For many, you will have either heard of, been to or even worked at CMALive over the past 5 years.
If you haven’t it’s quite simply the cornerstone of CMA’s community and the benchmark for all other business events that have come since.
It happens in June every year and showcases unbelievable talents from all around the globe to create an incredibly special, heart warming, fun and exciting 3 days.
The buzz and atmosphere along with the collective admiration for every person delegates and speakers alike at CMALive is something I have never experienced anywhere else and many will tell you the same.
But today I’m here to tell you that CMALive 2019 will not be going ahead.
Before we go any further I want you to know, we had a problem and we also have the solution. Sit tight and if you have anything to say or ask please get in touch.
Watch the full announcement live from the CMA Kick Off stage on 11th January 2019
Back in October later on at night, I walked in to the kitchen where Cara was sitting laden with notepads, paperwork and both our laptops. She was upset and she was crying…
“I cannot make this work, Chris.”
Cara was telling me that we can’t do this anymore.
Cara mirrored my exact feelings because up until I saw her and those words came out of her mouth the only reason CMALive existed was down to my own blinded faith in struggling through, hustling to destruction.
Thinking back to the very first CMA Live 2014 – in Glenrothes, it didn’t even pay for itself then!
Every year since then I’ve strung out on cost and leaned in for the full customer experience.
Heading every decision with my expectations and delivering an event I believed in.
Absolutely no compromise and all to the detriment of my business, myself and now the person I loved the most.
The negative and physical impact CMA Live was having on my family had to change.
In that moment, at the kitchen table we closed the doors on CMA Live.
The previous 2 years of CMA Live have cost the business dearly.
Not least 2018; running a total cost of £70,000.00 and at a loss of £39,000.00.
This month marks our final repayment – 7 months of working for nothing.
Continuing in this cycle would not only break Cara and I, it would destroy our business.
Now let’s not forget that Cara is the MD of Gillies and Mackay, responsible for staff and their families the business employs. Responsible for her dad, her brothers and uncle. Responsible for generating revenue and running the company.
Cara doesn’t have a spare 4 months maternity and a very forgiving baby to give to CMA Live this year.
Back in February just before Luna was born, we had to cut a Keynote we didn’t have the money for. Cara told me the figures and explained what it was that we had to do in order to make CMA Live 2018 work and part of that meant Cara giving up her maternity.
We didn’t have a choice, we were committed, to the venue, our customers, the speakers, the catering, the coffee for fuck sake! We’d paid deposits we’d signed contracts… We were trapped.
On the run up to CMALive 2018 we had already signed up for 2019 – the nature of the beast. On committing to 2018 we had to commit to 2019 too – we pitched it to ourselves that it would be our last year and we would make it bigger, better and above all profitable.
Simon Sinek, The Assembly Rooms, 400 delegates and a shitload of sponsorship – Cara had it pegged at 75,000 profit.
Everything was riding on this ‘plan’ and it was the only thing that Cara could hold on to whilst pushing through 2018’s event.
Selling for an event is almost impossible. The relentless knock backs and constant disappointment was something I’d faced many times before but the harsh realisation for Cara was when I saw it clear for what it really was;
We are done
- Begging people to buy tickets
- Not making any money
- Borrowing money
- Asking people to accept payment plans and delayed payments
- Being terrified of the consequences or what could happen even as we’re sat seated on the day.
- Staring at bank balances fucking about with spreadsheets trying to get it to tell a different story.
- All the mental and physical energy it takes to pull the 2 days off
- The huge compromises on kids and home life
- Relying on divine faith that it all just ‘works out’
The whole reason I set up my own the business was to be in control, make the decisions for my best interest and here we were stuck with all the shit I never wanted to do.
CMALive was massive. A huge success! The best year yet. We had outstanding performances from some of the worlds greats and pure emotional pride from witnessing some of my best friends on my stage telling their stories.
And at the same time Cara was closing to the edge, our baby just 3 months old – even reflecting on it now is too much to tell. Of course no one really sees that.
And I know you don’t get to love all the work you do all the time but CMA Live was killing us and as a result everyone and everything around us suffered.
So it comes as a HUGE relief to be able to finally tell you…We’re done!
CMA Live is a beast of an event and one that will be remembered for all the right reasons and talked about as if it was a mythical legend!!
Had we run for another year battered through and tried – the consequences don’t even bare thinking about.
By calling it now we have control and we get to look back, years from now and know this, today was the best decision and the right one for the credibility of the event itself, the meaning of our company and the love in our relationships.
Who knows in 5 years time the U.K. might be ready, until then we’re moving on.
Now – I want everyone who has bought a ticket for CMA Live to know they will receive a full refund by June 30th 2019. We will start to issue refunds on the 31st March in date order they were bought in.
You will receive a personal email directly from me (Cara) and I will be your point of contact for any direct concerns relating to the refund specifically.
Within the last quarter of this year I can honestly say it has been the most positive and exciting time of CMA
It’s thanks to the clarity of our decision that has led us to entrusting good people to advise us through the new era of CMA.
Alasdair McGill breathes confidence and order into our finances
Rod McMillan stands as the strong ‘no bullshit’ sounding board.
Stealing… Sorry I mean employing Nicola – hands down the best thing I’ve ever done for CMA. Nic is a powerhouse, her ability to process, structure, organise and focus on every single last detail is phenomenal.
Having Nic has allowed us to focus on creating business relationships with company’s that get what we are doing AND they are willing to pay for it.
3 private contracts in 3 months?! That’s just profit clever. And it’s exactly what we need in order to keep the membership growing.
In 2019 you will see CMA change.
We have learnt A LOT on what not to do and what to definitely do when it comes to business as well as live events. We’ve made amazing friendships stretching all across the globe and we are ready to bring all of this together and deliver on a new Era of CMA.
Content Marketing will always be the foundations of what we stand for and the one thing that comes from this is:
- Education – Learning new ways and teaching better business. By working closely with our local universities we will gain accreditation for what we do within the membership and it will allow us to deliver short impact led courses, to you the members.
- Leadership – WCC (our world class communications event) was exactly what was needed to kick start our new vision for 2019 and is the model we will base all our future events on high impact one expert led events for optimal learning.
- Wider Community – We will continue to run our fully booked free content marketing workshops throughout the year with Nicola teaching them! Allowing us to offer paid Intermediate and Master level classes along side. Continuing to teach and educate.
- The Membership – We have double the time to focus on the membership this year which has led to slightly warm, almost heated discussions between, Chris, Nic and I.
- New technologies, slicker online experiences for our forum, portal and social media. Our content game is MASSIVE with Nic in the driving seat the consistency is tight.
- Inspirational podcast and practical, actionable video will continue to be at the forefront of our efforts with with help from the extremely good looking and talented RadLad.
- Stoicism. it is what will guide us throughout the year and allow us all, individually, to work on our own personal development.
We have BIG plans to further develop the brand and structure of how the membership works with our Brand GOD Col from Pixels Ink. We’re talking baseball league, spring training, regular season and major league. There will be badges people!!
Now, before I get carried away with all the exciting new plans, I’ve one last thing to say.
CMA was built on the integrity of Chris Marr and his belief in all of us, our businesses and in what we want to show the world.
6 years on CMA is changing – A new era of business
My question to you is this…
Are you coming with us?