20 Best Live Events for Entrepreneurs

Every year there are live events around the globe focused on blogging, social media, entrepreneurship, empowering women, etc. Since events can be costly when you add in travel, hotel, and dining out to the cost of the event, you want to make sure that you attend the ones that will be most beneficial to your business growth.

Investing in live events can be game changing through the training, making new connections, expanding your vision, and being inspired or challenged by others. Since there are so many to choose from we wanted to know about your top pick and asked –

What was the single BEST live event you attended in the past 12 months that you would highly recommend, AND what made it a life changing experience for you and your business?

We gained a snapshot of some of the best this year, that really had a big impact on our entrepreneurial panel. Minds were stretched, dreams were unleashed, ideas were inspired, and new ways of doing business were planned.

Keep reading to find out which events made the cut.

From the comments, one of the biggest advantages, above and beyond the event content, was the opportunity to network with other amazing entrepreneurs. I realize there are many more events that are not represented in this post, so I hope you will take a moment to add your top picks to the comments below. Perhaps we might cross paths at an event in the near future. 🙂

Our sincere gratitude to the 20 entrepreneurs who shared the events of this year that were game changers for them. Openly providing your expertise and experiences is a huge asset to this blog and the readership. I wish you all a wonderful week and hope to see you here again.

If you would like to contribute to the next post and get some free PR, be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of this post to discover this week’s question and find out how you can get involved.  We’d love to have you on a future post!


1. 21st Century Bride

By far, the best live event I’ve ever been to. The importance of the changing bridal market (and more importantly, how to reach those couples) was established, and we were given concrete strategies to do just that. The leading experts in the field were gathered and presented many pragmatic and exciting ideas for us to implement.

We were encouraged NOT to take notes, but to view the taping of the all day session, which really made it easier to engage with the speakers. There was a good amount of time to network, the presentations were kept to a strict time limit, and the day moved along at a brisk clip. For me, the importance of social media and adding video to my websites was a turning point for my marketing efforts.

For more information visit – http://www.the21stcenturybride.com/index.html

Thanks to Celia Milton of CeliaMilton.com

2. All About Blogworld

Blogworld. This is a huge conference for social media and bloggers that addresses issues for the new blogger, as well as the experienced. They bring in big name social media and blogging experts to share their tips, tricks and expertise. But beyond the knowledge, the networking is amazing. I have forged some amazing relationships, both personal and professional, that originated at the conference. For me the benefit of a conference is not just the speakers or information. It is the networking. The social experience is as important, if not more, than the educational opportunity. Blogworld brings people from all over the country and can really help expand your business and social connections.

For more information visit – http://www.blogworld.com/category/events/

Thanks to Lauren MacEwen of SM Cubed Consulting

3. If You Want To Sparkle…check Out:

The best live event that I attended recently was Spark and Hustle with Tory Johnson. I loved it so much that I actually attended it two separate times, and I was not unique in this. There were many repeat attendees. I made some unreal biz connections, came back ready to hustle, and reference my notes all the time. Tory and her crew of speakers are all amazing in their own way, and I learned something vital from each one. Back to hustle now….

For more information visit – http://sparkandhustle.com/

Thanks to Rachel Blaufeld of Back’nGrooveMom

4. Be The Change Changed My Life

Earlier this year I attended Suzanne Evans’ Be the Change event in Orlando, FL, which I highly recommend. I started the three day event with little clarity and no results in my business. Honestly, I didn’t have a clue! But, by the end I was clear on the direction of my business. Suzanne’s “no holds barred” approach to business put a fire under me to get moving, stop waiting for things to happen, but to make things happen. I left knowing what plans I needed to put in motion to build my business, increase my income and experience wild success.

For more information visit – Be the Change 2012: http://www.bethechangeevent.com/

Thanks to Cheryl Pullins of The Woman Entrepreneur’s Mentor

5. One Day Can Make A Huge Difference

This year I attended Bloggy Boot Camp, a one day gathering of women bloggers where we learn how to build our blog’s readership, maneuver through social networking, appeal to brands and monetize our sites, and define our writing style. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with local bloggers, meet brand ambassadors, as we begin to view our blog as a business. After that informative day, I went home with a spiral full of notes and made significant changes to my blog; it’s now a growing part-time business. I will be attending future blogging conferences and have been invited to speak at an upcoming Blogging Boot Camp. It’s astounded the difference a day can make.

