Freelancers are a special breed. We’re business owners, account managers, business development professionals, and, of course experts in our actual field of work. And when there’s something that makes more sense to outsource rather than take on personally, we become managers. We have to be well-rounded business people with a range of skills.

Conferences are a great place to pick up new tips, tactics, tools and strategies that are useful for freelancers, creatives and business owners. We’ve found that those that are most beneficial for freelancers are the ones that open your mind to new concepts, ideas, and ways of doing business. Ones that share the stories of others and educate on best practices.

With that, here are the best conferences for freelancers to attend this year.

1) DNX Digital Nomad Conference

DNX conferences for freelancers

The DNX Digital Nomad Conference isn’t only for people traveling the world while working, it’s for anyone running or working for a remote, online business. The event is two days of 10 speakers, inspiring talks, actionable know-how and networking. Speakers include The Suitcase Entrepreneur Natalie Sisson, The Traveling Dutchman Jasper Ribbers and more!

When: spring, March 1-2, 2016

Where: Bangkok, Thailand

How much: $197

2) Launch Festival

SCALE-Launch conferences for freelancers

Yes, the Launch Festival is more for startup founders than it is for freelancers, but you’ll gain valuable insights into building and running a lean business. You’ll also meet and build relationships with a ton of potential clients. The festival sees 15,000 attendees and 250 speakers on four stages focused on helping founders build, scale and fund the next generation of outstanding companies. And it’s super affordable!

When: spring, March 2-4, 2016

Where: San Francisco, CA, USA

How much: $75

3) Creative at Heart

creative at heart

The Creative at Heart conference is designed to be an inviting atmosphere for creative men and women of all industries — photographers, planners, hand-letterers, designers… the list goes on. You’ll hear keynote speakers who discuss heartfelt and practical topics that can be carried across all industries, and also receive one-on-one time in panel sessions specific to your craft.

When and where: Spring, March 20-22, 2016 in Annapolis, MD; summer, July 24-26 in Denver, CO; and fall, November 13-14 in Memphis, TN, USA

How much: $975.76 – $2,378.95

4) Habit Summit

Habit Summit

Habit Summit gathers product designers, executives, founders and marketers to learn about customer psychology. The event is hosted by Nir Eyal, author of Hooked and will feature speakers such as Merci Victoria Grace of Slack, Robert Moore of RJMetrics, Sarah Tavel of Greylock Partners and more. The conference also offers a “Hooked” workshop-only option for $249 in San Francisco.

When: Spring, March 22, 2016

Where: Stanford, CA, USA

How much: $685

5) SXSW

SXSW

SXSW brings together entrepreneurs, creatives, innovators and influencers for a sneak peek into the future of technology and digital creativity. You’ll rub shoulders with some of the best minds in startup world and learn about the newest websites, games and startups, of course. The best part is, you get to keep it weird in Austin and maybe even hang around for some of the incredible music showcases.

When: Spring, March 11-20, 2016

Where: Austin, TX, USA

How much: $1,295 for an interactive badge

6) Creative South

creative south

Creative South exposes creative and marketing professionals, business people and students to key speakers on the subject of branding and design in the digital era. Attendees will learn tips and tricks from the pros, stay current on new trends, and network with experts in a variety of creative industries around the globe. Each guest will have the chance to talk with speakers one-on-one, making the event quite special. 

When: Spring, April 7-10, 2016

Where: Columbus, GA, USA

How much: $195 

7) 99u Conference

99u

Hosted by Behance, the goal of the 99u Conference is to shift your focus from idea generation to idea execution. They bring together some of the world’s most productive creative visionaries and researchers to share pragmatic insights on how ideas are brought to life. This year’s speakers include Jason Fried of Basecamp, designer Cap Watkins from BuzzFeed, author Ryan Holiday, founder of Double Your Freelancing, Brennan Dunn and many more!

When: Spring, May 5-6, 2016

Where: New York, NY, USA

How much: $799

8) Create & Cultivate 

create & cultivate

The Create & Cultivate conference brings together 60 speakers and 500 women for one life-changing day focused on female creatives. Its goal is to entertain, enlighten and inspire creative women around key topics surrounding the digital space. From launching a blog or a business, developing content strategies or taking your existing strategies to the next level, you will be networking with like-minded creatives while hearing advice from the best in the industry.

When: Spring, May 7, 2016

Where: Los Angeles, CA, USA

How much: $300

9) Grow Conference

grow conference

Hosted by Inc., the Grow Conference is three days of ideas, inspiration and insights, networking and learning, and proven strategies to help your company grow and thrive. The speaker lineup is an all-star crew including Toms’ Blake Mycoskie, Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian, Jillian Michaels, among others.

