Do You Even Conference Bro?
I've been in Thailand for about 3.5 weeks now, and have spoken to literally hundreds of other internet marketers over the past couple of weeks.
It's been amazing.
I don't know the best way to get my point across except by just telling the story of the past month, and why it relates to you.
I flew into Krabi at the start of October to spend a week relaxing with my wife and getting over my jet-lag, before flying back up to Bangkok a week later.
I'm in a few online communities besides WA, and one of them has a conference every year in Bangkok. This was my third year attending, and I was looking forward to catching up with friends I'd made in previous years, and making new friends as well.
When a conference is tied to a community (rather than being just a big cash-grab exhibition conference with thousands of people), there are more hugs than handshakes, so it's really great to hang out every year with these people, and I usually look forward to it for months.
This year was extra special for me, because I was going to be one of the speakers, talking about how I'd scaled up my team of freelancers.
As awesome an achievement as that is, it's only a small part of the story.
The conference was 4-5 days of meeting, networking, and exchanging business ideas. The Friday took on a "mastermind" format where you sit around a table with 7 other people and talk about an issue your business has, while people brainstorm ways to solve it. I had some people on my table who are professional business coaches, so I guess I got lucky there ha.
After the conference, I flew to Koh Samui with about 14 other guys to stay in a massive villa for 4 nights (actually it was 2 villas side by side). This was like an intense extension of the conference really, because while we were all very good friends, we were all also very much into business, and we'd sit round the pool with beers giving each other business advice and sharing tips we'd learned over the year.
As an example of the company I was in, there were people from the Thrive Themes marketing team there, as well as people who were involved in buying Long Tail Pro last year, and some other successful people.
So with the 4 nights of business brainstorming behind us, some of us have flown up to Chiang Mai (all of these places mentioned are in Thailand, FYI) for another week, where we'll attend another SEO conference at the end of the week. Again, it seems every day I'm in a coffee shop or dinner environment talking about business and internet marketing with other people.
It's been incredible.
Communities are great and online ones like WA are fantastic for that purpose, but there's something about in-person discussions that you can't quite get anywhere else.
I wish WA hosted a conference, but I know that K+C have their reasons for not wanting to do so, which is fair enough.
So my advice for those of you who don't go to conferences isn't necessarily to run out and sign up to the next big one near you (there are definitely some conferences that aren't as good as others), but definitely to look in your area and see if there are any smaller meetups or in-person groups you can hang out with from time to time.
It's definitely true that some meetups I've been to I haven't connected with anyone or I've felt they aren't the right fit, but when you find a group of people who do exactly what you do, it's amazing.
I've levelled up my business acumen in the past few weeks way more than I did the rest of the year, and it's all because of my willingness to meet more people and grow more.
Getting to attend the VIP speakers dinner helped too!
By the way, Chiang Mai is crazy. It's like a digital nomad mecca!
P.S I've deliberately not mentioned the names of either of the conferences I'm attending in case it sounds promotional.