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Business events: worth attending or a waste of work time?

Claire Jennison

Penning and Planning

PRO

As the owner of a new writing, proofreading and editing business, I’ve attended a selection of free local events in the past few weeks. These have included *deep breath*

  • Be your own boss workshop
  • The power of lead generation seminar
  • Grow your followers
  • Business mentoring from the experts
  • Business plan workshop
  • Drop-in business clinic
  • Pitching and presenting workshop
  • Digital seminar
  • Finance, budgeting and cash flow workshop
  • Networking workshop

I booked each event because of its content and went along with an open mind and the intention to learn as much as possible. But, luckily for me, I left with much more than I thought I would.

Based on my recent experiences, I think business events are beneficial and definitely worth attending. Because, as well as the topics they focused on, I also learnt about:

The power of positive comparisons

I’ve realised that anyone can start and build a business – including me!

The people delivering the events I’ve been to have been knowledgeable, often inspirational and relatable. They’ve had varied careers and experiences before choosing to set up their own business(es).

But the thing they’ve all had in common is self-belief, self-motivation and a determination to succeed. It’s these qualities I recognise in myself and it gives me hope and confidence for the success of my own business.

Low-key networking

As someone who often struggles in social situations, low-key networking suits me perfectly, because the onus isn’t on being social for the sake of it.

I’ve found that chatting to, and working with, fellow business owners and the trainers at these events is helping to improve my confidence in interacting socially. These events also provide opportunities for informal feedback and reflection.

Two of them also resulted in me securing my first two clients, which was completely unexpected!

Reassurance

Being surrounded by peers at these events reassures and reminds me that although I’m a solopreneur, there’s an array of help, advice and support available from a variety of sources.

And not just at the events themselves but outside of them, there are work, learning and collaboration opportunities.

Sense of community

It’s possible for strangers to become friendly faces because you:

  • see them at more than one event
  • connect on social media
  • become freelance colleagues

This community can also form a solid and supportive lead generating networking database full of brilliant professionals to potentially help grow your business (and theirs).

Freebies!

And last but not least – the freebies! In my experience, events usually provide free:

  • professional (and personal) development – if you attend with a positive mindset
  • food – refreshments and sometimes breakfast and/or lunch depending on the time/duration of the event
  • resources – so far I’ve been given workbooks, worksheets, case study examples, e-courses, pens, post-it notes, a tote bag and useful signposting to more help and advice from leaflets and business cards

If you’re a new business owner, or considering setting up a new venture, I’d definitely recommend attending free events.

I find out about relevant local events on Eventbrite and through email subscriptions to all my local business support organisations.

Let me know how you get on @penningplanning

Comments

PRO
8th November 2018

Leif Kendall

I found networking really difficult when I was starting out. I had never done any networking, so didn’t know what to expect – or what was expected of me.

But it’s worth pushing yourself past the difficult first stage, because having a professional network is like having a family; they will support you, challenge you, encourage you – and sometimes drive you totally crazy.

Networking isn’t just about finding work; it’s about getting to know other professionals in your area and learning from each other. And sometimes, the lovely people you meet will bring you work – or turn into clients.

PRO
9th November 2018

Ben McKinney

I enjoy networking. I’ve found the contacts and extended business network you make are almost as valuable as any actual work that you get from it.

I was a BNI member in my previous business, but wasn’t sure it would bring in much ROI as a freelance copywriter, so would be interested to hear others’ experiences of whether regular networking / membership has worked for them.

PRO
10th November 2018

Claire Jennison

I agree Leif – networking definitely isn’t just about finding work but it’s fantastic for your continuing professional development as well as finding/expanding your business support ‘tribe’.

I haven’t joined any of the bigger networking memberships yet Ben but it’s something I’m considering for the future. I’m concerned about the ROI too so it’s something I’ll investigate for a while before committing myself!

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