Starting a Meetup Group – For Productivity and Fun

internet-meetupAfter a combination of being bored in New Haven, wanting to meet new people, and a desire to learn more about online businesses, I founded my very own Meetup here in March – The New Haven Internet Entrepreneur Meetup.  New Haven is a pretty small city, and there aren’t exactly thousands of bloggers or “internet entrepreneurs” hanging around, so I figured I’d create a Meetup and see who would show up. I’m also interested in areas other than blogging, so I wanted to open the group up to a wider array of interests centered on internet business.

Just about everyone in the group has an internet business or is working towards building one. Here are a couple of the group members:

Chris has a wedding service directory for Connecticut weddings (he’s been working on expanding to Massachusetts weddings and Rhode Island weddings, too). He runs these sites full-time, and he’s able to generate a sustainable income from them (something I definitely aspire to do).

Jen writes on She’s a Fit Chick where she has about 600 subscribers and 1,700 Facebook fans. Jen also does freelance writing and has recently co-founded Fit Fluential, which is a “network of thousands of digital influencers in the fitness industry.” I’m really excited to see how Fit Fluential takes off.

Others in the group are just getting started and have a few experiments going. It’s fun to see their new ideas, and throw ideas out to them, too!

As for being the head honcho, setting up the Meetup was a lot easier than I thought. It took about 30 minutes to set up the basic information (Meetup really walks you through it). After waiting a few days and not getting any new members, Meetup told me I had to set up the first meeting before they would promote it. Once I did this, group members started rolling in. Currently, there are 38 members in the group, and we regularly have 10-12 people attend each Meetup, which is an ideal group size for discussion. We’ve been holding the meetings at Panera Bread, so there’s really no extra prep there.

I set a loose agenda with a specific topic ahead of time, but we often digress into other topics throughout the meeting. Everyone always has questions or comments, so it’s easy for the conversation just to roll along. Here’s some other things that I’ve liked most about our Meetups so far:

1) We get to meet in the real world. When you’re working online and a lot of your relationships are virtual, it’s great to actually meet others face-to-face. For me, it keeps things real and doesn’t let me forget that I’m interacting with some awesome people on the other end of the internet.

2) We have a wide array of expertise. No one in the group is an expert on everything to do with the internet. I’d be shocked if anyone in the group hasn’t learned at least a few new things at each meeting. It’s a great place to get tips about WordPress plugins, applications, web development, and other real skills and strategies that group members have had success with already.

3) I’m been motivated to achieve my goals. We only meet for 90 minutes each month, but we pack a lot of great stuff into the meeting. During that time, I get a lot of ideas of what I can work on and what I really need to do next. I get a lot of encouragement, too, and that helps keep me motivated.

My next step is to set up a Mastermind group (separate from this Meetup). This may or may not be an meet-in-person group, but it would definitely be much more goals oriented than information oriented.

Have you thought about starting a Meetup or attended a Meetup before? Do you have any groups that you meet up with?

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photo by: Bahman.


  1. This sounds awesome Jeff. I enjoy our social media/blogging group and the Yakezie but I think a personal meetup would add real value. I really need to get along to the Chicago Bloggers Conference to make this blogging a whole lot more tangible.

    • I’ll be at the Chicago PF Bloggers Conf, and it will probably be my first conference of this kind. From what I hear, there’s nothing like meeting people at these events. That’s where real connections are made.

  2. Good for you!!  I’m signed up for MeetUp and get notifications about new groups in my area.  I’ve been to one but it wasn’t really what I was hoping for.  It cost money for one thing which I’m too frugal/cheap for, and I felt like it was more like I was being sold to rather than meeting like minded people.. ya know?  I thought about starting my own but I don’t want to commit the time. 

    • I probably only spend 2 hours a month organizing everything. If we ever move to more frequent meetings than once a month, I’ll probably seeking out a co-organizer.

      As far as finances, I collect dues of $2 each meeting (and probably less than that, soon), so it’s fairly cheap and enjoyable for everyone!

  3. I think it’s great that you started up the group and it sounds like it’s going well. I agree that it’s huge to get face time in our age of technologically-bound relationships!

  4. Thanks for the shout out Jeff! 🙂 I love the group you started — I look forward to it every month!

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