Investing in In-Person Education
When it comes to educational resources for small businesses, there is A LOT out there. Workshops, coaching, downloadable guides, online courses, blogs…it goes on and on. With resources so readily accessible, it’s easy to convince yourself that you shouldn’t be spending much money on education. Why pay for something that you could find for free elsewhere? Not only is free information online limited, but it won’t bring you the same experiences as many paid educational opportunities. This is especially true when it comes to in-person education.
I wholeheartedly believe that every year you’re in business, you should invest in some kind of education. Every now and then, you want to make sure that you’re investing in some type of in-person education. This includes events such as conferences, workshops, or retreats. I know — it can be really expensive. However, not budgeting in order to invest in in-person education is a HUGE mistake. Online education is great, and the luxury of learning from the comfort of your own home is wonderful, but you’re missing out on a LOT of opportunities. What opportunities, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
1. Making New Connections Within the Industry
This is a no-brainer. Attending in-person educational opportunities allows you to make connections within the industry you could never make sitting at home behind your computer. Meeting people face-to-face can be intimidating, but it can open so many doors for your business! People you meet at events could be potential clients for you, even if they don’t become clients right away. I currently work with several people I met at workshops and conferences over 3 years ago, and one of them just reached out this year! Showing up matters. Making an impression matters.
The best part about meeting potential clients face-to-face is that everyone is getting to know each other. This means you can sell yourself what you do without sounding like a sales person. Sounds better than sending a cold email to a photographer you barely know, doesn’t it? They’re more receptive to you and what you have to say. Likewise, they get to tell you about themselves, so it’s a double-win for you! You get to sell yourself AND you get to know the personality of potential clients right there. You instantly know if you are a good fit for each other!
Even if connections you make at conferences never become clients, you are still getting a chance to make new friends in the industry. New friends always have the potential to become a really great support group for you and your business.
2. Getting Referrals
Not every person you connect with at an event is going to turn out to be a new client. However, now that people within your industry have gotten to know you, they are more likely to refer you for opportunities. I’ve received tons referrals from people who aren’t my clients simply because they know who I am and what I do. After getting to know me, they trust that I am going to provide a good client experience. They feel comfortable recommending me, even though they haven’t worked with me before. When people have an actual connection with you, they are going to do what they can to help you succeed. I guarantee you are going to get more referrals from people you’ve met in person than people who you occasionally talk to in Facebook groups!
3. Actually Following Through
How many online courses have you purchased that you never finished? I know I’m guilty of not completing a course all the way through. Purchasing a course to complete on your own time sounds great in theory, but sometimes life just happens! Time becomes scarce and soon you forget all about completing that course. Investing in in-person educational opportunities can be expensive, but you’re actually going to follow through on it. If you spend money on multiple courses you never finish, is that really a good investment for your business? Bite the bullet, spend the money, and get the most out of the education you’re investing in!
Don’t Miss Out!
In addition to these three opportunities you’re missing out on, the education that you get to learn from in-person workshops, retreats, and conferences simply can’t be beaten. Conferences feature many different speakers and cover a huge range of topics. You’re getting help in ALL areas of your business. Workshops are usually led by one or two people, but if it’s an expert in the industry, then the information you’ll learn is incredibly valuable. Not to mention, you can ask all of the questions you want! Retreats can vary in the way they are set up. Sometimes, they’re a small, intimate conference with speakers. Other times, they’re more of bonding experience with some education. Either way, you are going to benefit greatly attending a retreat! This is the event you’ll be the most likely to make new friends within the industry.
I myself try to do one big event each year. My first year in business I did a conference a few workshops; the second year, I did a couple workshops; and the third I did a retreat. This year, I’m attending the Make It Happen conference in March, and I’m hosting my very first retreat! I’m very excited for both of these events, and I hope you’ll consider joining us in July for The Photo Editors Retreat! To find out more, you can click the below! Have a beautiful Wednesday, friends!