1625 – Making Sure People Attend Live Events with Steven Pemberton

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks with the Chief Executive Officer of Hollowco, Steven Pemberton.

Steven and his team at Hollowco have partnered with a virtual events platform akin to Eventbrite to host webinars, virtual summits, and challenges. They handle everything from building the event to managing the variables and people attending.

He explained that Hollowco specializes in organic strategies, particularly joint venture sponsorships, to attract ideal attendees. They also use paid marketing, such as Facebook ads, to complement their organic efforts. Steven's expertise in running Facebook ads and working with the algorithm to optimize campaigns is a crucial part of their strategy.

According to Steven, the success of joint venture partnerships depends on the quality and engagement of the partner's audience. Analyzing data and asking the right questions is crucial to ensure the partnership succeeds.

Steven highlighted the networking and relationship-building opportunities from collaborating with other speakers and partners.

Steven shared that some speakers at their events have become customers simply because they got to know each other and became friends. This kind of connection and support can lead to deeper relationships and even referrals for business opportunities.

Steven emphasized the importance of engagement and networking during and outside the event. He believes in supporting others in business and paying full market price for their products or services to help them and their families. Businesses can pass referrals and collaborate on projects by building these connections, creating a stronger network and community.


Key Points from the Episode:

  • Halo Code specializes in automated virtual events for coaches, consultants, and authors
  • Partnership with a virtual events platform similar to Eventbrite
  • Organic strategies and joint venture sponsorships to attract attendees
  • Use of paid marketing, such as Facebook ads, to complement organic efforts
  • Importance of analyzing data and asking the right questions for successful joint venture partnerships
  • Value of virtual events beyond ticket sales, including networking and relationship-building opportunities
  • Impact of networking and building relationships at events
  • Full-service event management offered by Halo Code
  • Importance of faith and caring for clients differently in Steven's business approach


About Steven Pemberton:

Steven is a dynamic and resilient entrepreneur renowned for his prowess in building million-dollar businesses. A Hawaiian native, he is a committed family man and a deeply religious person who values helping others.

His business journey began early, and despite initial failures, he learned the value of perseverance and constant improvement. Steven transitioned from a corporate career to entrepreneurship in 2020, inspired by his wife's success with an Amazon business.

He and his wife have since built a successful e-commerce business on Shopify and a virtual events company, Hollowco. Their flagship company, Elevatum, focuses on assisting six-figure brands scale to seven figures.

Steven's dedication to social impact is noteworthy, as demonstrated by his significant contributions to a non-profit organization during Christmas 2020 and 2021.

Besides his business endeavours, Steven is also a sought-after public speaker and mentor, providing guidance and sharing insights on life and business through podcasts and seminars.


About Hollowco:

Hollowco is an innovative company that creates automated event infrastructures for various professionals, such as coaches, authors, and consultants. Their primary aim is to streamline the event process, making it more efficient and profitable for their clients.

They achieve this by implementing advanced technology and techniques, helping their clients conduct events that engage and educate audiences and generate significant cash flow.

By automating the processes involved in running events, Hollowco reduces manual work, minimizes errors, and enables a more seamless execution of events, thus freeing up the client's time and resources.

Hollowco can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to ensure the success of your events and stimulate the growth of your business, regardless of whether you are a coach seeking to expand your audience or an author promoting your newest book.


Tweetable Moments:

08:34 – “If there were one aspect of the summit that was the most valuable for us it was increasing the connection and networking and relationship and friendships with those other speakers and partners who now we've gone on to do multiple engagements with.”

14:18 – “I want to love on people differently than anyone else.”


Apply to be a Guest on The Thoughtful Entrepreneur:

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Hollowco website at

Check out Hollowco on LinkedIn at

Check out Steven Pemberton on LinkedIn at

Check out Steven Pemberton on Twitter at

Check out Steven Pemberton on Facebook at

Check out Steven Pemberton on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Steven Pemberton. Steven, you are the founder of Hollowco that's found on the Web at Hollowco dot com and your personal website. Steven Pemberton dot com. Steven, so great to have you.

Steven (00:01:14) - Thank you so much, Josh, for having me here.

Josh (00:01:16) - Well, tell me what you do in the world.

Steven (00:01:18) - There is that is a loaded question because it depends.

Josh (00:01:21) - Well, let's stick to professionally, especially talking about the work that you do with Hollowco.

