If you are new to organising event I would suggest picking a format that would work with only 5 people joining. Starting your own meetup can be a daunting task, which is why this guide breakdowns all the steps. So don’t be afraid to start small and learn along the way.
We share below some inspiration on which format to choose for your very first event.
If you target to have up to 5 people joining your even, then a good start is to plan an event at a cafe or bar. Make sure to pick a place where you know you can book a table or get one on the day.
Dinners are a great way to get together with 5-10 people. I would try to keep it below 8 people. Make sure to find a quiet place and to book in advance. Since you expect less than 10 people, the best way to coordinate is to get everyone on a chat group (e.g. via text, WhatsApp, Messenger…).
On the day, ask everyone to first introduce themselves for people to get to know each other. Don’t worry about conversation topics: since you are putting like-minded people in the same room, conversations will start and flow very quickly!
One of the most successful meetup I know with this format is IndieBeers. It all started at the end of 2018 with a post on Indie Hackers. The first couple of IndieBeers meetup had 5-10 indie hackers gathering at a local pub to discuss what they were working on. From there, Charlie grew the meetup to 30+ people meeting every month. You can read more about the story behind IndieBeers here.
This is how we started Indie London.
I made a post on Indie Hackers at the beginning of 2018 asking if anyone was from London and keen to meet. We moved the conversation over chat and co-ordinated to find a date that worked for most (Doodle is your friend). We were lucky to have one of the attendees offer to host us in their office’s lounge for an evening.
On the day, 15 people showed up. We started by sharing who we were and what we were each working on. From then people split out into groups based on their interests and exchanged stories and advices throughout the evening.
As the Indie London meetup grew in popularity we introduced speakers. At each event, we feature two speakers from our community sharing learnings from their journey as indie entrepreneurs.
This type of events can accommodate any number of attendees, although having a critical mass of 20-30 people might help to find speakers among your community.
The main challenge with the speaker format though is that you have to find a proper location to host your meetup. You want a quiet place with sufficient space and AV equipment for your speakers to present.
The Find speakers section of this guide get into more detail on how to put such an event together.
In November 2018, we hosted a workshop event for the Indie London community.
The purpose of a workshop is to get members of your community to work together on a concrete project. It is said that people create stronger bonds when working through challenges together.
When putting together a workshop event you will want to have specific activities defined in advance. The activities have to be of interests for your community and people should work together.
You want to have more than 10 attendees to organise a workshop in order to create at least 2-3 teams. You will need one or more co-ordinator to guide the attendees as they work through the different activities.
During Indie London’s workshop day, attendees were put into teams and worked through different exercises about marketing, sales and product development. We had a co-ordinator - Alex Teranda - that introduced each activities with a small presentation of what was expected from the teams. We had a few mentors join us during the day to help the teams complete the exercises. At the end of the day, all the teams presented their results and gave feedback to each other.