The 15 Top Conferences for Freelance Moms

Do you have your business development plan for this year in place?

I can practically hear the voices inside your head screaming:

Business development? Me? Yikes! What does that even mean for my business? How do I even do that?

Take a deep breath. Business development can be fun and not painful at all . . . if you do it at conferences.

In fact, business development is really just the official-sounding, corporate term for hanging out with like-minded people that you would like to do business with and building relationships with them.

At Pioneer Nation, a conference for entrepreneurs, one of the most highly tweeted and talked-about main stage talks focused on how the hottest new online business training website, Fizzle, came from a relationship struck up at a conference over a mutual love of the esoteric digestif Fernet Branca.

Attending even just one conference this year can kick your freelancing into high gear by increasingly your:

  • visibility
  • relationships with top people in your field
  • connections with other freelancers at the same point in their business as you
  • client base
  • knowledge of the latest developments in freelancing and small business generally and your area specifically

But you get the best return out of attending the right conference for your needs. There are a lot of conferences out there, and the biggest, busiest, most bustling ones may not be what you need right now—or they might be.

Browse through the best conferences for Freelance Moms in all different business areas this year to find the one for you. We’ll talk more next week about how to rock the event and make sure you get much more than your time and money’s worth.

All-Purpose, Morale-Boosting Networking & Learning

While learning may be your primary objective for attending a particular conference,
especially early on, the real return on investment typically comes from the people
you are able to meet and the new relationships you forge.

Regardless of your particular type of freelance work, you’ll find kindred spirits at
these general interest events, where you can connect both with others at a similar
stage of business as yourself and higher-level mentor folks whose blogs you’ve read
for years.

Some, though not all, of these events are woman-focused.


July 16, New York City, New York
Why go: BlogHer is the preeminent event for women with all kinds of online
businesses, which today means any kind of business. It’s so pervasive that in many
freelance circles, if you’re not showing your face at BlogHer, you may as well not
Register here

Mom 2.0 Summit

April 29, Scottsdale, Arizona
Why go: Mom 2.0 narrows the scope from women period to moms, while widening from blogging to all modern businesses. If learning is as important as networking for
you, this can be a better bet than the epic and often overwhelming BlogHer schedule.
Register here

Blissdom Canada

October, Mississauga, Ontario
Why go: There used to be a Blissdom in the U.S. as well, but it stopped after
several years as the founders needed to devote additional time to other projects,
and a Canadian cohort has picked up the thread. This smaller conference is ideal
for forging strong connections with a smaller group of women who are serious in
their business goals.
Register here

Yes and Yes Yes

June 12, Palm Springs, California
Why go: Though still relatively new, this is the sort of high-powered happiness
summits you might associate with Tony Robbins, but with a Palm Beach meets
Millennial/Gen X/Gen Y vibe. Though the agenda is basically nonexistent, this is the
place to meet and become close friends with movers and shakers in the online
business world.
Register here

World Domination Summit

July 9, Portland, Oregon
Why go: Though, like the previous one, this event is hard to classify, the stories
from main stage speakers of how they took both life and business by storm are sure
to make you walk away with buckets of ideas, while the networking, through hours set
aside for attendee-led meet-ups is sure to lead you to your next mastermind group.
Register here

Online Marketing Conferences

No matter what type of business you are in, online marketing is a make or break
aspect of it.

If you are looking to learn an entirely new skill like video-making or podcasting
practically overnight but at a professional level, events like these can get you
there with a huge savings in time and monetary investment over weeks- or months-long online courses.


April 13, Las Vegas, Nevada
Why go: Formerly BlogWorld, now the New Media Expo, NMX has grown from its blogging roots to encompass every type of digital and online media possible. Whether you are client facing and looking to pick up blogging or social media business or looking to beef up your skills or hire some help, the tens of thousands of attendees at NMX make it one-stop shopping.
Register here


April 3, New York City, New York
Why go: BlogWell is not your average conference attendee mix. Run more like an
association conference, it’s all folks with companies listening to and discussing
eight social media case studies. Think of it as the real-world equivalent of Harvard
Business School.
Register here

Social Media Week

February 23, in more than 26 cities, including New York
Why go: Thankfully, Social Media Week has so spread in length and geography that
it’s easy to catch no matter where you’re based. Taking place at slightly different
times in different cities, Social Media Week is a distributed event, with talks,
receptions and parties taking place all over throughout the week, allowing you to
literally get inside some of the top companies in your area.


March 13, Austin, Texas
Why go: South by Southwest is an event that today needs no introduction, but the
high-energy Austin festival has only become the goto place for tech and social media
folks in recent years. Now, if you want to take your brand, personal or just
business, to the big leagues, this annual event is the springboard for meeting the
top people in every industry that freelance businesses touch.

Blog U Conference

June 5, Baltimore, Maryland
Why go: f you need to bone up on blogging fundamental, intermediate, or advanced
best practices in a short amount of time and don’t mind an atmosphere that’s
strangely reminiscent of a teenage slumber party at times, Blog U is the (abridged)
social media university program you’re looking for.
Register here

Niche Blog and Business Conferences

While the conferences above are great for meeting business heavyweights, learning
top marketing techniques, and forging connections with both mentors and peers that
will drive your business, you won’t learn the latest about your particular type of
work, unless you’re in marketing or social media.

A great conference list for a Freelance Mom includes one or more general events like
those above to get you in front of movers and shakers along with something highly
relevant to your business.

HOW Design Live Conference 2015

May 4, Chicago, Illinois
Why go: If you are in design, HOW magazine needs no introduction. Recognizing a gap in events available to its readers, HOW created this main event and another
specifically for creative freelancers. If you’re looking to meet business prospects,
however, the big event is the place to be.
Register here

International Food Blogging Conference

September 18, Seattle, Washington
Why go: Even if you don’t have a food blog per se, if your business involves food in any way, this is the place to meet major brands for partnerships, bloggers to hire or have cover your work on their blog, cookbook authors and publishers, and writers and editors from major magazines who can give your product or website press.
Register here

Pioneer Nation

October 2, Portland, Oregon
Why go: After creating a series of “unconventional guides” to help people build thriving businesses in underappreciated niches including art, Chris Guillebeau realized that there was no event to help these individuals meet and work through the problems that arise with solopreneur and very small businesses. Pioneer Nation is still very new, but the caliber of attendees at the first event make it one to get tickets for as soon as you can before the small event fills up.
Register here

Writer’s Digest

July 31, New York City, New York
Why go: If part of your business plan includes writing a book–traditionally or self-published–this mondo festival on professional publishing is the place to learn exactly how to get your idea, proposal, and marketing right. You even have the opportunity during the famous pitch slam to present your idea to or work through your idea with agents during the event.
Register here

The Makers Summit

March 6, Greenville, South Carolina
Why go: Whether they realize it or not, so many Freelance Moms are part of the maker movement, which centers around small businesses doing handcrafted work with care and commitment to artisanship. If you are a creator, particularly of physical products, the highly popular Makers Summit or its smaller sister events are an incredible source of information sharing from others in the same boat.
Register here

Are you already set to attend one or more industry conferences this year? Which ones? Are there other ones we haven’t mentioned here that you love?

Let me know if the comments or by email.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Stein owns, is a college business professor and a mom to Gabriela and Elle. Lisa is dedicated to playing a part in helping women and moms run a business they love, help support themselves and their family and create a flexible lifestyle. You can find her online on Facebook and Twitter or at home burning something in the kitchen.