Steven (00:01:26) - Absolutely. So we specialize in putting on automated virtual events for our clients, which are typically coaches and consultants and authors, and those range from automating webinars, automating virtual summits, whatever it may be. Challenges is a big thing right now, but we do all of those things.

Josh (00:01:43) - Yeah. Okay. So how do we do automated events? And help me understand what that means?

Steven (00:01:52) - Yeah. So a lot of times when you hear of an event, especially a live one, that's somebody talking in front of a camera similar to what we're doing right now on a podcast, but it's not recorded, right? So if we're live and in person and we have a group of people in the room, then that's something that you have to do every single month, or let's say it's bi monthly or whatever you have of doing. But we actually have partnered with a virtual events platform that's similar to Eventbrite where we can house everything right there.

Steven (00:02:18) - We can tend to each and every speaker if it's a virtual summit and it lives there forever. And so for us, we're all done for you. We're not just the consulting side, so we build out everything that's needed for the for it to be a cash flowing event and a cash flow machine so that way we can manage all the variables on the front end. We can manage all the people in the seats and even the back end when it comes to the offer drop what the offer is, everything that's included.

Josh (00:02:41) - Yeah, well, I mean, this sounds great in theory, right? So to be able to put on a virtual event, obviously my my concerns or my skepticism would be around. Cool. You know, what's it like, you know, when you put on a show and nobody shows up? That's really frustrating. We don't want that to happen. So how can we you know, and I gather I don't have a doubt that you can help with kind of the operations side of it.

Josh (00:03:07) - But how can we make sure that people are going to show up and attend? Because people are really busy and there's a lot of noise out there?

Steven (00:03:14) - Yeah, absolutely. And that's something else that we specialize in. And for the longest time, there's a lot of people who say that you have to run ads. And the thing is, let's say that you're putting on an event and you want to have a thousand people there. If your cost to acquire a person to that event is $30, which isn't terrible, it's still going to cost you $30,000. That's a lot of money. And so for us, we actually have some organic strategies, mainly with joint venture sponsorships. We actually have a software that's really great at being able to pull those ideal people into the group and into those events. And then on top of that, we also couple it with paid marketing, Facebook ads, things of that nature.

Josh (00:03:50) - Yeah. Okay. Well, tell me more about how that works.

Steven (00:03:54) - Yeah. So with the Facebook ads, a really cool thing.

Steven (00:03:57) - I'll start there and then I'll work into the organic is with the Facebook ads. I've been running Facebook ads for the longest time because my wife and I had two seven figure e-commerce stores. So we had to run ads for that. So that's where it all started. And then once we got into the virtual events field and into the industry have been running that for ourselves and for other people, our clients. And so as all the campaigns, all the ad sets, everything, the actual audiences have been able to speak with people who were engineers on the actual algorithm for Facebook ads. So I have an understanding from Meta themselves what works best, how to work it, everything of that nature. So being able to do that has been great. But for me and for those of you listening, it's like especially as a business owner, you want to prove your offer in the market first before you start running paid, paid advertising. So that's where the organic side comes in. And with the organic that is, we've been able to partner with a platform, a software that is able to find those ideal people, put it into a CRM where you get to vet them.

Steven (00:04:54) - So it's not completely automated in that part. That is something that we manage, but it's vetting them, making sure it's the right people, being able to communicate back and forth, being able to nurture them as they're coming into the event. Because even as you say, it's like it's great to have all this stuff, but if no one shows up, won't even matter. It doesn't matter, Right? But if even if you have them join, which is great, if you don't have them attend, what does it matter? Because if you are if you have a front end offer, let's say it's a ticket, you're selling it for $20. That's not the main reason why you want them there. No, you have a bigger offer on the back end. There's something you want to help them with further. So for us, is nurturing them on the front end organically to get them into the event and then nurturing them in the event leads to a higher conversion rate on the back end.

Josh (00:05:35) - So one of the big strategies for getting people to attend obviously is working with joint venture partners to help copromote the event and that can vary wildly.

Josh (00:05:47) - Yeah, I know this from experience in how they end up showing up. We had some people that referred hundreds to us, but I would say, you know, there's a big chunk of them. Didn't, you know, 1 or 2. I mean, it was pretty disappointing to see some of the results that we saw, some from some people. How can we design that in a way where we can I mean, maybe that's just the reality of it. And, you know, and when I say this out loud, I think about my own experience with affiliate marketing with my last company. And, you know, it's 8020 rule and maybe, you know, I'm kind of presupposing a lot of stuff here. My long winded question is, are those just typical numbers or are there things that we can do to increase the likelihood that we're going to get great participation from JV partners?

