Why you should attend business events, and when not to

Living in Toronto, there is no shortage of business-related events to go to.  There must be at least one every night.  So as an entrepreneur trying to make a mark, how important is it to attend these events?  What happens if you don’t attend these events?  In this blog post, I will share my own experiences with going to events and provide a real look into how useful it has been in the growth of my business, particularly in the first two years.

When I was first starting off, I found that the events were immensely helpful, because it helped me formulate what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to do it.  I learned something new each time and the discussions about common challenges helped me better prepare my business.  I was inspired by the people that I met at these events and was intrigued by their journey.

I realized that going to these events made me feel like I’m going on a journey, without actually going on the journey.  It was amazing to learn about starting a business without having to take all of the risks.  It was great to learn through other people, and I think it helped me avoid mistakes that I otherwise would have made.  That said, I found that there were diminishing returns.

At some point, the events start to all feel like a blur.  The business challenges discussed seemed to be the same discussions each time.  Even the people that I see at these events started to look familiar.  The more events I went to, the more I found myself itching to leave to do some actual tactical work on my business.  And that’s when I realized that some of the people at these events will be lifetime entrepreneur aspirers.  It’s just too easy to go to these business events thinking that you’re taking the first step to being an entrepreneur (like I said, going on a journey, without actually going on the journey) when that’s really not the case.  The first step to being an entrepreneur requires action to be taken towards actually building something.

I kept getting invited to more business events and initially I had FOMO, but nowadays my approach to attending business events has changed.  I check out the location of the event, who’s hosting the event and how much fun I think I can have at the event.  You can bet that I will scope out the food, drinks and swag that I can get at the events.  I realize that sounds really unprofessional, but I’m not kidding.  Going to business events is not going to make or break my business, and the main reason why I’m out is to meet people and have fun.  I also think that business networking events coverage is fantastic content for social media.  Many times when I’m at these events, I’m also covering them on my social media.

Here is a vlog of my coverage of day 1 of the QuickBooks Connect 2018 Toronto conference.

 

I highly encourage people to go to business networking events but I want people to appreciate that these events are for meeting people and genuinely getting to learn a little bit about them, inspiration on your journey, and fun! At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much knowledge and inspiration you take away from these events if you don’t go home and start building something out of it.  Don’t be a lost soul going from event to event with the idea that this is the first step in your journey to building something great.  The first step in building something great is building and you can’t do that if you’re at events all the time.