Referral Friday: The Creative Freelancer Conference

ilise benun, bryn mooth and peleg top at the 2008 creative freelancer conference

Referral Friday is part of an ongoing series inspired by John Jantsch's Make-a-Referral Week. For more about that, and loads more referrals for everything from cobblers to coaches to gee-tar teachers, start here. Pass it on, baby!

You can learn a lot of great stuff and meet a lot of great people on the web, for (almost) absolutely nothing but an investment of your time.

But as I learned once I decided to move from being a contract employee with an agent (you did know that's what commercial actors are, right?) to captain of my own graphic design ship, at some point, you need to plow a few bucks into you and your business, and get out and meet some people, even in crappy economic times.

Hell, maybe especially in crappy economic times. Not to be an alarmist, but if you haven't redoubled your efforts to make yourself the sharpest, smartest, best-equipped purveyor of whatever it is you do on your block, you're in danger of falling behind. Because everyone is dealing with the same crappy economic times and attendant fears and/or trepidations about spending money; it's just the way it is.

No, what you need to do in yuck times is just make sure you're picking the things with high value for you. And for my money (okay, pun intended), the Creative Freelancer Conference, hosted by HOW (see above for one of them, the awesome Bryn Mooth) and my pals Ilise & Peleg at Marketing Mentor (see above, flanking her) is, like Danielle LaPorte's FireStarter sessions or South by Southwest Interactive, one of those high-value items. Why? I'll tell you:

1. The Creative Freelancer Conference is great because it focuses on YOUR market.

As far as I know, it really is the only game going. Ilise and Peleg approached HOW about doing this conference because they saw an unfilled niche. To paraphrase Velvette De Laney, an attendee from 2008, the HOW conference rocks for creative inspiration, but the CFC is the place to be for practical, on-the-ground information about how rock your creative solopreneur business. I think this pretty much nails my take on it, which is that the speakers and sessions all focus on actionable info, not just theory.

2. The Creative Freelancer Conference is great because it's small.

SxSWi is great because it's big, you get critical mass of awesomeness because so many people are drawn to the great Austin magnet. But as I mentioned on a recent podcast, SxSWi is where you finally meet the people you've been interacting with virtually; the CFC is where you go to meet your tribe.

Also, because it's so small, there's a lot more individualized attention, and other opportunities to connect with people, both speakers and attendees, in real time. The people I met via the CFC I've stayed close with all year. You cannot place a value on that. Okay, maybe you can. See...

3. The Creative Freelancer Conference is great because it's affordable.

The full price for attending is $495. YIKES. That's a lot! Well, yeah, but when you start breaking it down, not really. I've paid $250 and $300 recently for two (really good!) classes that are online only, with stuff I really needed to learn; I got great info, but no tribe, and not a lot in the way of electricity. It's just way harder to get motivated passively; sorry, that's how it is.

Anyway. There are savings, if you act fast! Register by the early bird deadline of July 15 and you can save $50; sign up to become a member of Freelancers Union, and you can up that by $25 to $75, using the code FRUN9 when registering.

Come to think of it, you should join Freelancers Union regardless, if you haven't already: it's FREE, baby, and there's strength in numbers. Also, discounts!

Bottom line?

I get that it's hard to spend money right now; I do. But if you're out there on your own doing creative work for money, you will not find a better place to spend it, or three days this summer, than on the Creative Freelancer Conference, in San Diego, August 26-27-28.

And if we haven't yet, we'll get to meet in person. HOW GREAT IS THAT?


Linky McLinkersons:

Photo credits:

(L-R) Ilise Benun, Bryn Mooth, and Peleg Top
© Dyana Valentine, via Flickr.