Pivots, Pitches and Rock and Roll

Work hard play hard is the definition of an entrepreneurial lifestyle. Festivals are a great way to showcase what your company is about in a different environment so you can stand out. South by Southwest (SXSW) is one of many festivals around the country that attracts thousands, meaning endless possibilities for you and your business.

A multi-week long festival with endless networking and promotion opportunities, SXSW brings techies, film geeks, entrepreneurs, and investors from near and far to Austin, Texas. It gives truly entrepreneurs a unique name for themselves through multiple channels. You never know who is going to show up where, so you have to be constantly at the top of your game to thrive in the environment.

sxsw pitching

In my previous post, I outlined the basic fundamentals to be a successful entrepreneur. Part of becoming successful is networking with the right people at the right time. Festivals are unique events that allow you to do so, especially when compared to traditional modes of networking like trade shows. When you are at at trade show, you are in a saturated environment where everyone is in the same field of business, and you must adhere to specific presentation guidelines.

At festivals such as South by Southwest, there are no rules.

You will see people doing outlandish things on the streets to get their name out there, but that is what makes them memorable. You can be the Joe Schmo who passes out brochures on the corner, or you can attack the situation and be remembered for having a killer product with a memorable approach.

3 Things You Need to DO to Make it as a Pitching Rockstar

DO go to as many events as you possibly can.

Something that many out-of-towners don’t realize about SXSW is that the best events are free; you just need to get invited to them. If you hear about a company putting on a free event around the corner, there is no reason you shouldn’t go check it out. You have no idea who may be there, and that person you’re standing in line behind at the bar could very well be your next investor. If you make a good impression, you will be connected with the right people and receive the right invites.

DO your best pitch to anyone who asks to hear it.

do pitchAs an entrepreneur, you need to constantly be on your A-game, and SXSW takes this to an extreme. Bring business cards so you can follow-up after the festival, and don’t let the wild atmosphere of the festival distract you from remembering that you are still working there.

DO sleep.

do sleepThe first few days of the festival will have you running on adrenaline and excitement, but this will eventually wear off. If your days are spent in the office, your nights will be spent networking. Pace yourself at the beginning so you can last the full sprint of the festival. Different types of crowds will be coming in and out of the city for the interactive, education, film, and music portions of the festival and you don’t want to miss out on a second of it.
The 3 steps can all be applied to any large festival around the country. These types of events are the perfect time to make yourself stand out and give you ample opportunity to meet the people you need to get you where you want to be. You need to work hard and play hard if you want to make it. I hope you like Red Bull.
Content Specialist
Kara Schell graduated from The University of Texas, Austin with a BS in Applied Learning and Development. She currently works as the Content Specialist at SchooLinks