If you run your own business, you may be wondering if it’s worth investing time and money attending workshops and conferences.
Here’s seven compelling reasons why you should:
1.You learn new things
You can learn a lot from reading books, listening to podcasts and connecting with experts on social media, but nothing compares to meeting them face-to-face, being able to ask questions and have conversations.
Investing the time and money in a public speaking workshop with the content marketing expert Marcus Sheridan didn’t just help me hone my speaking skills. It also helped me form a relationship with an expert whose work I’d admired for years and led to this fabulous speaking testimonial on my website.
2.You make great connections
Social media is great for networking, but there’s no substitute for meeting people ‘in real life’. A good conference will give you plenty of opportunities to mingle with both the speakers – and like-minded business owners – over coffee, lunch and drinks.
After coming along to my Soulful PR Live event designer and photographer Emma Mapp got her camera bag featured in Stylist magazine and in the Guardian’s Christmas gift guide (competition to be featured in the latter is fierce).
Attending one of my Soulful PR Sessions helped career coach Salma Shah get featured in the Independent and Marie Claire magazine (proof that it’s well worth venturing out on a cold winter evening – even when you’d rather be snuggled up in front of the TV).
3.You meet experts and influencers, face-to-face
Not every conference offers you the chance to meet your business idols in person, but when you’re sharing the same space for the day (or longer if you’re lucky) your chances are vastly improved.
Attending live events has given me the opportunity to meet many of my business heroes, and invite them to be guests on my podcast, including the video marketing expert Amy Schmittauer, Instagram expert Sue B Zimmerman and social media expert Mark Schaefer.
Building relationships with the organisers of these events has also helped me land some high-profile speaking opportunities, including the Content Marketing Academy in June 2017 and the Youpreneur Summit in November 2017, as well as Tribe Conference in the States in October 2018 and the Marketing Business Summit in Milan in November 2018.
4.You pick up new ideas
When you’re working on your own, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut – doing things exactly the way you’ve always done them. Being in a different environment – with a different group of people – can give you a fresh perspective.
When I attended Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank event in the Philippines, I picked up an idea from one of the speakers – Lou Mongello that made me £10k – which represents a 100% return on investment.
5.You create content opportunities (and save money)
I’ve met dozens of experts at live events who’ve ended up being guests on my podcast and/or delivering masterclasses to my membership community the Love Marketing membership – saving me tons of time (and money) in the process.
These include: Ian Anderson Gray (Facebook Live), Livestream Katya (Livestreaming), Colin Gray (podcasting), Gavin Bell (Facebook Ads), Kate McQuillan (Content Marketing), Phil Pallen (branding), Julie Christie (Photography), Pete Matthew (Business Blogging), Chris Marr (Content Marketing), Amy Woods (Content Repurposing) & Lucy Hall (social media).
It’s not one-way traffic of course; I’ve reciprocated with podcast appearances, masterclasses and other kinds of help of my own. But just think how much it would have cost me to buy in all that expertise.
6.You invest in yourself
When you’re busy building a business, it’s easy to forget about the most important person – YOU. At the risk of sounding cheesy, when you invest the time and money in your own learning and personal development, it’s a powerful reminder that you are worth it. Because you are.
7.You make new friends (and have fun)
Running your own business can be a lonely existence and most entrepreneurs I know regularly put in long hours. Taking some time out to relax and socialise with like-minded people is good for you and, if you’re anything like me, your biggest breakthroughs often come when you’re at the bar.
I met online marketing expert Amanda Cook back in 2015 and now count her amongst my ‘business besties’. For the last two years running we’ve danced, drunk cocktails and hit the karaoke bar together at Chris Ducker’s Tropical Think Tank in the Philippines (in between solving our various business challenges).
Over the last few years it’s been a pleasure to watch friendships like this grow in my own community – the Love Marketing membership.
Having people in your life who understand you and your business – and can support you through the bumpy times – is invaluable.