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Why You Should Attend Conference as a Bootstrapper

I’ve written before about my trips to bootstrapper conferences but I still see startup owners who don’t ‘get’ conferences. I said that MicroConf is a ‘catalyst to business success‘ and I still believe it. So, why don’t more people attend? Often it’s for financial reasons or because they’re worried about the sterotypical startup culture. I can’t argue with that (but I know the debate will rage on). However, I truly believe it’s up to you to get the most out of a conference. You can’t just turn up, listen to a seminar, take notes and go home. Go with a purpose. Decide on an outcome that will equate to a successful trip and hustle until you achieve it.

These comments often elucidate a fault of conferences in that they don’t cater to introverts (which seems to be a stereotypical view of developers in particular). I’ve attended a few conferences in the last few years and the vast majority have been welcoming, fascinating and instrumental to advancing my knowledge and career.

Better for Your Business

My good friend, Jaana, who runs the finest Stripe analytics service, I know, puts it beautifully:

When you’re building a product, #microconf is inspiring – when you have a product, it’s an awesome goldmine
jaana-kulmala Jaana Kulmala, via Twitter

 

Better for You

The ‘so, what do you do?’ question is almost never asked at these conferences. Instead it’s ‘so, what are you working on?’. I find this so much easier to answer, and way more fun! In general, attendees are kind, considerate and often in the same boat as you. Whilst the strategies and techniques that you can learn from seminars are excellent, the opportunities to make new friends are paramount. Some people call this ‘networking’ but it could be finding a cofounder, it could be finding people to start a mastermind with. It could be finding somebody to have coffee and a chat with. It could be finding somebody to spend the rest of your life with.

Choose Your Conference

There are plenty of bootstrapper/freelancer/solopreneur conferences. Local or international, choose one that works for you and go! My recommendations are that you check out the following:

Microconf

rob-walling mike-taber
http://www.microconf.com/

Run by the charming duo of Rob Walling an Mike Taber with a focus on bootstrapping your small business to success.
(twice per year, once in Europe, once in Las Vegas)

BaconBiz

amy-hoy
http://baconbiz.com/

Run by the inimitable Amy Hoy and Alex Hillman with a focus on selling products to people who want to buy your products.

DYFConf

brennan-dunn

http://doubleyourfreelancing.com/conf/
Run by bootstrapper, consultant and freelancers’ friend, Brennan Dunn, this conference teaches you how to market, sell and manage your business more effectively.