The Value of Conferences and Trade Shows

Mike McDerment, the founder of Freshbooks, recently wrote a post titled How I Earned A Lot More on Projects by Changing My Pricing Strategy in which he talks about how he used to be a web designer (only) and it was his frustration with invoicing that moved him to create Freshbooks, which is online accounting and invoicing software for small business owners. McDerment recently released a free ebook that is similar to the Brennan Dunn’s Double Your Freelancing Rate book called, Breaking the Time Barrier: How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential. McDerment will be speaking in Indianapolis at MixWest (formerly Blog Indiana) August 7-9th, 2013, which reminded me of the value of conferences and trade shows to your business.

I last attended Blog Indiana in 2011 and have since wrote about it in My Local Heroes, Mesh Networking, and Networking Indianapolis. It’s also how I know most of the people I now know on Twitter. In other words, it was very impactful to me and part of the reason I decided to attend The Combine that same year in Bloomington, Indiana. People I met at Blog Indiana and The Combine I later ran into at Verge in Indianapolis, at the Lean Startup Circle, and at Agile Indy. I was starting to be a part of a community of like-minded individuals, which has intrinsic value.

Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mind Valley, talks about how attending conferences changed his company and allowed it to grow. Pat Flynn, owner of Smart Passive Income, talks about how he met one of his best friends and business partners at a conference. In Terry Lin’s Build My Online Store podcast #45, Matt Kowalak talks about how attending trade shows is a critical part of the marketing of his business.
The bottom line is that while it can cost a lot of money to go to conferences, there is a lot of value in going to conferences. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is powerful, and it can change your business. For encouragement, collaboriation, or learning from others who have paved the way before you, meetups, conferences, and tradeshows can help you become a success.

Know you can succeed, and you will.