Before we start, I want you to answer one question: what is your main motivation?
There can be plenty of reasons why you would start a meetup:
- Meet people with similar interests
- Have stimulating intellectual discussions
- Learn from more experienced people
- Work on a project / hobby alongside other people
- Get feedback from others on our work / hobby / projects
For me, it was about meeting like-minded people.
I always had an interest in starting an online business and with my engineering background, I knew I could build the product. However, in my city, most meetups where either directed at entrepreneurs or at software engineers. None for both.
So after going to countless meetups that did not click, I decided to start my own: Indie London, a meetup for software engineers that have set out to build a profitable online business (a.k.a indie hackers).
The main advantage of starting a meetup is that you get to put in room the people you want.
So ask yourself:
- Who would you like to meet?
- Who would you like to hang out more around?
If you are considering starting a bookclub it means you are keen on meeting people that like to read (maybe a specific genre you are into). If you have a very niche hobby, starting a meetup might be a way to connect with more people to learn from.
Once you are clear for whom you want to start the meetup, think of where these people hangout today. Are you already part of a forum, a Facebook Group, or any other online community with the same target audience? Are there already some local group where those people hangout?
When it comes down to promoting your event, you can always rely on direct outreach: don’t be shy of messaging on Twitter or LinkedIn people you would think would have an interest in your event.
Once you get started, and depending on the format, some of the great benefits of organising a meetup is that you get to meet tons of people. As the organiser, you are the main figure, greeting everyone.
If you have speakers, you get to hang out with them: in our case we invite bootstrapped entrepreneurs with millions of revenue and it has been a privilege for me to get to know them.
Finally, if your events become somewhat successful, you might be able to onboard sponsors and turn a profit.