For more information visit – http://www.thesitsgirls.com/bloggy-boot-camp-how-to-blog-for-women/

Thanks to Kimberly Gauthier of Kimberly Gauthier Photography

6. The Best And Brightest At NY Entrepreneur Week

The best live event that I’ve attended in the last few years was the NY Entrepreneur Week in 2010. The reason being that it boasted a wide range of expertise and experiences from different industries, including both bootstrapped and funded business. The VC and Angel community was there as well. It was basically a culmination of the best and the brightest throughout every entrepreneurial industry. There were fantastic guest speakers like Jeremy Himens, who created Purpose.com, a site that provides a platform for prominent social and political movements. Another great moment was at the 2009 NYE week, where Peter Shankman, creator of HARO, was the keynote speaker. It was definitely an interesting and worthwhile experience and I will undoubtedly be returning in the coming years.

For more information visit – http://www.nyew.org/

Thanks to Ian Aronovich of GovernmentAuctions.org

7. Life Changing Event

For those attending events, do your research as to who the speakers are. Although I never did this for my first event, which was held by Chris Cobb, with a line up of gurus in their field. It was a product sale event, so every speaker had a product to sell. I never bought anything, but I took away some great information, and was aware of some new gurus to help with my efforts.

Then two years later, two of the gurus, Daniel Wagner and Stuart Ross, joined forces and created their own event. I was invited to attend Six Figure Mentors, which helps people from all walks of life get their business (whether online or offline) to see some profitable results. With mentors and the community for support, it’s a system second to none, and far cheaper than getting a mentor for a day. I joined up and haven’t looked back.

For more information visit – http://thesixfigurementors.com/blog/

Thanks to Scott Andrew of SA Refurbishment Limited

8. Western Women Will Save The World

At a reception for artists who donate to the Breast Cancer Coalition, I connected with numerous outstanding women, one of whom shared this affirmation with me: the Dali Lama recently asserted his belief that “Western women will save the world.” Determined to help make his prediction a reality, I have since shared it with numerous kindred spirits. His words have changed the direction of some of my creative efforts. And, they have found their way into my blogs/articles/books. As a result, I suspect other women who have read the words have been inspired. The words have no doubt offered encouragement on both the professional and personal levels.

For more information visit – www.bccr.org

Thanks to Dr. Marlene Caroselli of Center For Professional Development

9. Are You Leveraging Your Genius?

Unquestionably the best live event I’ve attended during the past 12 months is Leverage Your Genius facilitated by Jesse Koren the founder, with Sharla Jacobs, of RejuvenateYourPractice.com

This was clearly a life changing experience for me and my business. For my business, I now have a clear map of how to leverage my genius – to turn the body of work I have created during the past 35 years into self-study programs to offer to a larger audience, both expanding my business and using my expertise in supporting people to live inspired lives rooted in their purpose. Personally open-heartedly participating in Leverage Your Genius reinforced that for me to grow I have to value my gifts, talents, skills and abilities – and when I value me and my gifts I thrive both personally and professionally.

For more information visit – http://rejuvenateyourpractice.com/
Brochure – http://www.rejuvenateyourpractice.com/downloads/RTI%20Brochure_inside_06-06-06.pdf

Thanks to Susyn Reeve of Self Esteem Experts

10. Urban Entrepreneurship Summit

The best live event that I went to in 2011 was the White House Urban Entrepreneurship Summit hosted at Monroe College in Bronx, New York. It was not only informative, but it was engaging the White House Domestic Policy Council, Derek Douglas, White House Business Council, Ari Matusiak, Operation Hope, John Hope Bryant, Small Business Administration, Marisa Lee and a host of business community, local business owners and entrepreneurs together to talk about the issues facing small business owners, and to find solutions and plans of action. The all day program had panel discussions, roundtables, open forums, lunch meet and greets and networking. Great event.

Thanks to Eula M. Young, COO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc.

11. SoCal Entrepreneurs Unite At “StartUps Uncensored”

The fastest-growing and largest regular SoCal gathering of entrepreneurs has to be at the “Startups Uncensored” series put on by DocStoc’s founder, Jason Nazar. You’ll know when you’ve arrived by the giant lines stretching around the block in both directions! DocStoc offers free admission, but also limits the number of seats to keep the intimate setting between panelists and audience.

Each event focuses on a different topic relevant to entrepreneurs, last week’s was titled “Building Bigger Businesses the Second Time Around”, and featured a panel with VCs and big-time entrepreneurs (think AdSense, LegalZoom, ShoeDazzle, etc). The panelists offered fantastic insight into the ins-and-outs of starting up and answered questions with a frankness befitting the “Uncensored” in the event’s title. Not only did they talk about their successes, but about mistakes that they had made in the creation of their first business.

I found the discussion both interesting and informative, and was also impressed with the vibe that they’ve created. There is a level of informality, that is uncommon at most stuffy networking events. Starting your own business can be a stressful undertaking and it was nice to compare notes with others that have been through the process.