When: Spring, May 17-19, 2016

Where: Las Vegas, NV, USA

How much: $695

10) World Domination Summit

world domination summit

Every year, the World Domination Summit explores the question: How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world? The event’s core principles of CommunityAdventure and Service guide attendees’ shared pursuit of changing the world.

When: Summer, August 2016

Where: Portland, OR, USA

How much: Main stage events are sold out, but you can join other associated events! 

11) Yellow Conference

the yellow conference

Yellow Co. exists to gather and equip creative women to use their passion, strengths, and influence to serve the greater good. Their annual Yellow Conference gathers innovators from all over the world in one room to connect, get inspired and receive practical tools and resources to help turn dreams into tangible realities. This year’s speakers include Caitlin Crosby of The Giving Keys, Sarah Dubbeldam of Darling Magazine, Vik Harrison of charity:water and more.

When: Summer, August 2016

Where: Los Angeles, CA, USA

How much: $315-$415

12) XOXO Fest

xoxo fest

XOXO Fest brings together creatives from all lines of work — entrepreneurship, design, engineering, marketing, community and more. It celebrates the challenges life and work faces us with and all things around creativity and problem solving. They always have a stellar lineup of speakers with a range of experience and music and fun activities to boot.

When: Summer, September 2016

Where: Portland, OR, USA

How much: TBD

13) Circles Conference

circles conf

The goal of Circles Co. is to craft experiences for creatives, makers and adventurers. For two days in Grapevine, Texas, you’ll listen to and mingle with some of the country’s most passionate thinkers and innovators at the Circle Conference. Speakers range from up and coming designers to the former creative director at Target.

When: Summer, September 7-9, 2016

Where: Grapevine, TX, USA

How much: $310 – $360

14) Story Nashville

story nashville

Story Nashville is where creatives from all over the country gather to share and learn how to be better storytellers through words, visuals and beyond. Last year’s speakers included Austin Kleon and Amy Grant among other esteemed storytellers. More info for 2016 coming soon!

When: Fall, October 2016

Where: Nashville, TN, USA

How much: TBD

15) PopTech

poptech

PopTech brings together 600 diverse thinkers and doers from around the world to share ideas and projects that are shaping the future every October. In addition to speaker presentations, the conference also offers breakout sessions, music, lunches, happy hours and other social events. Check out last year’s speaker lineup.

When: Fall, October 2016

Where: Camden, ME, USA

How much: TBD

16) Max 2016

max

Hosted by Adobe, the Max conference is for any creative who’s looking to beef up their technical skills. You’re not going to get an intimate experience like you will with XOXO, but you will see a celebrity appearance or two. A few of the many speakers to be announced include Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York, illustrator and writer Maira Kalman and designer Aaron Draplin.

When: Fall, November 2-4, 2016

Where: San Diego, CA, USA

How much: $1,095

17) Web Summit

web summit

The biggest event on this list, Web Summit brings together more than 42,000 people from over 134 countries for what’s been called “the best technology conference on the planet.” If you go, you’ll be rubbing elbows with pros from Slack, Basecamp, Microsoft, Forbes and more. Because they’re committed to change in the tech industry, they invited 10,000 female entrepreneurs to join the conference for free.

When: Fall, November 7-10, 2016

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

How much: $1,095

18) The Freelance Conference

freelance conference

Created by freelancers for freelancers, The Freelance Conference in Austin, TX combines the shared dream of freedom with the reality of what it takes to make the dream of self-employment come true. They not only bring in expert speakers to arm you with the tactical skills needed to run your own business, the event offers the opportunity to connect with fellow freelancers over shared challenges.

When: Winter, February 16-18, 2017

Where: Austin, TX, USA

How much: TBD

Bonus: CloudPeeps Freelancer Conference

That’s right! We’re excited to share that we’ll be launching our first-ever conference event in Oakland, CA in the fall of this year. Stay tuned for more info coming soon! Sign up for our newsletter for weekly updates from HQ, including events.

Have you been to a conference or event that should be on this list? Share it in the comments below!

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CloudPeeps Team
We match businesses with the world’s top freelance pros. We're creating the freedom to allow you to work the way you want, wherever you are!
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  • Janet Hoover

    Great list, thanks!

  • Didn’t know there were so many events that will benefit freelancers. Going to check out the ones near where I live. Thanks!