Steven (00:06:37) - So that is a fantastic question. This is something that I ran into with a client because his his was so niched in as far as who he wanted to work with that the people, his actual attendance was much lower.

Steven (00:06:49) - And so that's where it's quantity over quality. There's somebody else I'm working with right now. It's a thousand person events his as he wants more quantity so it's easier to find the people that are joint venture worthy because what I mean by that is let's say they have a client base where it is mainly startups. So those are people who are just 0 to 1 years in business. They're maybe just now starting in e-commerce because that's his field and they need help. So it's easier to find people who have that niche. Then let's say somebody who's 5 to 10 years down the road, they have a multi eight figure business and bringing those people in is radically different. So when it comes to joint venture ships, and I'm sure you've seen this, especially with affiliate marketing, is it is while it varies, but it also depends on who the actual person they like, who they have in their ecosystem because of their ecosystem. If a gentleman that I've worked with, he has 230,000 Instagram followers and you're like, Wow, his event must have been filled, filled up.

Steven (00:07:44) - It wasn't because his engagement was not good. His engagement was getting a couple hundred likes per post. It was not a lot. So just because you have a huge number in different areas, if the network isn't actually there and enjoying what you're putting out and actually fully invested in that person, then the joint venture ship is not going to go very well. So identifying that and even going a little deeper and saying, okay, so you do have great engagement, but where is it coming from? Or it's coming from India and Pakistan and China, which is all great, but I have a US based event and in your US based numbers is 2% of your overall audience. That doesn't seem like it's going to work. So being able to just look at the actual analytics, the data, asking the harder questions, because sometimes it is hard to ask like, Hey, where are your people? And being able to dig a little deeper has been where we've been able to see greater joint venture ships.

Josh (00:08:32) - Yeah.

Josh (00:08:34) - And Steven, obviously, you know, there's a big part of this, right, is, for example, like if you want me as a partner and you want me to promote this event, I'm expecting that I would also be involved in the content in some way. Like I'm there to serve an audience and obviously it's good visibility for me as a speaker. So obviously you want to design this in a way that's win win. You know, one thing that we learned is that, you know, from from us doing this event and we know you're right, you didn't make much money on the tickets at all. Yeah. I mean, we had, you know, upgrades and all that sort of thing. It was not impressive. I mean, that's not where you made the money, made all the money on the backend selling big ticket stuff on the backend. But I'll tell you, and I knew this going in one of the biggest areas, I would say if there were one aspect of the summit that was the most valuable for us, it was increasing the connection and networking and relationship and friendships with those other speakers and partners who now we've gone on to do multiple engagements with.

Josh (00:09:50) - And some of those speakers, I think two of them outright bought 2 or 3 of our 40 speakers outright bought our product just because they were spending time in our world, got to know us and they're like, Well, hey, you know, we became friends, you know? And then we started talking and we're like, Well, tell me more about what you do. And then so, you know, we actually made a profit just based on the invitation of speakers. What do you think about all that?

Steven (00:10:21) - Yeah, No, I love all that. Absolutely. I think that that's the biggest. I'm sorry. I didn't hear a question.

Josh (00:10:26) - I forgot to put a question mark at.

Steven (00:10:28) - The end, and I was like, Hey, that's great. Sounds amazing. And I think that that is a big part of it, especially when you look at networking and everything else. That's a big aspect of the event. This is something that we encourage even with the participants in a virtual sense. It's it's a little bit more difficult than if you're just sitting next to somebody physically, but being able to encourage that and being able to have ways to nurture it where let's say it's a breakout room or something along those lines where people can sit there and engage.

Steven (00:10:53) - But especially when you're talking about with the speakers, that's one big piece that I believe so heavily in is speakers. Being able to participate with each other, actually have that understanding. Who are you being able to get to know one another? Because a lot of times when you build those networks, build those connections, the best. To me, some of my best friends in business, we do business together. Because the thing is, I want to support what you do. You actually have something that's valuable to me and if I can pay for that at full market price, don't give me a discount. I want to support you. I want to support your family. I want to support your mission. That's where you can build those deeper relationships where it's like, Hey, then it becomes this deeper level of what an event could be. Because what I mean by that is then you could start passing business back and forth, Hey, I don't serve this client, but I know you do. And we're at the same event together, and I think that you're perfect for this.