By following up with docstoc after the event, I was able to make an important connection and will now be shooting videos that will appear on their website. Events for entrepreneurs are a great place for marketers, I also met several potential clients. Join me at the next one if you’re in LA!

For more information visit – http://www.jasonnazar.com/

Thanks to Lolo Siderman of Gypsywing Media

12. Brian Tracy’s Total Business Mastery – An Awakening!

In January, my husband Tom and I flew from Paris, France to San Diego to attend Brian Tracy’s Total Business Mastery event. It is the first time that we traveled together for an event devoted entirely to the advancement of our businesses. I credit Brian for having changed my life through his teachings prior to the event, and wanted to meet him in person. Watching him deliver his message live on stage changed my life again, because this time, Tom was sitting front and center and was equally inspired by him. Finally, Tom and I were “on the same page” regarding what we needed to do to make our businesses grow! Another thing that was invaluable for Tom and me was the opportunity to mastermind with fellow participants, which we’d never experienced before. For me, it was the perfect event!

For more information visit – http://www.briantracy.com/files/pages/seminar.html

Thanks to Monique Y. Wells of Understanding Time Management

13. Greater Than Myself.

Keller Williams Realty’s annual ‘Family Reunion’ is my annual ENERGIZER. New ideas are shared. Visions of the future are planted. The opportunity to form new relationships and cement old ones are boundless. Probably the greatest gift of the Reunion is showing me that I am part of something much greater than myself, and that I am surrounded and supported by a cast of thousands.

There is such great value in knowing I’m not alone; and that I have access to a boundless amount of information to create my own version of success.

For more information visit – http://familyreunion.kw.com/

Thanks to Randy Morrow of Keller Williams Realty–Divorce Specialist


The first DIY Business Association Conference in Brooklyn was a tremendously helpful event that put me in touch with valuable business contacts, but more importantly, a notebook full of ideas based on all of the insightful tips provided by their countless panelists. The panelists ranged across a number of industries, from prolific bloggers to established rockers, and shared helpful suggestions on commanding the dollar amount that you deserve, how to social network, and how to leverage your contacts to create opportunities. It was such an inspiration, and I look forward to attending more of their events! I highly recommend looking into their conference series if you’re Gen Y and in the NYC area.

For more information visit – http://diybusinessassociation.com/brooklyn-diy-business-association-conference-2011/

Thanks to Luca Cusolito of Creative Enabler

15. I Can Do Better Than Twitter

Even though the web site said it was sold out, I crashed the launch for USConverge, a tech nonprofit. Biz Stone addressed an auditorium filled with stuffy government suits.

On the way home, I thought about how lame Twitter is. I have a Ph.D. in engineering, surely I can come up with something better. And I did. It’s something I had been working on as a way to sell my own web series and book, scaled to help other small businesses sell their products: a platform for social commerce through online events. I stayed up all night sketching out what it would be. I’ll have a prototype up in a few months.

For more information visit – http://convergeus.com/

Thanks to Lisa Schaefer of RoleModel Enterprises

16. Brandsmart For 2012

Most recently I had an opportunity to attend Brandsmart conference organized by American Marketing Association. This event was really crucial to putting together a strategy marketing plan for the short-term plan, as well as looking toward 2012. The whole conference really broke apart what makes up the brand and focused on what is universal for brand development that ultimately people buy from people. It showcased the future trends (marketing with sounds) and had presentation from the industry leaders such as Motorola Mobility, and Deloitte. For a young marketing professional, it was also an opportunity to start making connections with seasoned professional in C-level positions.

For more information visit – http://brandsmart.chicagoama.org/

Thanks to Julia Poroshkova of Nimlok Chicago

17. SHINE Made Me Think Bigger Than I Ever Thought Possible!

The single BEST live event that I highly recommend is Ali Brown’s SHINE. I attended SHINE 2010 and it made me think bigger than I ever thought possible! Shortly afterwards I made my first TV debut on Good Day Sacramento. I was recently interviewed on NPR Insight by Jeffrey Callison. I am also doing national speaking gigs and love sharing what I am so passionate about – food, mood and women’s health!

Of course the networking, content, inspiration and vibe at SHINE was phenomenal! I also found my first virtual assistant and made some great business connections. I am so impressed with Ali, this event and the attendees that I have decided to be a sponsor this year. A small disclaimer: I may be somewhat biased as I am in Ali’s Platinum coaching program 🙂

For more information visit – http://www.alibrown.com/shine/

Thanks to Trudy Scott. Food Mood Expert & Nutritionist, Author Of of The Antianxiety Food Solution

18. “Be The Change” Rocked So Many So Much!

