Attending a business conference can be a great way to network.  But if you work for yourself, you have to pick up the tab.  When it is worthwhile to do so?

Going to a conference can be fun and productive, especially if it’s being held in a great city.  But it can be costly.  Here's some food for thought to help you in deciding if expensive business conferences are worth it.

The type of business you run is a big factor.  If you can work from a lap top, you’re not losing money because you can continue to operate remotely.  If you have a brick and mortar store and you’re the sole employee, you are losing money by closing down the store while you’re away.

There are costs involved if you attend a conference to promote a side business. You’ll have to take time away from your 9-5 which may or may not be paid and you’ll be burning up vacation days to do it.

If you can’t attend a big, out of town conference, check out Meetup.  There may be an appropriate group right in your back yard.  And if there isn’t, you can always start one.

If you’re an introvert, a big conference is probably not for you.  Instead of a monster sized event, try to find a smaller, more intimate one where you can interact on a more one to one basis.

Like most things in life, you get out of a conference what you put into it.  If you sit in the corner not talking to anyone and not paying attention during the lectures, you will have wasted your money and time.

Making friends should be the main focus of attending a conference. If you are able to do that then good things will happen. The key here is to focus on establishing relationships with new contacts as opposed to simply handing out a bunch of business cards.

Related Reading: The 10 Most Expensive and Exclusive Business Conferences

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