I’ve previously written about another New York phenomenon but whereas Jelly is all about the freelance and home-based community co-working, Meetup is just about getting people together to chat. When I was in New York four years ago, 'Meetup’ had already become a known phrase. Friends would say: ‘I’ve got a ‘Meetup’ tonight’. On my return to the UK, I’m delighted to learn that Meetup has grown in the UK and today many more people know what I mean when I use the termWho meets up?
Nowadays there is a Meetup for just about everything; just type ‘vintage’ or ‘French’ into the search box on the Meetup site, for example, and you'll find relevant groups. You can look for groups close to where you are based or even where you may be for a short while, working or on holiday.
Meetup is for mixing with other like-minded individuals. I don’t just mean other people in business or those who love films, for instance, but really niche groups; Wordpress users, marketing specialists, web developers, Ruby users and numerous languages not to mention the gatherings for paranormal, sci-fi and tarot fans.
Indeed, in NYC there are groups for fans of the English Premiership for all the ex-patriots!
If there isn’t Meetup with a topic you’re interested in, you have two options: get on the mailing list so you know when someone starts one, or start one yourself. There is a cost implication of a few pounds per month for this but as an organiser it means you are fully in control for what type of gatherings you want to go plan and, indeed, what type of people you want to mingle with.
Apart from raising your profile, the big plus of running your own group is you’ll have new contacts and more importantly, more enriched relationships with the people you get to know. When arriving in Birmingham five years ago, I looked up ‘business groups' in the city and went to a gathering with Birmingham Entrepreneurs and quickly became the co-organiser (as I’m always there anyway!) and I’m also the founder of Out with the Girls for social gatherings. It's a great way for those girls who are new to the city to make solid friends – the reason why I set it up four years ago.
I’ve now set up another Meetup: For the Ambitious Small Business and this is where you’ll find details of regular events I’m involved with such as Jelly and Likemind as well as workshops and other events.
You can even browse the Meetup groups without joining although it’s free to join and easy to register - and the great majority of Meetups are free to RSVP to.
So, go ahead and Meetup!