Not too long ago, I returned from St. Louis, where the third Financial Blogger Conference was held. I had a great time, but it wasn’t all parties and fun. I also conducted some serious business.
While it doesn’t seem necessary to travel to conferences if you have a business — especially if it is an online business — there are definite benefits to making the effort. Here are 5 good reasons to travel to conferences:
1. Learn New Things
We can all learn from other people. In many cases, conferences offer informative sessions that can help you stay on top of your game. You might learn the latest trends and techniques in your business space. Perhaps you will learn how to present yourself so that you can advance your career. The new information you receive can help you with your own business, or provide you with interesting insight into improving yourself overall so that you are more marketable.
2. Network with Your Peers
Another good reason to attend a conference is for the networking opportunities. You might be surprised at how helpful your peers can be. You can make connections at other companies, or even find potential business partners. There are plenty of opportunities to make useful connections, and you might even be able to help someone else. Being able to help others, while receiving help in return, is a huge benefit that can come from traveling to conferences.
You might also meet peers willing to form a mastermind group with you. A mastermind group can provide you with ongoing help as you improve your business, or boost your career prospects. With the networking you do at a conference, you can form lasting bonds with your peers that can be of service later on down the road.
3. Make Deals
Depending on the conference, it’s possible for you to make deals with others. I came away from the latest FinCon with more than one new writing gig. Not only that, but I also made some useful affiliate contacts, as well as contacts that can be used for stories I’m working on. When you are at a conference, talking to others, it’s easier to see where you might have complementary skills; you might be surprised at how you might mesh with someone else. But you’ll never really know unless you meet them in person at a conference.
One of the reasons that I love attending FinCon is that it re-energizes me. I get excited about my business, and what could be next for me and more career. Sometimes what you need to boost your productivity and improve your overall performance is a break. Recent studies indicate that a vacation can be good for your overall productivity, and that a good break can help you improve your performance.
I know that when I come back from a conference, I am ready to do more work — and better work. I’m also excited about what is next. My entire outlook is improved by a trip to a conference.
Okay, so you really probably shouldn’t attend a conference just for the tax deduction. The tax deduction is really just a bonus. Remember that a tax deduction isn’t a dollar for dollar reduction in your taxes (at least not in the United States). Whether you are in the United States or in Canada, though, you can get a tax benefit for your travel. This tax benefit can help offset, to some degree, the cost of attending a conference.
If you decide to claim a tax break for your conference attendance, you need to make sure that you are traveling for business. Be sure that you keep good records of your expenses, and that you can show that your travel is for business, whether it’s for your own business, or for business purposes related to your work. Also understand that if someone reimburses you for your travel, you won’t be able to claim the tax benefit; it’s meant for the expenses you bear on your own.
In the end, conference attendance can be a benefit to you as a person, as well as to your career or business. Consider the merits of attending a conference at least once a year to learn new information and make new connections.