6 Ways to Attend a Conference for Free

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Being a fan of Nomadic Matt for years, I was excited to volunteer and to go to his conference (TravelCon) to learn more about traveling and blogging.

Conferences are a great way to learn more in depth about a specific topic. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, but rest assured there are 6 ways to go to a conference for free or for a discounted rate.

In addition, a lot of conference speakers also speak at free events, and for tips on how they find them at free events please check out the article here.

1. Volunteer

A lot of conferences need volunteers and are willing to trade in volunteer hours for a free ticket. Reach out to the event organizer to see if there are volunteer opportunities.

Example: I recently attended TravelCon to learn more about travel blogging and only had to volunteer 8 hours to get a free ticket.

Savings: $300 (3 day general admission). When doing the math for each hour worked it was equivalent to $37.50 per hour. ($300/8 = $37.50)

2. Apply for Scholarships

In addition to volunteering, some conferences also offer scholarships to attend the conference.

Example: For the Create & Cultivate San Francisco conference, there is a scholarship application for round-trip travel, a one-night stay, and a ticket for you and a friend to attend the conference. The winner will also receive $5,000 to fund their business.

Savings: $350 (general admission) + $5,000 (potential funding)

3. Follow the Conference Hashtags for Giveaways on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Almost 30 is one of my favorite podcasts, and I was excited to win free tickets to go to PopSugar Play/Ground to attend a live podcast taping, fitness classes, and to try wellness “healthy” snacks.

Conferences usually have a hashtag and there are often giveaways for tickets and merchandise.

Example: I got 2 free tickets for PopSugar Play/Ground after entering multiple giveaways on Twitter and Instagram . I used the event’s hashtag #popsugarplayground to look for giveaways, and also won a BedGym resistance band.

Savings: $55 (single day admission)/ BedGym $79.99

4. Check Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for Promo Codes

Use Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as a search engine for promo codes. Type in the “conference’s name and promo code.” Depending on the website, sometimes you can “stack” and use multiple promo codes, which can lead to you going to the conference for free as well.

Example: For promo codes for the SF/Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show, you can type in “SF / Bay Area – Travel and Adventure Show Promo Code.” One of the first Google search results is this Slickdeals article “Free tickets to the 2018 SF Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show” that says to use promo code TZC18 for free tickets.

Savings: $15 (single day admission)

5. Follow the Conference, Speakers, and Sponsors on Social Media

Most conference speakers and sponsors want a high turnout and sometimes they offer either a free promo code or discounted promo code to attend the event. In addition, sometimes the conference offers early bird or last minute sales for tickets.

Example: For the New York Times Travel Show I was able to get a complimentary ticket by using Patricia Schultz’s (1000 Places to See Before You Die) promo code SCHULTZ. She made a Facebook event for the New York Times Travel Show with the promo code listed in the event listing for a free ticket.

Savings: $20 (single day admission)

6. Join Related Facebook Groups

Manifest it LIVE was a great conference about manifestation, and I was lucky enough to get a free ticket through the WE NYC Facebook group.

Facebook groups are a great resource for finding like minded individuals, and sometimes people post promo codes and exclusive offers for events.

Example: I joined the Facebook Group WE NYC to learn about women entrepreneurship. One of the posts was about Manifest It LIVE, and I was lucky enough to receive a free ticket to learn about manifestation.

Savings: $275 (3 day general admission ticket)

Want to See that Conference Speaker? Do Not Want to Pay?

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free wellness panel
AQUA Studio Wellness Panel / From left to right: Dominque Porter (Moderator), Sarah Larson Levey (Founder of Y7 Studio), Esther Gauthier (Founder of AQUA Studio) and Latham Thomas (founder of Mama Glow)

Going to a conference is a great way to learn more about a topic and to meet other people. Unfortunately, not everyone has the funds to go to a conference, In addition, not every conference offers a promo code or contest to get a discounted ticket. Even though, some conferences live stream online, it still misses the human element that allows you to meet and connect with others.

Luckily, that is where free events come in. A lot of speakers do both paid and free events because they can reach audiences at different events and income levels. In addition, some free events are small, so you can easily talk and network with others.

Panels are small and you still learn a lot from the speakers.

Last week I attended a free wellness panel at AQUA Studio that had Sarah Larson Levey (founder of Y7 Studio), Esther Gauthier (founder of AQUA Studio) and Latham Thomas (founder of Mama Glow) as speakers. These women entrepreneurs were inspiring and they discussed how their mothers impacted their business endeavors and health routines.

Levey recently spoke at the Girlboss Rally ($350-700) and Thomas spoke at the #BlogHer18 Health Conference ($50-249).  Both of these conferences can be very motivating, but given that they can be costly, a free wellness panel is a great alternative. In addition, the audience size at the AQUA Studio event was about 20 people, so it was small enough where it was easy to ask the panelists questions.

Free healthy snacks from Local Roots. /Image by Local Roots.

Water, probiotics, and masks are essentials to stay healthy while flying.

