Whether you’re a freelance writer or designer, being on top of your professional game at all times is a must. By continually pushing your creative limits and by giving everything on each project, you’re more likely to remain relevant in the competitive freelance industry.
In trying to ever-expand your creative capacity, you may regularly consider attending conferences designed for creative professionals. Conferences can be great places to meet other freelancers and to connect with potential clients. These events can also develop your skills and expand your creative exposure. Unfortunately, they can also be expensive. If you have a limited freelancing budget, the following are four ways to decide if conferences are really necessary for you to attend.
Do Your Research
While in a creative slump, you may be tempted to register for and attend a freelance conference on a whim. Unfortunately, that type of impulse decision making will bring many expenses including registration fees, hotel charges and airplane tickets. When on a limited budget, the expense of an impulse conference attendance will do more harm than good.
Do your research on any freelance conference you’re thinking of attending. From understanding what will be taught in each conference session to researching the types of professionals that will attend, every detail you assess will help you decide whether the conference is the best option. Also, before registering for a conference, research similar events being offered throughout the year to help you select the most relevant one.
Attend to Network
While a conference’s sessions can be enriching and inspiring, the most value you may gain from a conference is the building of a freelance network. Working as a freelancer from home can leave you feeling isolated. By occasionally attending freelance conferences, you can connect with other creative professionals and can expand your client network. Of course, there are other less expensive networking options to consider before attending a conference solely to network with others.
Know Your Needs
Some conferences are designed for newbie freelancers while others are directed toward advanced professionals. Registering for and attending the wrong conference would not only be disheartening, it would also be a waste of money. By knowing what you need to gain from a conference, you can then select the most relevant event.
Complete a Recap
If you do attend a freelance conference, complete an after-event assessment. This assessment should include such things as reviewing what you learned, whether you were inspired by the conference sessions and whether it was worth the money. This recap is one of the most important elements of the conference experience because it will help you decide whether you’ll be attending future events.
Conferences for creative professionals can help expand your creative knowledge but they can also be expensive. Rather than registering for conferences on a whim, research the events in advance. By knowing what you want to learn at a conference and by assessing the value you stand to gain from an event, you can effectively determine whether or not a conference is your best option for advancing your skills and freelance business.
Author Bio: Shayla Ebsen is a full-time freelance writer and graphic designer with more than seven years combined experience from her time in the corporate world and through her freelance work. Shayla’s education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in News/Editorial Journalism from South Dakota State University and a Master of Arts degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Organizational Communication from the University of South Dakota. Learn more about Shayla and her services at shaylaebsen.com.