The joys of Meetup.com (Not Dating)
Yesterday evening, I was fortunate enough to attend an inspirational talk by John Purkiss, a distinguished author and public speaker. This event was set up through Meetup.com which, for those of you who have not heard of it, is an online platform that enables you to search for local meet-ups, seminars, social events tailored to your specific interests. You can then become part of specific interest groups and attend a series of events, developing further any relationships you may build. For an aspiring entrepreneur with business interests, it is an absolute Goldmine!
I came across the site through following a few angel investors and serial entrepreneurs on Twitter. I read a few tweets about workshops and seminars they were running and was keen to get involved in any way I could! When I expressed my interest I was kindly directed to a meet-up two days later aimed at tech entrepreneurs. The theme was around building a personal brand, based around John’s (and David Royston-Lee) book ‘Brand You’.
I walked in to the 6th floor of 2, More Street on the south bank of Thames and straight into the most ideal situation for anyone wanting to go into business. I have never before been in a place full of so many like-minded people! When it came to introduce myself and explain what I was doing and what I wanted out of life etc, I barely had to speak! Everyone was just on the same wavelength and understood me almost instantly.
As I mentioned in the previous post on Intrepreneurship, young entrepreneurs ultimately don’t know that much about the business world, however much we convince ourselves otherwise. I can’t stress enough the importance of putting yourself out there and just diving into random opportunities. I have walked away with two ‘start-up support’ meetings, just through turning up, getting involved in the workshop and going for a beer with everyone afterwards! Even if you don’t have a burning idea, just go along and learn about other people’s ideas and listen to their varying opinions. That way you will not only become a more rounded entrepreneur, entertaining the thoughts of others, but you will grow your professional network faster than you can imagine. Luke Aikman (founder of Loccit and a variety of other businesses) once told me that the most important thing for a young entrepreneur to do is to surround themselves with a team of advisors and supporters. Meetup.com offers this for very minimal effort and best of all it is completely free!