 minute live Q&As for the hottest Digital Nomad topics
- 2 hour topic specific virtual learning spaces
- Digital Nomads Beyond 50 2022 Summit
Outside virtual events, Siobhan will also be hosting a Digital Nomads Beyond 50 co/live work village in May/June 2022! Now that’s community building!
If you're in your late 40s + and thinking of becoming a Digital Nomad, join Siobhan’s Digital Nomad’s Beyond 50 Network to connect with a thriving community of Digital Nomads, all with their own rich experiences and advice to share. Plus, you’ll be the first to hear about Siobhan’s upcoming events and projects.
Inspired by Siobhan’s story? You too can harness the power of event marketing with HeySummit. Build a thriving community around your niche, even if you’ve just found it - try out HeySummit’s 14 Day Free Trial today.