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Are Industry Conferences Worth the Money?

The first time I threw down my hard earned cash to attend a conference for design agency owners was a struggle. It wasn't just the conference fee ($1,200 over 20 years ago) but also the travel cost. I knew I had a lot to learn about running a profitable business but there was no guarantee that I would get the answers I needed at the Mind Your Own Business conference (which is still going strong).

That event changed my life. I met lifelong friends who faced similar challenges and generously shared their resources. I heard speakers who had already overcome business obstacles and they inspired me while providing real solutions. That conference absolutely changed the trajectory of the business and my career. I learned that we were giving away our time and after we fixed the issue, we billed an additional $150k in fees without working more over the next year. Do the math, it was most definitely a worthwhile investment.

Alt Summit Conference in Palm Springs

Not all conferences are created equally. It's important to know why you're going and what you hope to take away. Some are great for networking, like Alt Summit - a 3 day event where we made new friends, got inspired and very likely found some great new customers.

Others have very practical workshops, like Ultimate Product Party. You could attend every single session that might impact your business. Or you could be selective and spend your free time applying what you've learned to your goals and planning your next steps to achieve them. A lot of business owners are too busy working IN the business to spend time working ON it. Maybe a few days away from the day-to-day stuff would give you an opportunity to think big and strategically.

Ultimate Product Party Conference notebook

I'll be speaking at UPP this year on realizing your value and negotiating for yourself, it will inspire attendees but I'm a person who wants my time to net real results so I always include practical takeaways. 

There's measurable value in learning and connecting. If you decide to go to a conference, spend time setting your intentions. What do you hope to learn? Who do you want to meet? What would make the expense worth the investment? And then it's time to be bold and make the very most of the experience. 

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