There’s one thing I look forward to more than anything.
It’s something to which I can attribute almost every awesome thing that’s happened in our business.
Just getting out there and meeting people at conferences
When we were building websites, most conferences hit ROI within a few weeks. So the ticket price, accommodation AND flights were paid for just in projects that came from someone I met there.
These days it is a little different because instead of a project being 5k, a sign up for our software is maybe a few hundred per year. That makes it difficult to break even so fast. But to be honest I don’t care about this part anymore. I’m mentioning it first in an attempt to make conferences a no-brainer 🙂
Another massive benefit is, of course, learning things and generating ideas that help grow your business.
All “my” best ideas are just things I’ve brought home from conferences – either from speakers or just from chatting with amazing people at the event.
Usually, those conversations happen at the bar.
But the main thing… by far… are the connections you make with amazing people.
I’m blown away by people I meet at events.
Every. Single. Time.
Something magic happens when you get a bunch of people together who have traveled to be there.
Travel is a barrier to entry that seems to make all the difference. You have to be pretty serious to spend the money to go away for a few days and take some time off your business. It’s not just driving down the road for a networking breakfast.
That’s why I think the experiences at these events are so far and beyond local business networking.
It’s also bloody refreshing to hang out with people who are all dealing with the same stuff. By that, I mean that every business owner is dealing with some sort of crap that only other business owners understand.
These two things together seem to create a shared connection that makes conferences just so damn fun. And it makes it easier to meet people. Every conference, I come away with a bunch of new friends. (That makes leaving difficult, but let’s focus on the positive, eh?)
But for a moment, let’s assume you want more from a conference than just having fun and making friends.
The connections made at these events turn into a lot more.
- Partnerships – creating something together, promoting each other or collaborating on something
- Referrals – referring work between each other. This is where the “Instant ROI” has come from in my experience
- Content & promotion – I always end up with a list of future podcast guests and some interviews on other podcasts. Podcasts are EPIC for SEO. Then there are guest posts and other collabs.
- Masterminds – I’m still in a mastermind with people I met at a conference 2016. We catch up every other week to bounce ideas off each other, vent or just chat. We keep each other accountable and provide help when it is needed.
When I ran an agency, conferences were a great source of new business.
And I haven’t even talked about the content itself, which is usually what people talk about the most. Things I’ve learned at conferences have helped me generate ideas for our business and even get better at sales.
Next time you see a conference come up that looks exciting – try to get along.
Not every conference is amazing, but if the right people are there, the chances are good. Try to talk to some past attendees to see if they’ll vouch for it.
And if you’re reading this before August 28, 2019… and run a digital agency… come along to Recurring Revenue Retreat 🙂