So you want to plan a meetup?! YAY!
Bringing people together is one of my favorite things to do and who doesn’t love to sweat with other guys and gals!? I am often asked for information on how I do it and I am not one to hold someone back on planning a meetup themselves! If you have been thinking about doing it or just want more information on how I do it, keep reading!
How I got started
One day I posted a photo of myself at the Culver City stairs. A few ladies commented that they lived nearby and had always wanted to do them. So I decided to coordinate that. I made a little flyer on an iphone app and posted it to my instagram. At the time I think I had maybe 2000 followers and a few ladies said they would join.
When the day came, one girl showed up. And one was enough! We became friends, enjoyed our hike, and made plans to meetup again! What more could you ask of a successful meetup!? First tip in planning meetups – let go of any expectations and just enjoy the day. I was going to hike the stairs whether I had 20 girls show up or none.
How you can get started
If you have an idea for a meetup, go for it. It could be as simple as a group lunch, hike, beach day, workout in the park, anything! Once you have your idea, make a little flyer and put it out on your instagram or community Facebook page. Over in SoCal, we have a Facebook group where ladies post the various meetups that are going on.
If you want your meetup in a local park, be sure you don’t need to get any permits. In Los Angeles, we need permits for our fitness meetups. Contact the park and see what they require, getting the permits is easy enough and the park employees are very helpful.
If you want to find a local studio to host your meetup, ask around! Email a local studio and see if they are interested in partnering with you to host an event at their studio. The 3 things I make sure to touch on in my emails are: Who I am, Who the attendees are, and what I am asking for (usually hosting an event at their studio for the attendees free of charge). Make sure you point out what is in it for the studio while you are formatting the email with those 3 points.
Tips for identifying studios who are more open to a meetup:
- They are new to the area.
- They don’t have a large following on social media
- You have seen them host other meetups
- You have seen them with deals on sites like groupon or living social.
EVERYTHING’S better with friends
Don’t feel like you have to plan this whole thing alone (although you can!) It helps if you have one or two others who also want to help host a meetup. Choose your co-hosts wisely and everything becomes so much easier to plan and make happen. From sending sponsor emails to getting the word out, having someone to talk to about the whole thing can be very helpful both mentally and tactically.
Don’t feel pressure to have goodie bags or sponsors, the ladies are excited just to get to workout or hang out together so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you want to pursue sponsors, here is how I do it.
First off, it never hurts to ask, the worst they can do is say no or not respond. Fear not! Most of the brands I reach out to are thrilled to be a part and excited to participate.
Find products or brands that make sense with the meetup and/or attendees. Getting their contact information is really easy now days, usually they have an email right on their instagram account. If it’s not there, you can usually find an email or form to fill out on their websites.
Tips to identifying brands more open to collaboration:
- They have run sponsored posts on social media
- They have sponsored other similar meetups
- They are present at area tradeshows or expos
- They are newer company and fit perfect with your meetup
- You have seen them gift stuff to influencers related to your meetup
I format my emails to brands the same way I would reach out to a studio. Make sure you touch on what is in it for them as you hit on your 3 points:
- Who you are
- Who the attendees are
- What are you asking them for (be as specific as possible.)
Attendee Sign Up
Once you have your idea for the meetup and studio or park secured (if necessary) you can begin to put out the word and get your attendees signed up! My preferred way to have attendees sign up is with eventbrite. It’s free to sign up for you as the host as well as your attendees. It also allows you to keep the signup link private if you need, limit the headcount, email all attendees from the platform, as well as pull the list of names and emails, along with a lot of other benefits.
Another option is a google form. Google forms are tricky in that you can’t limit the amount of attendees who can sign up (I had a SoulCycle class with 20 spots and 40 girls signed up through the form! Whoops! Luckily they allowed me to host a second class for the ladies) If limiting attendees is not an issue, then it’s a really quick and easy way to get the signup going. You can ask any details you need right in the form. You can then export the form details right into a google sheet and excel.
I prefer to keep my meetups open to anyone and not have a ton of hoops the attendees need to go through to sign up, this is supposed to be a fun event right?! It’s all about bringing people together and leaving them with a fun, enjoyable time at the meetup, and hopefully with some new fitness friends too!!
Spread the word!
Use whatever means feels most comfortable to you and where your attendees are at. I use my Instagram account and the community groups on Facebook. If you have some friends who you know would like to come, email, call, text them the sign up info and ask them to help you spread the word.
As I mentioned before, my very first one I didn’t know a single person who might come and I just went for it anyways. And I am glad I did! If you have been thinking about it, do it!
Day of meetup
Bringing it back to the first and most important tip – let go of any expectations and just enjoy the day! Speaking from experience, I know this is sometimes hard to do. Depending on the size and scale of your meetup, it might have been a lot of stress to coordinate. When the day arrives for your meetup, try and let all of that go and just enjoy the day! Laugh, chat, take tons of photos and enjoy the time with your attendees doing whatever it is you all are doing!
I promise, no one will notice what went wrong, what didn’t arrive, or that you didn’t get such and such sponsor. Everyone is excited to hang out and get to know other like minded people which is exactly what a meetup is for! Letting go of any expectations is the best way to really enjoy the day and it took me a few meetups to finally understand that.
To see some of my past meetups – click here.
*Note* If there are existing, specific, large scale meetup already happening in your area, contact the organizer(s) and let them know you are interested in helping.