Should Freelancers Go to Conferences?

In September, I tried something new.

I attended my first business-related conference (SumoCon, hosted by AppSumo.)

The thing was: I wasn’t really sure if conferences were for me.

I’d been to my fair share of work-related conferences in the past (and at this point in my freelancing career) I went in knowing that it very likely might not become a habit.

Why so skeptical?

Being out of the office means not writing, and that means not making money for a few days (and doing what I love!)

Plus, conferences + meeting lots of new people = waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone, if I’m being 100% honest.

But, I wanted to attend this particular conference as it seemed like one that was relevant to my particular niche, it was one a few of my Twitter pals were attending/speaking at (hello face-time and goodbye loneliness for a few days!), and the topics being covered were ones I sincerely want to learn about.

So I bought my ticket, and off I went.

How’d It Go?

The conference itself did have some insightful sessions and excellent speakers (Bryan Harris, Tommy Griffith, and Justin Jackson were my favorites.)

However, some of the topics weren’t ultra relevant to me as a freelancer, and overall I’d say this particular conference was best suited for small to mid-sized business owners and entrepreneurs rather than freelancers.

I did love meeting some of the people I’d chatted with on Twitter for years face-to-face and getting to even go out for tacos with them one night. In doing this, I also met lots of nice new people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Three cheers for that!

On the bummer side: I’d say 80% of conference attendees were men. Nothing wrong with the dudes--they were all very nice--just would’ve liked to see some more diversity in the demographic.

The Point Is...

It’s always important to learn and try new things, so I’m glad I gave this a whirl. Does it mean I’m going to become a business card slinging, 10-conference-a-year attender? Ummm...probably not. Actually, I can guarantee that’s not going to happen.

The point is: Sometimes, it’s important to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things--especially for the sake of education, learning, and making new connections for your business.

Added bonus (and probably the best part?) of all of this: I also got some one-on-one time with Emma, a fellow freelance writer and friend, who I’ve been working closely with for 3+ years.

Not only did we get to learn at this conference together, but afterwards, we got to work in the same space for a few days, brainstorm on some ideas for clients we share, and talk about what’s ahead for both of our businesses.

That’s amazing.

So here’s what I learned: If you’re a freelancer who hasn’t taken a break to go to a conference or to meet up with someone who “gets” you and what you do--I encourage you to do it. I think it’s one of the best things you can do for your business.

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