Suzanne Evans’ “Be The Change” is the BEST event I’ve attended. She fills 3 days with so much content that people not only get practical tools to grow their business and increase profit, but also create great movements in their businesses, change their lives, and improve their world.

At 2011’s event Suzanne pledged $20K to CAMFED to help educate girls in Zimbabwe, and auctioned off her Louis Vuitton handbag to raise more. The event raised $60K!

The workbook is a virtual BIBLE on business success. Networking, breakouts and entertainment are superb too.

It changed my LIFE; I now see how being bigger in business is critical. I upleveled to a Mastermind Program and embarked on a nationwide speaking tour, going from playing small potatoes to making my impact happen!

For more information visit – www.bethechangeevent.com

Thanks to John Rasiej of Speak Louder Than Words

19. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know!

I just attend a local CBS News online presence workshop. How I got invited to this event was simply by hanging up one of my business brochures in my laundry room at my apt complex. The representative lives in my apt complex as well. He invited me, and I must say that we, as small business entrepreneurs, better start educating ourselves on where the world is going with regard to technology. Even though they were introducing us to a system that will help local business owners to be found, it was an awesome experience to mingle and network with other like-minded people. I got out of it a lot of great nuggets, but one in particular is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Monitor your online presence, because that’s where everything is moving towards. Get knowledge!

For more information visit – http://cbspittsburgh.com

Thanks to LaTersa Blakely of Baby Diaper Cakes & Beyond by LaTersa

20. Get Involved And Open New Business Relationships: E&Y Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards Program

The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year was the best event I have attended by far! It opened doors to people I could never have reached otherwise. It was educational and phenomenal for our business with the contacts and recognition that we received.

For more information visit – http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year

Thanks to Jacque Butler of MedQuest Solutions

Thanks so much again to all our wonderful contributors for sharing your live event experiences! We hope to hear from you again.

In an effort to always keep things fresh, and provide you with the best tips and strategies to run your business better, we will be taking some time to revamp the Question of the Week format. If you are on our special email list, you will be the first to be notified when we start up again. If you wish to be added to the list simply Click Here.

Stay tuned…


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  1. Posted September 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m relatively new to going to events but am completely hooked now. The live learning, networking and potential to form strategic alliances is fantastic for business building. If you need to propel your business it’s the way to do it!
    Thanks for posting this.

    • Posted September 11, 2011 at 7:22 am | Permalink | Reply

      Jeannie, Thanks for reading and leaving your great comment! Yes, I agree that live events are the place to really learn and grow your business. And who doesn’t want rapid growth?! 🙂 Shannon

  2. Posted September 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Shannon- this was a terrific list! I loved visiting the sites and learning about all the events. Be The Change looks fabulous – and I’d love to attend Bloggers World. Thanks for sharing! Ande

    • Posted September 5, 2011 at 7:37 am | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Ande! It was great to read about all of them for me too. 🙂 There are so many live events each year, packed with outstanding content, that it’s hard to pick and choose. Therefore, I love recommendations from trusted sources. Thanks for reading and sharing your comment!

  3. Wasu
    Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Life changing event !! That sounds huge!!! I know what it’s like to feel better with life, I wonder if I can get into those kind of events where mentor can be found.

    • Posted August 31, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Our contributors shared the links to the events so you may learn more and sign up for one in the future. 🙂

  4. Posted August 30, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this awesome list of events – I look forward to learning more about them.
    Thanks too for sharing my recommendations about SHINE.

    • Posted August 30, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Trudy, Thank you for including your top pick. Ali Brown’s Shine event has always intrigued me, and I’ve only ever heard great things about it. Perhaps I will run into you at one in the future. 🙂

      • Posted September 6, 2011 at 1:29 am | Permalink | Reply

        Join us this year!? November 2-4. Please let me know if you decide to go as I’d LOVE to meet you.
        I’ll be there for sure as I’m a sponsor this year and will have a booth there. I’ve also submitted a speaking proposal….

        • Posted September 6, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink | Reply

          Have a scheduling conflict this year, but am planning on attending next year. Would be great to meet you too. 🙂 Hope you get to speak!

  5. Posted August 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hands down Social Fresh earlier this year in Tampa. Offering great practical tips and tools to become more well versed in social media marketing while also getting an opportunity to interact with Christopher Penn with Blue Sky Factory and Paula Berg the gal who started Southwest Airlines social media initiative.

    • Posted August 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Karen! So great to hear about your experience at Social Fresh. Sounds like it was an amazing experience, so I am very happy to add it to our growing list of top picks. 🙂

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  1. […] fired me a message, pointing out how Suzanne was mentioned not once, but TWICE in this article by Dr. Shannon Reece, which names the 20 Best Live Events for Entrepreneurs […]

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