The first decade of my entrepreneurial career was spent selling online learning solutions to professional associations. We lived mostly in the Bar Association, Accounting Society, and Medical society worlds, but we worked with all kinds of associations. Yes, there is an association for everything. Funeral directors, organ donors, veterinarians, clowns, circus owners, makeup artists… everything. Our favorites when I was working in the industry was, of course, the Associations of Association Executives. But wait, one more level: then there is the Association of Association Executives who run the Associations of Association Executives. No, I’m not kidding.
Anyway…. on the topic of being resourceful, I find that I am now making the mistake that I think most people make in their careers: we don’t leverage the value of organized associations nearly as much as we could.
Paying the dues and attending the annual conferences is usually as far as most people go. Maybe you read the newsletters. But go deeper! Members of your industry associations can be your biggest resource when you’re hunting for clients, partners, vendors, employees, or even just ideas. Just find a way to get involved.
Remember, associations are usually powered by tons of volunteers. Yes, even professional associations with expensive dues. If you want to grow yourself, start by giving to your industry by via an association.