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