My favorite wellness tip from the panel was learning how to prepare your body for a flight. If you are flying, bring a mask (spray with essential oils) and wear a sheet mask after washing your face. The cabin air has a lot of toxins and it is also dehydrating, so it is best to prepare your skin and to drink a lot of water. In addition, if you fly red eye, the airplanes tend to be older, and your body recovers in your sleep; so prepare it by taking probiotics three days prior and after.

This event also had a free Local Roots swag bag, and treats from Dosha Pops, Eboost, and GoMacro. Also Y7 Studio will be hosting free yoga with Fertility Positive on Wednesday, May 22, 2019 from 8am -10am. Be sure to RSVP here.

free swag bag
Free Local Roots swag bag with snacks from GoMacro (protein bar), Dosha Pops (ayurvedic lollipop), and Eboost (energy drink).

Steps to Find that Paid Speaker at a Free Event

1. Follow the speakers and the brands you like on social media.

A few days prior to this event, AQUA Studio posted on Instagram that they were having this wellness panel. Since this was posted on social media, followers can easily make note and RSVP to this event.

2. Check Eventbrite frequently for free events.

I love using the free filter on Eventbrite. To find this wellness event, I typed in panel and I saw the AQUA Studio event posted there as well. Occasionally, pop ups also host free events as well, and you can find more information about how to find them in newsletters, Goldstar, Instagram, and Facebook here.

5 Upcoming Free Wellness Events (NYC)

  1. You Liked Yourself // Exploring Wellness in the 21st Century (Saturday, May 18, 2019 5pm-9pm)
  2. WE’RE NOT YOLKIN’ ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH: Speak Your Truth at HATCH (Monday, May 20,2019 6pm-8pm)
  3. Real Talk: Women and Work Mental Health (Tuesday, May 21, 2019 6:30pm-8pm)
  4. EGG-CERCISE WITH US: Free Yoga with Y7 (Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8am-10am)
  5. Join Us After Work: Building Mental Wellness Panel (Wednesday May 22, 2019 6:30pm-8:30pm

16 Things I Learned from the WAYE Career Day Event

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I love using the free filter on Eventbrite to find events to go to. Some of my favorite events are clothing swaps, fitness, and pop-ups. I also love learning from others and acquiring new skills. Over the weekend, I attended WAYE’s new event series, WAYE Day: A Career Day for Young Entrepreneurs!

Please note, on the surface this event seemed catered towards entrepreneurship. However, a lot of the key takeaways from this event were also relevant transferable skills that you can use towards job hunting and for communicating to others.

WAYE stands for the Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur. This organization provides current and aspiring entrepreneurs with business tools and education that they will need for success.

WAYE Founder Sinead Bovell
Sinead Bovell (WAYE, Founder) gives a talk about finding your passion and executing your dreams.

Sinead Bovell is a management consultant turned model turned entrepreneur and she is the founder of WAYE. WAYE bridges the gap between millennials and the digital future through events and resources that show the latest innovations in business and technology. These events inspire others to be prepared about the future of work and to create their own sustainable career paths. 

Some previous WAYE events include talks about the future of artificial intelligence, dating and relationships in the digital age, and the emerging present of social media and social reality.

WAYE Day: A Career Day for Young Entrepreneurs! was a day of hands-on immersive workshops that was taught by the below women leaders.

Workshop Leaders

  1. Sinead Bovell: Founder, WAYE
  2. Nicole Corbett: CEO, WORN NYC
  3. Marika Frumes: CEO, HER Global
  4. Navi Ganancial: COO/CXO, FounderMade
  5. Simmone Taitt: CEO, HeartSpace NY
  6. Amber Tolliver: Founder/CEO, Liberté

Please see below for the 16 things I learned from this entrepreneurship event.

1. Invest in yourself first.

Acquiring new skills and knowledge are one of the best investments you can make for your business. Look into online courses, conferences, and podcasts to learn as much as you can to improve your business.

2. Be clear about your vision for your business.

Be able to explain who you are, what you do, and have a clear understanding of how you can pass this to your investors, customers, and employees.

3. Be open to different partnerships.

People can discover your brand through social media, articles, and through others. However, please be mindful and use your gut when choosing the people you want to work with.

4. Take time to find the right people for you brand.

Building a team and having funding are both important, but rushing to fill in gaps can be costly and hurt your brand. In addition, it can cause a ripple effect for those who work for you, your product, and your product quality.

5. Understand customer data and how you can use it to make quick decisions.

Be aware about what people are saying about your brand, any changes in engagement, what is selling and what is not, and the overall market.

Navi Ganancial FounderMade branding
Navi Ganancial ( FounderMade, COO/CXO) presents key branding concepts.

6. Have brand consistency in any platform you are in.

Stay consistent with your tagline, fonts, and colors wherever your brand is present. Examples of different platforms are your website, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. Make it easy for your customer to recognize and remember you.

7. Find relevant articles about your industry.

Really learn about what is going on in your industry and where the market stands. You can also reach out to writers who have written topics about your industry, but be clear about what your brand is, and how you can both mutually benefit before reaching out.

