How do you justify traveling to WordCamps?

WordCamps are awesome. No doubt about it. But from a business perspective, how do you justify attending out of town WordCamps as a freelancer, employee, small business owner, etc? I would love to hear the perspective of people that have been traveling to WordCamps for a while. Have you found them to be worth the cost, from a business perspective?

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9 Comments

  1. As a freelancer I always found it worth my while investing in going to WordCamps. For one thing, it’s a way to socialise with people I work with, and nothing beats hanging out with people you know well from online.

    From a business perspective I have always come away from WordCamps with 2-4 new clients. Since my clientele was WordCamp businesses, this made WordCamps the ideal place to meet them. I could go back through my accounts and figure out how much each WordCamp cost me and how much I made from the clients I picked up…. but I’m not going to.

    Another benefit has been that the clients I’ve got from going to WordCamps (or other events) tend to be people who come back again and again for work – having lunch or a drink with someone goes a long way towards developing an ongoing relationship. This also applies to clients who I’ve already worked with and who I get to meet at WordCamps for the first time, it’s a great opportunity to get to know each other better and develop our business relationship.

    Also, WordCamp expenses = no tax, so helps to reduce my tax bill at the end of the year πŸ™‚

  2. I love attending word-camps because you learn to use wp the way its supposed to be used. The professionals talk to you about best practices and the reasons behind them. You realized that sometimes you’re doing the wrong thing while coding and it makes you a better developer. What better place to get it than from the community that helped build it?

  3. I think there’s a tremendous amount of value as a WordPress developer and designer to travel to a place where WordPress is fostered in a community. It also is great to meet people IRL that you have only met online. That said, if you are growing a WordPress company you can utilize a WordCamp for so many ways. Learning more about WordPress, finding leads, developers, designers, and many other things.

    I’ll second what Sibohan said above with the tax thing. Huge advantage for businesses!

  4. I attend about 5-7 WordCamps every year. Personally, I love meeting new users and hanging out with people whom I interact with on twitter and such. I also love helping new users get started with WordPress.

    From a business perspective, it offers plenty of benefits:

    – Meet existing users. No matter which WordCamp I attend, I will always find a WPBeginner user there.

    – Advertising: There are always new users that I can help through Happiness Bar or at an after party. They then come back to visit WPBeginner later.

    – New Ideas – I learn a lot from people that attend WordCamps. I learn from beginners what they are struggling with. This gives me new post ideas. I always learn from the experts like Otto, JJJ, etc because I can pick their brain.

    – Clients: Although not often, but I have landed clients from WordCamps. One of the reason why I don’t land a lot of clients is because I’m not actively trying to do that.

    – Tax Write Off as others have pointed out already.

  5. Thanks for the nice input, everyone!

    Tammie Lister mentioned in a separate chat how it could be a good idea to do a “convince your boss” style PDF like they did for FOWD. You can see it here (pdf).

  6. As the only developer at my agency I need the time to talk and discuss things with other developers.

    I usually come back from a WordCamp with a spiel that goes something along the lines of “This is what we were doing wrong and these are the steps we’re going to take to do it right in the future.”

  7. I think it’s critical to have some objectives before you go to any conference. So before I go I’ll list them out – and they may only be 2 or 3 goals. But those objectives are ones that are either short-term or long-term gains, in whatever way I define them to be valuable. If I can’t have them met, then I don’t go.

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