Steven (00:11:38) - I use your stuff. I know that it works. So, hey, I'm actually going to refer people to you. Then it can go even deeper. But yes, absolutely. Just being able to encourage that, being able to encourage not only the engagement piece between one another, but actually engaging outside of the event.

Josh (00:11:53) - Yeah. Steven, what's it like working with you? Like, what does engagement look like and how do people partner with you?

Steven (00:12:02) - Yeah. So what do you mean by that?

Josh (00:12:04) - Well, I mean, you know, are you just going to give me good advice? Are you going to give me some videos? Yeah. If we were to work together on my next event or is it more full service? It's helped me understand. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Steven (00:12:17) - So we're full service and by full service, it's like everything that you need for for the event to be successful. Like I was stating everything from beginning to end and everything in the middle. We even take care of the speakers, we take care of the participants, and we wanted to build it that way because of the experiences, right? The story was not so cut and paste as I was a part of a Tony Robbins event and I got so hyped up, it's like I'm going into virtual events.

Steven (00:12:40) - It was not that for us as we had some success in e-commerce and during that time we had masterminds. We were running challenges. And I remember a lady came to us and she had spent $10,000 just to get consulted and she was no further along than where she had started. And she reached out to me and she said, Stephen, I know you don't do this, but would you just my would you mind helping me just get started? I've spent so much money and I remember helping build build out everything that she needed and she was able to run a successful event. And I said, Hey, maybe this is something that I need to look more into. And that's where Hollowco came from. That's what we've been doing because I want to make it something where it's seamless for the client, where they don't have to worry about setting up the stage, the lighting, the speakers and finding all the people and put them in the seats. They can just focus on the content, making sure that's the best it can be.

Josh (00:13:25) - Yeah. Your website and I also wanted to mention to, you know, before I get to the website and stuff, so you have your podcast as well and voice like a lion. I want to ask you about this, Steven, because I know that you've been pretty, you know, out on this. You also you're, you're a man of faith. That's kind of how you run your company, kind of based on those biblical principles. Can you tell me maybe a little bit more about that and what that means to you? Because I know it's important.

Steven (00:13:55) - Yeah. So for me, especially in business, is I want to and this is going to sound corny to some people, but I want to love on people differently than anyone else. And what I mean by that is when I get on calls, it's not I'm not trying to hard sell anybody If I'm a good option for them, for us to work together, then let's do it because I'm going to take care of them. I'm going to care for them as if they are not only a client of mine, but family.

Steven (00:14:18) - And I love on them differently. And if I'm not the best fit, then I point them to somebody who is. Because I want not only the client to feel that way, I want my employees to feel that way. I want anyone they refer to us to feel that way. And that's where those biblical standpoints and those biblical things come. And for me, the only reason that it is that way is because I've seen by being a part of a local ministry, how it's changed my life. And so if I'm able to go into the world and even just love on one person differently and they can go out and love on somebody else differently and through the virtual events, if they can love on a large group of people differently and actually care for the success of those people, then I think that that is the way for us to make a better world is to because right now you hear about the war in Ukraine and you hear about all these things going on. But if we can just care for the person next to us actually care for our neighbor, then that's how we can start changing the things we truly want to see change.

Josh (00:15:10) - Yeah. Steven your website. Steven Pemberton when somebody goes there, what would you recommend they do?

Steven (00:15:19) - So I would recommend that they go to services because that will take them directly to the website where they can look through anything and everything as far as what the events look like, how we do it, all that. But also if they want to get plugged in to learn more about me, all my social medias are at the top. If they want to scroll down, they can learn more about who we are. And like you said, my podcast are right there on the front. If they want to hear even more about me, if they if this snippet sounds good to them, then maybe they can get a little bit more content there.

Josh (00:15:47) - Yeah. Steven Pemberton, again founder of Hollowco. Again, best website to go to is just go to Steven Pemberton dot com. You've got your blog there. But again, you can click on services and you get right to the website and you can see more about running virtual events.

Josh (00:16:06) - Steven Pemberton, it's been great having you. Thank you so much for being a guest.

Steven (00:16:09) - Yes, absolutely. Josh, thank you so much for having me.

Josh (00:16:18) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the thoughtful entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs. Hit subscribe so that tomorrow morning. That's right, seven days a week. You are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed. I promise to bring positivity and inspiration to you for around 15 minutes each day.

Josh (00:17:22) - Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of the thoughtful entrepreneur movement.

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