I am a people person. This predisposition towards wanting to be around people is the hardest aspect of working “for myself.” Sometimes, it can seem like I am working “by myself.” It doesn't have to feel this way, and successful entrepreneurs do not let themselves become isolated from their peers. Even if you do not have direct business connections with others in your industry, you should work to have some cohesiveness with them.
This is why conferences for entrepreneurs are so great.
If your business model is like mine (broad and dynamic, moving where opportunities arise), then conferences will boost your earnings and brand value significantly.
If your business model is not like mine (more specific and predictable), then you can still benefit from attending conferences. I promise you, it is not difficult to quantify the value you will get from them.
Here are 10 reasons why you should attend more conferences.
Reason #1: People want to buy from and/or work with people they like.
Unless you know that you are completely unlikable (in which case, I recommend you work on that), you should be excited to share the “real you” with your peers. No one is expecting you to be the world's most amazing person, so don't feel stressed to be anyone other than yourself.
Reason #2: Conferences may be the only way for you to connect with certain people.
Just because someone does not have an active media presence in your community or represent a big name in your industry does not mean they do not have huge things to offer or potential insights and opportunities to share. I have made many connections with people that I only would have met at conferences.
Reason #3: It shows you are serious about what you do.
Casual entrepreneurs often don't attend conferences like those who are totally in the game. When I meet someone at a conference, I naturally respect them more from a business perspective and would be more likely to work with them if the opportunity arose.
Reason #4: Entrepreneurship can be lonely!
Yes, as nice as it may have been at first to escape the office politics, backstabbing, etc. that goes along with interaction in a traditional j*b, you may experience “social withdrawals” from the excitement of interacting with people.
Reason #5: You can get your thumb on the pulse of the industry.
By meeting new people and hearing industry experts speak, you will gain extreme insights into what the true state of your industry is.
Reason #6: Many things cannot be conveyed online or over the phone.
There have been people who sent me a vibe online or over the phone that was completely different from the one I got from meeting them in person. This may be good or bad, but you will get a better idea of who you are really working with.
Reason #7: See the country/world and kill two birds with one stone.
I won't lie. I love the fact that I have an excuse to travel the country each month and visit places I normally would not.
Reason #8: Free Stuff!
Ok, this is one of the great perks of conference attendance but not a serious reason to attend one… but hey, they are fun!
Reason #9: Tax Write-Offs!
I am not an accountant, I did not play one on TV and I didn't even sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so be sure to check with a professional about what constitutes a travel expense and what can and cannot be written off.
Reason #10: You cannot pay for the advice you get after midnight over drinks with the pros.
Some of the best, most insightful business conversations I have had with people I look up to have come over drinks or after hours. Note: Drinking is not a requirement, but I enjoy it.
Ok, that is all for now. If you are planning on attending any conferences, comment below and let me know! I would love to meet you if I am attending as well!