I enjoy attending local events and meetups, and lately I’ve been going to more of them. It’s a great place to meet people, learn new ideas and I just like an excuse to get out of the house from time to time.
When I run into others that are in my field, it’s typically a great thing. The entire crowd at any given WordPress Meetup could be considered “competition” to one another (we’re all web developers trying to make a living), but it doesn’t feel that way at all. We share knowledge and ideas, and help people solve their problems. It’s wonderful.
I’ve found the same to be true of other meetings; when I meet fellow web developers we typically exchange info and keep up with each other. Building that kind of community around your business can be very helpful and rewarding.
Yesterday was weird, though. I went to the Marietta Business Association for the first time, as I’ve heard it’s a good group (and it is). Before lunch I was hanging out talking to folks and was chatting with a guy that works for an I.T./web company. As soon as he found out what I did, he said “Oh, that’s pretty much what we do too” and was clearly done. In other words “I can’t sell you my stuff, so I’m wasting my time“. It was quite surprising, and more than a little bit rude. We swapped business cards and he took off.
After the meeting, I went home and emailed the folks that I met to say thanks for their time. For example, one woman owns a catering company and will be providing lunch at the meeting next month, so I simply said that it was nice to meet her and I was looking forward to a great lunch next month. Since I typically email everyone I get cards from, I emailed the I.T./web guy as well — something like “nice to meet you, if I have a client with IT needs I’ll certainly keep you in mind”.
I guess that was enough to jumpstart him, so he sent back a lengthy response telling me exactly what kind of client he’s looking for, all of the things they can do, how great they are, etc. He’s clearly a sales guy, and maybe that kind of technique works, but seemed awfully pushy to me. I much prefer working with folks, learning from them, and knowing what their strengths and weaknesses are. In the case of this guy, all I know is that he’s a rude, pushy salesman that does I.T. I won’t be sending anyone his direction.
On the other hand, here are some great people in the Atlanta area that I’ve met over the past few months that might be valuable to some of you:
- If you need basic WordPress training, Kathy Drewien is very knowledgeable and patient.
- If you need SEO or copywriting help, Jenny Munn can get it done.
- If you send out email newsletters, Patrick Carver has a sweet solution being developed.
- If you need web hosting, Carel Bekker’s company is top-notch and very affordable.
- If you need I.T. support, Derrick Eisenhardt is a great guy to use.
The list goes on and on. While I’m sure it doesn’t work this way in every industry, I’ve found it invaluable to connect with these people and many others like them, and I’m looking forward to meeting plenty more in the near future. If you’re in the Atlanta area and you’re into WordPress, come check out Kathy’s meetup, Marna’s meetup, or a new one that I’m starting in a few weeks.
If WordPress isn’t your thing (or you’re not in the area), look for a Meetup or other group near you and start connecting with like-minded folks today!