Conferences can be an effective networking resource. Here are some top events.
Conferences can be exhausting in the best kind of way. Hustling from one panel to the next, getting inspired to do better work, being surrounded by — and making connections with — people as passionate as you are about your profession. And as a new freelancer, it can be another tool in your arsenal (which you should jumpstart with Lightpost).
Find your perfect conference! It could be just the networking opportunity you need. (Photo: Eric Busch)
“It was amazing and mind-blowing, and I felt like it connected my solitary freelance world to the greater community of people in my industry,” David Vogler, an Upstate New York web developer, says of the SXSW Interactive conference he has attended in Austin, Texas.
Sound promising? Here’s the buzz on some of this year’s most worthwhile freelance conferences around the country:
The Freelance Conference. Billed as the premiere industry-agnostic conference for freelancers, the self-employed are invited for three days of “connection, collaboration and play.” Choose from sessions such as “Breaking Free from Feast or Famine: 3 Strategies to Increase and Stabilize Your Income” and “Campire: How and When to Fire Clients.” Sept. 7-9 in Austin, Texas.
HOW Design Live. The nation’s top graphic design conference offers seven programs (design and creativity, branding and packaging, vision and leadership, in-house management, creative enterpreneur, interactive design, and tools and resources) with more than 100 speakers. May 2-6 in Chicago.
Excellence in Journalism. Co-hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, this conference includes breakout sessions, deep-dive workshops, and an expo for those interested in new technologies, software products and journalism best practices. Sept. 7-9 in Anaheim, Calif.
SPJ also hosts 13 regional conferences to bring journalists, students and journalism educators together for day-long professional development meetings. Industry experts explore topics including how to improve writing and leverage technology in today’s new media climate. March through May, depending on the region.
BlogHer. Content creators, social media influencers, entrepreneurs, media makers and brand marketers gather at this annual conference for women. Sessions include “Transforming Your Life After 40” and “Modern Love: Blended Families, Fluid Identities, and Digital Intimacies.” June 22-24 in Orlando, Fla.
ASJA. The American Society of Journalists and Authors, the country’s leading membership organization for freelancers, will have 46 instructive panel sessions and workshops, as well as four keynote speakers, during its 46th annual conference. New sessions this year include “How to Create the Ultimate Profitable Side Hustle” and “Ghostwriter for Hire: The Six Strategies to a Six-Digit Income.” May 5-6 in New York City.
Podcast Movement. Whether you’re looking to get into podcasting or already are established in the podcasting industry, more than 120 speakers will offer tips on refining production techniques, monetizing and other ways to be successful in this space. An exhibition hall will feature more than 80 podcast-specific software, hardware and technology companies. Aug. 23-25 in Anaheim, Calif.
Pockets not deep enough to attend one of these? Do what Vogler does when he’s on a budget and focus more on regional events. Many large conferences post presentations and videos online afterward, anyway. You may not get the same number of networking benefits, but you might learn enough to boost your business and afford to make a farther trip in 2018.
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