8. Know your brand’s value and competition.

Discover what makes your brand special and be able to vocalize that to your customers. Be aware about your competitors and how you can stand out and offer something different.

9. Always have your customer in mind.

There are different ways to reach customers and do not be afraid to test out different methods, layouts, and designs.

10. Take advantage of Shopify and WordPress templates until your have the funding to design and build a custom website.

Having a website can help you establish credibility as a business, and you can start by looking into website templates. Look into hiring a professional once you have enough funding and have a higher brand reputation.

Amber Tolliver (LLiberté Founder/CEO) addresses how she found investors and used Kickstarter to start Liberté.

11. Do your homework when reaching out to different brands.

If you want to pursue partnerships, know what your now what your dream brands value and how you can align with their brand values. Be able to answer, why them, why you, and what is the mutual benefit.

12. Find an “in” with the right contacts.

 Use your network to find “an in” to the company you are pitching. Most companies have different budgets for both marketing and public relations, which may also be handled by different people. In addition, the best people to reach out to are junior employees and senior management.

13. Keep the initial pitch short and straightforward, but with enough details to pique interest.

Be specific with your ideas and overall vision. Do not begin the pitch with a long recitation about yourself, achievements or your company’s history.

14. Figure out what problem the brand is trying to overcome and position yourself as the answer.

Focus on benefits over features in your marketing materials. Show how the partnership can bring something new, unique, and different, which can mutually benefit both parties.

15. Be genuine, be a giver, build relationships for the long term.

Think of long-term goals instead of transactions. Consider the brand goals and how you can build the relationship with them.

16. Follow up – thoughtfully.

Your pitch should show how the partnership makes sense, how the partnership can grow and evolve over time, what resources are required and how much time investment is required, what both parties gain, and what the brand can lose for not working with you.

Marika Frumes (HER Global, CEO) leads the workshop about securing brand partnerships and sponsors.

3 Upcoming Free Entrepreneurship Events (NYC)

  1. The Art & Design of Entrepreneurship II: Funding Your Vision (Thursday, May 2, 2019 6pm-8pm)
  2. Turn Your Idea For A Product Into A Reality With “Inventing To Win” (Wednesday, May 15, 2019 6:30pm-8:30pm)
  3. Creating a Business Idea that Works, Lower Manhattan, 5/16/19 (Thursday, May 16, 2019 2pm-5pm)

Crossing off Bucket List Items with Ben Nemtin from ‘The Buried Life’

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What do you want to do before you die? This was the key question that was asked at the Possibility Project event. We often have bucket list items, such as traveling, meal planning, and saving money, but do we actually put in the work to do them? We can make the impossible possible if we break down the goals into steps, and follow up with actions to complete them.

Buried Life on Oprah Winfrey Show
From Left to Right: The Buried Life Members: Duncan Penn, Dave Lingwood, Jonnie Penn, and Ben Nemtin. Host: Oprah Winfrey / Image Courtesy of Oprah.com

One of my favorite events that gave me a wake up call to start my money and travel blog and to go to my last continent Antarctica was the Possibility Project.  The keynote speaker was Ben Nemtin from MTV’s The Buried Life and the #1 New York Times Best Selling author of What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? The Buried Life.

At this event, Nemtin went over how he and his friends made the world’s biggest bucket list of things they wanted to do before they died. They borrowed an RV, bought a camera on eBay, and road tripped across North America to complete items and helped others on the way. It was pretty inspiring because each time they crossed off an item from their list they paid it forward by helping a stranger cross off an item from their list.

Ben Nemtin from Buried Life Free Event Hub Seventeen
My friends and I at the Possibility Project event with Ben Nemtin.

They achieved goals, such as playing basketball with Obama, drinking a beer with Prince Harry, and being guests on the Oprah Winfrey Show. This event made me question myself and made me really think about how I was putting of this blog for years, and how I only had one continent left to visit. 

This event took place in December 2018 and I found this free event on Eventbrite and luckily I also had friends that were available to go as well. We received a pamphlet to write down goals, and we had an opportunity to read them aloud, which made it easy to get feedback from others on how to achieve our goals.

I was fortunate to meet other entrepreneurs at this event, and I learned how they started their businesses, which gave me motivation to start my blog. In addition, I even met a person that went to Antarctica a few years ago.

I’m looking forward to my last continent Antarctica in November 2019. /Image courtesy of melissa2760 from Pixabay

It has been 4 months since this event and I am happy to say that I started my travel and money blog and saved enough money to book a trip to Antarctica in November 2019 with Oceanwide Expeditions. Going to events like these, and listening to podcasts, such as The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes, The Chalene Show, and Goal Digger with Jenna Kutcher allow me to stay motivated and help me stay on track for completing my goals.

3 Upcoming Free Events (NYC)

  1. WAYE Day: A Career Day for Young Entrepreneurs! (Saturday, April 27, 2019 10am-12pm)
  2. Clothing Swap! (Saturday, April 27, 2019 1pm-4pm)
  3. Your Best You: Spring Edit (Saturday, April 27, 2019 1pm-3pm)
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