Friday Q&A: What kinds of Meetups should I attend if I’m looking for clients?

Hey App Hackers! 

Last week, we wrote a post on how finding an anchor client is the first step to making more money as a developer.

And, we got a really relevant follow-up question from Russ

“What kind of Meetup was that in Santa Monica [where you met your first anchor client]? Was it a developer Meetup, or are there better types of Meetups to target if you’re looking for contracting clients?

Also – I was wondering if perhaps it would make sense to go to Meetups where people in “successful companies in a non-tech business” might congregate. My area (Reading, PA) has almost no tech presence. So I’ve been traveling to Philly for meet ups, but I might try some creative things locally, too. 

Next Thursday I’m going to an entrepreneur Meetup in my area. Looks like it’s mostly real estate people, insurance people, etc. So I’m not sure what to expect, but definitely curious.

I thought this was a great first article, because it targets an area I’m currently trying to work on: building out some reliable anchor clients. Many great bits of advice here!”

Thanks, Russ, for the great comment! You called out a few important tidbits here – and made us realize we probably left out something pretty valuable and not obvious last week 😳

Dan:  So, believe it or not, we met our first anchor client at an incredibly dev-focused meetup.

It was hosted at an agency in Santa Monica called Carbon Five, and one of their developers gave a talk on how to swizzle functions in Objective-C. I was sitting across the table from Patrick (founder of The Black Tux) and just struck up a conversation because he seemed totally lost. I was almost lost too, so as a non-developer it must have been complete gibberish (even today, swizzling feels like a black art to me).

Smart founders seek out good developers in the places you might expect to find good developers (duh, I guess 🙂 ).

In practice, this means that great founders looking to hire great developers can often be found at technical meetups.

Very few developers actually go to ones focused on “cofounder dating”. This might seem like a good thing as a developer, but it actually makes it more difficult to sift through the noise and figure out who’s actually serious about hiring a web / app developer. 

Regarding local entrepreneur meetups: You totally have the right idea.

Those are exactly the types of Meetups that you’ll find unique opportunities at.

Everyone wants to build software now; it’s not hard to find smart people in any industry who have at least considered it. I never would go with any expectations, just find people who are doing interesting work and who you wouldn’t mind grabbing a coffee with. While they may not end up being a client, they may know someone who’s looking for a developer, and you’re probably going to be the only one they know. 😉

Dan

What kinds of Meetups have you successfully used to find clients? Tell us about your experience below. Or email me at dan@theapphacker.com.

Related: How to Raise your Rate, and Get Clients to Say YesHow to Get Consistent Work

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Hi, everyone, and welcome to The App Hacker—a brand, spankin’ new blog, community, and (soon to be) extensive collection of resources on programming, building MVPs, and running a successful consultancy.

Who are the original App Hackers, and why are we doing this?

Hi. I’m Dan 👋. I’m a veteran entrepreneur and programmer. I quit my “corporate”, agency job about 10 years ago to strike out on my own, and since then I’ve created a niche in working with amazing startups. I’ve built iOS, Android, and web applications for all kinds of companies, from e-commerce to online dating to hostel management—I’ve seen it all.

I’ve been the first CTO of more companies than I can count, and I’ve brought more than 200 ideas to life. I’ve also helped the teams I’ve worked with (like The Black Tux and Coffee Meets Bagel) raise over $200mm in funding.

It’s been great. By all accounts, I’ve grown an incredibly lucrative and rewarding consulting business. I work from home, bill out at over $300 / hour for most working hours of my day, and get to hang out with Rachel (my wife and business partner) all day long (trust me, it’s awesome!).

Now, about two years ago, Rachel quit her job to grow the business with me. As a project manager and lover of process, she began taking notes on what makes our approach to building apps unique, and how we do business – from how we get clients, keep them happy, get paid, and more. And this helped us optimize our consulting practice in a huge way.

But we realized this information would be worth so much more if we shared it with the world. It’s a little risky, sure, since a lot of this is what others might consider our “secret sauce”, but we decided it was worth sharing anyways. We open source much of our code, so why not open source the way we do business?

This information would be worth so much more if we shared it with the world.

With more and more people deciding to break free of the corporate world and define what work looks for themselves, knowledge-sharing among developers and entrepreneurs is going to become more and more important.

We want to teach non-developers how to code. And we want to teach other programmers how to build successful consulting businesses, and do it by working on what you love and making awesome stuff for amazing clients.

Then came the question of what to name it. I’ve always considered myself a “hacker”–not the archetypical hacker who sits in a dark room finding backdoors into NASA, but the type of hacker who knows what they want and pulls the levers to make it happen.

Hackers experiment. They find shortcuts. They are persistent and will find ways to “make it work” when others give up.

Hackers experiment. They find shortcuts. They are persistent and will find ways to “make it work” when others give up.

And that’s just what we’re going to do here. We’re going to write down everything we know about starting, building, and scaling a programming consultancy business. From learning new programming languages fast, to building an MVP in a day–you’ll find it all here.

So, stay tuned, and if you identify as an App Hacker in any way, put in your email address below, and I’ll shoot you a note when we publish our next post. No spam, I promise :pinkyswear:. 🤘

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