Some of you may have seen this post title and wondered what the heck I’m talking about.
Money? From running a Meetup group?
Yes, totally! There really are people who make money hosting events for MeetUp groups.
This is way more than just meeting up with a few people at a coffee shop to talk about knitting—these entrepreneurs are using the special resources MeetUp provides to make REAL money.
I first stumbled across this idea while watching #vanlife Youtube videos. One vanlifer mentioned that he taught photography classes across the US by using MeetUp to gather groups of people together in whatever city he was in. Then, he charged $10-25 per person to come to the class.
Charging for Meetup classes was a totally new idea to me. I had no idea that it was possible to use MeetUp to make money! These folks are using MeetUp as a funnel to directly target their niche audience, and then selling them an experience they’re happy to pay for.
There’s been a lot of writing nowadays about how millennials (people born about 1985-2005) value experiences more than objects, and they’re willing to pay to have unique and exciting experiences.
It’s not just millennials, either: people of all ages love to take classes or attend seminars, if the topic is relevant to their interests. Seniors take classes on gardening, retirement planning, and computers. New parents take classes on being new parents, new grandparents take classes on being new grandparents. And EVERYBODY loves yoga classes!
So this all sounds great, right? But how would a fulltime RV traveler be able to take advantage of Meetup? And how does it all work?
There’s nothing better than a research question I can sink my teeth into, so I put on my librarian hat and got to looking.
Read on to find out what I learned…
What is Meetup?
Meetup was founded in 2002 as a “service used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests” (ty, Wikipedia). Basically, Meetup is a website where groups of people organize local, in-person meetings based around hobbies, interests, holidays, etc.
Events are searchable by location, sortable by topic, and filter-able by type of event. It’s super easy to use and very user-friendly.
Meetup is free for attendees to use, but if you want to organize an event, it costs $10+/month. Here’s more info about that.
Similar sites are: Eventbrite, Groupspaces, Craigslist (community events section)
Despite this post being focused on Meetup, you could host classes or events with any similar site. However, Meetup is well-known, well-used, and events are easily findable through searches and filtering. Other sites may have less of an impact–but try them out and let me know what works for you!
What can you do on MeetUp?
There are meetup events for literally anything: cooking classes, book clubs, study groups, exercising, hiking, family outings to Disneyland, literature classes, scifi movie watchalongs, psychic development, computer coding, painting portraits, fashion photography, singles mixers, beach parties, tea parties, and bar crawls.
And tons more!
Different cities will have different amounts of traffic and available groups or interested attendees. In Orange County, where I’m currently located, there are 5,530 members of a Disneyland fan club, 3,326 members in a real estate investing club and 241 members of a scrapbook club called ScrappinLadyz.
Whatever you can think of, you can probably find a meetup for it. More importantly, whatever you’re GOOD at, you can CREATE a meetup event for it.
If you’re good at photography, like my vanlifer Youtube buddy, do an early morning photo run along the beach. If you’re a crafter, host a how-to session on the newest Pinterest craft techniques. Love dogs and running? Teach a class about how to keep your dogs from swerving off the path to sniff a squirrel.
The important part is to think of a class that people will willing pay for. People love learning, and if you’re a good teacher with a great subject to teach them, they’ll pay.
10 ideas for paid Meetup classes
- Exercise: yoga, pilates, weight training, running, bicycling.
- Business: small business help, starting a business, marketing, networking, etc.
- Financial: how to start a budget, retirement planning, extreme couponing.
- Crafting: scrapbooking, knitting, sewing, home décor.
- Artsy: photography, painting (people, landscapes, cityscapes, still life), drawing (ditto), writing (how to write a book, how to write a memoir, how to write nonfiction).
- Technology: coding (for kids, for adults), social media for seniors, LAN parties.
- DIY: reupholstering chairs, fixing old cars, starting a succulent garden.
- Get a local friend to partner with you and host a tour of the city, local park, or historical district.
- Talk to local businesses for sponsorship and host a wine or eatery walk.
- Partner with a local group and offer to do a special speaking engagement.
How much money can you make on Meetup?
So, I’ll be real: I didn’t find a WHOLE LOT on making a FULLTIME income on Meetup. Therefore, either people are doing it but aren’t writing about it, or people haven’t cracked the code to actually make it work long-term.
Perhaps it’s too difficult to consistently get people to pay big bucks for a Meetup group—or it’s not a sustainable, long-term kinda job.
People who DO make a fulltime Meetup event income tend to be in larger cities, non-mobile, and have built up their group over the course of a few years. I haven’t really found anybody who’s doing a mobile Meetup business—but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. (Maybe you’ll be the first to do it?)
Paid Meetup groups could be a great way to make some extra gas money, network with potential clients, and meet the local community. People are always interested in learning new skills, and if you’re good at teaching and have a cool idea for a class, Meetup groups/events could definitely be a solid income stream. I’m going to try it out for myself once I hit the road!
- How Nejla Routsong is Building a Business Around a Meetup Group: “When all is said and done, I really think it’s our focus on making friends, rather than any one activity or age group, that is the “secret sauce” to our success. Most people in D.C. are unpretentious types; we don’t try to be ultra-cool or super-anything. We just want to have adventures and make some good friends along the way – this is what DC Global Adventurers is all about.”
- Guide to a Successful Meetup Group& Meetup Events by William Petz (PDF). Check out the great form letter at the end to use for partnering up with local businesses!
- How to Make Money with Meetup: Ken Krell presents Meetup Mel (Youtube video).