How to Use Meetup.com to Grow Your Freelancing Business
December 15, 2015
If you’re hustling, chances are, you’re always on the hunt for the next client or freelance project. You’ve probably heard of Meetup.com before, but the real question is: are you utilizing it to its fullest potential for your business?
You’ve probably discovered how they can leverage Twitter to build their client base. Maybe you experienced similar success with LinkedIn and Facebook.
Well, now it’s time to back away from the screen and start networking in the real world. (Don’t worry, we won’t abandon the screen altogether – Meetup is a website after all.)
As with many other possible source of leads and clients, you’ll need to put in the time to learn how to use MeetUp to grow your business. Attending the right groups is key to using the platform to grow your business. Follow that up by being friendly, professional and knowledgeable and you’ll have more clients that you’ve ever wanted.
In today’s article, I’m going to walk you through 6 strategies that you can use to become a Meetup rockstar. Are you ready to make some awesome connections and land more clients?
Attend Meetups to Grow Your Knowledge
As a freelancer, your entire business rests on your knowledge and skillset. And expanding your knowledge is one sure-fire way to see growth and have long term success.
The first thing you’ll want to do is seek out meetups to help you do this. I’ve found that topics around business finances, sales, marketing and project management are great places to start – especially if you want to develop a stronger business sense.
New systems and workflows will enable you to run a stronger business.
And a stronger business means an enhanced amount of success. Branching out into these kinds of meetups will expose you to new marketing and organizational strategies that may help you scale in ways you hadn’t considered.
The effects of attending meetups based on learning new information will help grow your business alone. On top of that, you’ll may meet people in the groups who need your services.
For example: If you offer content marketing services, you might find willing clients at marketing meetups. Avoid hard-pitching them, all you need to do is exhibit your professionalism and expertise in your chosen area.
Attend Meetups to Grow Your Peer Network
Next up: Grow your peer network.
Seek out meetup groups that are specifically geared towards freelancers. You’ll enhance your business both through referrals/partnerships and by learning from more experienced freelancers.
Freelancers often have complementary trades that often result in partnership opportunities. You might have a website that needs copy, for example. Networking at these events will certainly improve your chances of teaming up and earning a referral.
Surrounding yourself with expert freelancers will undoubtedly help you grow your business. Finding peers is something I wish had intentionally focused on earlier in my freelance career. Now that I am, it’s amazing to see how well it pays off.
You’ll likely expand your peer network by attending meetups to grow your knowledge, but putting forth the extra effort in the freelance community is well worth it.
Attend Meetups Where Your Target Market Will Be
Who is your target market? If you already have an answer, you’re about to reap the rewards for putting in the leg work. (If not, you’ll need to learn how to define your target market right away.)
Once you identify your target market, ask yourself what types of meetups they’d attend.
As an example: If you specialize in selling services to tech-based startups, discover local events that draw in the techie crowd.
Regularly attending the same meetups as your target market can do wonders for your business.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should start handing out business cards like they’re shady Las Vegas flyers. Instead, participate in the event as a normal attendee. You can discuss your business when appropriate.
Showcase your brilliance when you can and only pitch your services when it seems necessary.
Establish Your Own Meetup for Your Peers
Anyone can create a meetup group, even you.
To get your feet wet with this endeavor, I’d advise creating one for your peers. You may wish to wait until you’ve built a larger peer network through other meetups, but that’s not a requirement.
Having your own meetup group sets you up as the authority of your trade.
If you do well, you can become the go-to provider for partnership opportunities that occur within the freelancing community. Your name will be out there and people will respect your expertise.
Once established, you may even have to start having paid consulting hours.
Establish You Own Meetup for Your Target Audience
If you’re skilled at your craft, then you should be able to teach something to your target market. Identify something that your market desperately needs to learn that you can teach them.
Depending on what you do, your audience might even require some education to understand why they should use your services.
Create a meetup that focuses on networking, knowledge and opportunities specifically for your target audience. Simply creating the meetup group will only go so far, you’ll need to put in the time to create a truly successful meetup.
Become a Guest Speaker at an Established Meetup
Seek out an established meetup in your area that’s relevant to what you do. Reach out and ask the host if you can be a guest speaker on a chosen topic.
Sure, they might say no, but my mom always taught me it never hurts to ask – and she hasn’t been wrong yet.
If they agree, make sure to put in the time to make it an unforgettable presentation. Don’t expect to freestyle a speech unless you have years of experience doing exactly that.
Be prepared, do your research and have a game plan. Nailing a speech for the right audience can elevate your career to the next level.
It’s Time to Become a Meetup Rockstar
Meetup is one of those online communities that entirely too many freelancers and business owners at large completely ignore.
Meetup.com has helped me build my career in many ways. I’ve formed new partnerships, landed amazing clients and learned skills that resulted in new opportunities.
I’m sure it can work for you too.
Have you used Meetup? Have you used Meetup specifically to land new freelance clients? What worked and what didn’t work? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
about the author
Chelsei Henderson is a content marketing consultant helping freelancers and entrepreneurs build successful companies in the digital world.