What is Meetup?

Meetup is an online platform with the largest network of local groups. Creating a meetup can be done for fun, money, or both. Meetup groups are local communities of people sharing the same passions, hobbies, interest, etc. This business model is not necessarily passive but allows you to do something you would want to do with others anyway and earn money for it. Once your group is created, Meetup will help you grow and organize events.

Steps To Make It Happen

Find Your Purpose

Idea Generation

It’s important to create a meetup that you are passionate about. Do not create a group solely for profit because you’ll be hosting events and meeting people you do not care to. Here’s a list of things you should consider:

  1. What are your hobbies and interests?
  2. Who do you enjoy meeting?
  3. What activities do you enjoy doing during your free time?
  4. What type of events would you like to host?
  5. Pick topics you’re excited about!

Before starting your Meetup group, do some research on what type of meetups are in your area and attend events to see what they’re like. Meet the members and the leaders and take note of what events people like and how the leaders organize them. See how you can differentiate yourself so you are not directly competing with another already successful meetup. It is much better to partner with these people on joint events than to have them as your enemy.


Create a Meetup Group

Setting Up

Setting up a Meetup Group is easy and painless. Select ‚ÄúStart a Meetup Group” at the top of the website. You’ll be asked to:

  • Pick 15 topics related to your group
  • Create a group name
  • Create a group description
  • Choose what you’d like your members to be called (techies, foodies, artist, etc.)

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.36.59 PM

Optimizing Meetup Group

After creating a meetup group its time for optimization! You’ll want to optimize your group a few different ways so that it attracts new members. Here are some things you can do:

  • Make it pretty – create a banner and find a background that fits your groupScreen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.25.14 PM


  • Have a good description – describe exactly what your group is for and what type of events you plan on having for your members. This is the first thing people will read when deciding whether or not to join your groupScreen Shot 2015-09-09 at 3.26.14 PM


  • Add Photos – do your best to take photos at meetup events and post them for your members to see. Not only will they appreciate seeing the photos, it will encourage new members to join in on the fun as well! (Note – This is a step we definitely need to improve on)

Host Events

First Event

Your first event should be something simple, a meet and greet at a coffee shop or happy hour at a bar usually works best. Find a venue and speak with the manager/owner before to make sure they can accommodate your group. Use this opportunity to meet your members and get to know them. Ask them why they joined and what they’d like to get out of the group.


Future Events

After getting to know your members, it’s time to plan the first real event! Come up with a creative/fun event that will intrigue your members and attract new people. This would be different depending on what your meetup group topic is. We host pub crawls, social hours, game watches, and also piggy back off events that are already occurring. Keep in mind, the events do not need to be created and hosted by you. Many of our meetups consist of going to other events together. If your meetup topic was outdoor activities, you could host things like hiking, kayaking, camping, etc. Be creative and plan diligently.


It’s very important to organize your meetups diligently. If you’re planning a weekend camping trip, think about the location, transportation, accommodation, food, drinks, weather, safety, etc. Being organized will create a better experience for your members and make your life a whole lot easier. Arrange everything first, calculate the cost, and charge a fair price.



Charging Guest

A lot of meetups are free but our goal here is to monetize! It’s common practice in business that you either compete on price (in this case free) or differentiate and add value. This is why it is important to have quality events that are well thought out and organized. Charging guests can get tricky because you don’t want your members to think you are hustling them. The best way to avoid this is to either charge them less than what it would normally cost and/or add value. This requires some negotiation skills on your side.

Getting Deals

Since you are bringing a big group of people to different establishments, use it to your advantage and negotiate prices. We recommend creating a win-win-win situation where your members get discounts, you make money, and the establishment gets more business. What we do with “Shanghai Social” is negotiate a deal with the venue so that all of our members get in for free and we are paid for each person that goes. This is done simply with a password “Shanghai Social” at the entrance of the event. If you have a “foodie” meetup group and are planning a group dinner, contact the restaurant and ask for some specials or discounts for your group. Here’s how you can negotiate with establishments:

  1. Contact the manager or owner of the establishment
  2. Let them know you are the organizer of a large group and would like to host your next event at their venue (give them an estimated number of attendees)
  3. Ask them what days are good for them (of course make sure it matches a good day for your members too)
  4. Tell them you’d like to do something special for your group and see what they have in mind.

Example: When we host social hours, we usually ask for happy hour deals for our members, free snacks, and a percentage of bar sales (10-15%).


Once you have established a solid meetup and a good amount of events, its time to find sponsorship! (Note: We have not reached this stage yet). Contact companies that are related to your meetup group and let them know who you are, what your meetup does, how many people participate and see if they would like to be involved. Some examples of this are travel groups sponsored by brands like North Face or startup groups sponsored by investment companies or local incubators. These sponsors could provide a variety of things like free swag, free location for your events, funds to help lower cost, etc. We haven’t explored this much but will keep you updated on our progress!