I was pretty nervous about attending my first big conference for online marketing – in fact, I wrote a post inside a private group asking for support to encourage me beforehand. Fast forward a few days later and my brain is on fire with all the takeaways, new friendships and contacts made.
The conference was the Youpreneur Summit hosted by Chris Ducker. I have to admit not really knowing much about Chris beforehand apart from hearing him on Pat Flynn’s podcast a few times. I bought my ticket about six months ago after hearing that one of my online mentors, Janet Murray, was going to be speaking. Janet had tweeted about the event, and when I clicked through, I saw that John LeeDumas (eofire.com) and Pat Flynn were going to be the keynote speakers. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to hear these guys speak. In the end, not only did I hear them speak, but I met them and even ended up out with a group on the last night, sitting at the table with Pat!
If you are thinking about attending a live event, I highly encourage you. Here’s what worked for me in the run-up.
When you get your ticket:
- Find out who is going to be speaking and see if you can find some of their content online first. Start following them on social media.
A few weeks beforehand:
- Start following and using the hashtag for the event
- If there is a Facebook community for the event, join it and start interacting with the other attendees.
- Chris asked all of us to share a little intro video into the Facebook group which really broke the ice for a lot of us
Arriving at your location:
- My event was in London so I flew over the day before – I knew it was an early start on Saturday morning so I wanted to get there in time. Also the Youpreneur team had organised a pre-registration session on the Friday night and a few drinks after at a local bar. A great way to get started!
- One of my online groups, the Membership Site Guys, arranged for us to meet before the pre-reg event which was a genius idea. Callie and Mike were so welcoming, and I got to meet my first few new friends ahead of the actual event. I was so excited I actually arrived at the pub an hour too early and wandered about looking like a lost soul. At this point my nerves nearly took over and I almost went back to the hotel. Instead, I went to Horseguards’ Parade and made a Facebook live video about going to London Cue lots of stares from passers-by.
Then I headed back to the pub and there were about 10 of the membership site people there already – it was great to meet them in person after having chatted online but also it was really inspiring to hear where they were with their own memberships when I am only getting started with mine.
One of the highlights of the weekend was being able to talk to other entrepreneurs who are one, two or even three steps ahead of me, and connecting with them. I am not talking about the ‘let me pick your brain’ scenario, but genuine connections and sharing of experiences – worth their weight in gold.
- Pre-registration was so efficient. We went to the QEII building where the conference was to be held, got our passes and free goodies (and what fabulous goodies they were!) and headed off for the pre-reg drinks. At this, I was able to meet up with a few online tweeting friends but kept it pretty sensible and headed home early for the next day!
Day of the Event
- Our freebies on the Friday were given to us in a bright red bag and as I was walking down to the conference, I spotted another person with a red bag. Obviously being from N.Ireland I said hello and we went to Starbucks to grab a coffee on the way down. Melanie (my new friend and fellow caffeine addict) and I sat together for the first day, and had lunch and even went for a drink after. Such a good plan!
- I think for anything like this, you just have to get over yourself and decide you are going to meet people and make new connections.
- Make the most of any of the breakout sessions. We had tea/coffee breaks and I took this opportunity to meet as many people as possible.
[clickToTweet tweet=” #Networking tip – it’s much easier to join a group of three than interrupt a conversation between two people.” quote=” One tip I had from my group back home was if you are on your own, head over to a group of three – it’s much easier to introduce yourself into a group of three than interrupt a conversation between two people.” theme=”style3″]
Also, sometimes they might not take the hint and you are left standing there looking as though you are eavesdropping!
- As a woman, I always find it easy to start chatting to someone standing next in line for the ladies bathroom – we always have to wait anyway, and its an ice-breaker – commenting on how there are never enough loo’s for the ladies!
I learned so much from the conference, from not just the speakers, but the fantastic networking and the masterminding sessions. Having a table of other entrepreneurs who understand your business issues and are able to offer input and advice is invaluable. If you work for yourself, it is hard to meet others to talk to who understand where you are coming from.
I have already bought my ticket for next year, and since the event, I have reached out and followed the others I met online – mainly on Twitter and Instagram but also signing up to a few of their email lists and checking out their websites.
If you are on the fence about paying for a big event, I say go for it – the money is so well spent. Look at it as an investment in yourself and your business. When you go, make the most of it, meet people, make connections and follow them up afterwards. And maybe I will see you at Youpreneur 2018!