Organising Meetups in 7 Steps to Boost Your Freelance Career

15.11.2017

Nowadays, a lot of people look towards the internet when it comes down to networking or special interests. But you don’t have to meet virtually anymore, thanks to Meetup. If you haven’t heard about this service, you’re in for a ride.

What is Meetup?

Meetup is a site that allows people to, well, meet up. It has gotten extremely popular in the last couple of years, reaching over 32 million members. These members are organized into different groups, according to the interest they’re meeting up for – there are about 290,000 groups in 182 different countries – so don’t worry about availability. As I’m writing this text, there are 10,000 people meeting up.

Why you should organize meetups as a freelancer?

You might be saying – “Alright, that sounds fun, but what does it have to do with freelancing?” One of the most important things freelancers struggle with is building up a network. And there is no better way to build up a network than to meet with people face-to-face, exchange ideas and talk about your freelancing passions.

Forget about dull conferences that only take place once a year, have a lot of stuff that doesn’t really interest you and are always trying to sell you stuff.

Meetups are focused on specific topics and full of people who want to exchange their experience. According to Meetup’s site, there are currently almost half a million members visiting meetups about freelancing.

Being a part of meetups alone can be quite beneficial by itself, but organizing them gets you to the next level. By putting yourself out there and setting the agenda, you are essentially doing a public service.

This will ensure people are grateful, remember your name and altogether boost your reputation greatly.

Convinced? Here’s the 7-step-guide on organizing meetups:

Organizing a Meetup in 7 steps:

1. Research other meetups in the area

Before you start your own meetup, the number one question you should ask yourself is: “Is somebody else doing it already?” You want as few competitors as possible while still being relevant and interesting.

Make sure to check out what Meetups are already taking place in your area.

2. Visit a couple of meetups

Secondly and especially if this is your first time hearing about Meetup, do a little bit of reconnaissance work. Go to a couple of Meetups that sound interesting to you and are targeted at freelancers. This will help you judge expectations, see what works and spot things that you’d like to do in your own Meetup.

3. Pick the right topics

We’ve already touched on one detail about picking what your Meetup is going to be about – as few competitors as possible. You obviously also want to pick something that you’re interested and knowledgeable in.

You can pick up to 15 topicswhen creating a Meetup – check out the site’s suggestions, they are usually pretty good!

4. Look for sponsorships

Organizing Meetups is not free, although it is extremely cheap at first. For up to 50 members, the site charges 10 dollars a month. But you might want the unlimited option which costs $15, and you could have to buy some additional tech depending on the type of Meetup you’re hosting and so on… The point is – the numbers can add up.

Finding a sponsor, like a big company involved in the topics you’re talking about or something similar can be a good way to minimize those costs.

5. Chose a format for your event

There are a lot of ways to organize a Meetup. If it’s a smaller one, group discussion might be something that works. If you want to discuss a variety of topics that all require a different kind of expertise, guest speakers are likely the way to go.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up either, that will make sure your Meetups never go stale.

6. Find the right venue

When you know what topics your Meetup is going to cover and what format it’s going to do it in, it’s time to decide where it will be taking place. Bars and restaurants are often chosen locations, especially during the week when they’re more likely to be empty.

Make sure to explain to the owner what exactly you’re planning – a lot of locals are thrilled to have a regular group of people hanging out there and buying drinks!

7. Test your setup in advance

You might be doing a presentation, slideshow, something with a whiteboard or using microphones during your Meetup. You will want to test that setup before the meetings take place. Go there an hour earlier and make sure everything works.

Have you visited any Meetups or hosted one yourself? How did it go? Tell us your best Meetup story in the comment section below this article!
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