Making Meetup Work For You: How to be a successful organizer

How Meetup can not only enrich your life, but even make you a side income
Meetup isn’t just a platform to meet people, it’s an opportunity to make some side income. Find out how!

Learn Best Practices for running a Meetup Group

Many people have heard of Meetup. In their minds, the platform is a casual way to make new friends, or even a less-trodden path to do some business and life networking. Because the majority of the users don’t pay to access the platform, and because so many groups are run casually, most people don’t realize that it’s a platform, just like Airbnb or Uber, on which you can build a small business.

Unlike Airbnb or Uber, in which you are generally limited in capacity (your Airbnb can only hold so many guests, an Uber can only seat so many passengers), Meetup groups can scale to host many people at a time, and diversify to make sure that you’re not the only person organizing all the events.

What most people don’t know is that on top of shouldering the organizing burden, which requires better than basic logistical and organizational skills, organizers also pay a fee for the privilege of organizing a Meetup group. That’s right, organizers pay to organize a group for others.

The cost is not prohibitive, so many organizers chalk up the cost as the price of “having a hobby.” But a fraction of organizers see the opportunity and rather than let the annual Meetup costs add up in their personal liabilities column, take the chance to put a few systems in place to increase the value of the Meetup, and turn those meetings into small regular income events instead.

Soon enough the annual Meetup cost is offset and a slow (or fast) trickle of side income develops. This course, built on the experience of over a dozen groups, can show you how to do that, step-by-step.

Learn how to become a Profitable Meetup Organizer!

What you get...

A toolbox for running successful and profitable Meetup groups. While everyone appreciates the person who volunteers to run a great ongoing event at no charge, many are willing to pay for someone who does so with consistency and friendliness. This course was built by someone who has built multiple profitable and successful Meetups.

Niche down: As in business and life, the riches are in the niches. You might think that being broad will attract more people, but the reality is that the most successful meetups are the most specific.

    • Systems: “Everybody loves it when a plan comes together.” Plans don’t come together by accident. From screening questions to no-show etiquette, the meetups that have systems run best.
    • Third Places: You’ll learn about what a “third place” is and how you can proactively develop relationships to give you a consistent and reliable place for your group to meet.
    • Get Help: You don’t have to run these groups by yourself.  Very often you will have people who are willing to volunteer some of their time to assist. The key here is to set the right expectations upfront.
    • Partner Up: In addition to finding venues and assistant organizers, you can also sometimes find sponsorships. This may take a bit of extra legwork but it can be a great win/win for your group and the sponsor.
    • Lessons Learned: Why wait to make your own mistakes? I’ve made them for you and compiled them into this course to create a helpful do and don’t list. Abide by it to create groups built on best practices.

Who this course targets...

This course is perfect for you if:

  • You’ve never been to any Meetup events before
  • You’ve been to a Meetup event but don’t know anything about running one
  • You are looking for some side income
  • You like the idea of monetizing a hobby
  • You have a gift for organization and want some tips on how to use the Meetup platform to your advantage
  • You’ve never organized a group but have a good mind for detail and are willing to take on the challenge
  • Have been wanting to improve in a subject or area or simply want to share your passion or hobby

Testimonials about the course

"Great course that finished as strong as it began. The material that was presented was succinct yet informative and really got me thinking about creative ways to make additional money through Meetup and other platforms. This is on par with the type of course that I have come to expect from Stephen Heiner."
David Ford

Craftsman and Entrepreneur

"I went into this thinking that I knew what Meetup was and I quickly realized that it's much more than a vehicle to use when trying to get like-minded people together in a room to share good times. The overall production quality of this course is very professional and made listening through the entire course a breeze. If anything, I think Meetup should pay attention to this course as this is what should be available on their website in order to get people familiar with what Meetup is and what it can do for you. Thanks for putting this together, looking forward to checking out some of your other content."
Thomas Mon

Coder, Author, and Game Designer

"This information was really helpful, and ties in exactly with what I was hoping to learn about. I have also taken another course from Stephen, 'How To Start A Business - The Practical Guide', and combining what I have learned from both courses is really helpful in my pursuit of my own business creation goals and network growth."
Michael Denmon

Small Business Owner

What you will learn

This course is a guide about how to build a Meetup group set up for success from the very first event. You’ll learn everything from how to properly screen members at the outset to how to systematically cull the group of unreliable people. Take my lessons and best practices, honed over creating over a dozen Meetup groups, and create your own group that isn’t just fun, but a source of side income.
  • Keys to long term success on meetup
  • Tips for holding your members accountable
  • Tips for increasing attendance ratios
  • The value of niching down
  • The 4 foundational keys to success for a well organized meetup
  • How to create long term buy in from your membership
  • and much more...
group of people running into the sunset

Course Curriculum

Click on any section below to expand it and see your preview options.

Meet the course creators

Stephen L. M. Heiner

Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach

Stephen has been teaching, in one form or another, for over 20 years.  He had a teaching internship right out of high school, went on to become a teacher at every level from grade school to grad school, and even built a tutoring company over a decade which he then sold before moving to Paris to begin a new stage in his life.

Dan Fox

Project Manager, Entrepreneur, and Content Creator

Dan lives outside Seattle and has spent much of his professional life in roles focused on project management, operations, systems analysis, and change management. He recently transitioned out of a career in which he consulted for the U.S. Federal government and has been focusing his efforts on more creative pursuits, including photography, videography, and entrepreneurship. 

Leaders go first

Meetup, like many successful concepts, began with a simple need. New Yorkers after 9/11 wanted forums to share what they were going through in the wake of the attacks. Many groups formed spontaneously and made real differences in people’s lives. This in turn inspired the founders of Meetup who launched the company the following year.

People who are leaders and organizers can’t help themselves. They even take the lead in their personal lives, in low-stakes situations (like organizing a poker night or a book club). Meetup is a platform that takes that intentionality that these people bring to the most casual of situations and rewards everyone: the organizer who puts in the effort, the attendees who meet new people and enjoy a well-run event, the venue which gets more publicity and exposure, and of course, Meetup itself.

For those who are looking to develop leadership and organizational skills, you won’t find a better real-world “training simulation” than Meetup. People will be forgiving if you make mistakes early on, as they know you are doing something in your free time to help them, but people will also be encouraging as you succeed, and will often offer to help in some way.

This course will give you everything you need, whether you’re a seasoned Meetup attendee or have never been to one in your life, to run a group successfully - not just for fun, but for profit. Why learn on our own when you can learn from someone who has gone before you and built groups time and again from scratch?



Top Rated
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Carla Fountain

Great Course!

I was a Meetup organizer for two groups about 8 years ago and now want to get back into it. The groups went well but I had to let them go due to my work schedule after a year. This course gave useful tips on how to organize successful Meetups. I am very excited about starting up again with one or two groups. Thank you Stephen!

4 years ago

Meetup Magic...

I've always wondered about how to organise a successful Meetup, so this course hit the nail on the head. It's helped me understand not just the platform itself, but also the ways that I can attract the right people to any events I organise in the future and the pitfalls to avoid. Very practical tips! I can see why Stephen is a successful host himself of so many groups. Thanks for the insight!

4 years ago

Making Meetup Work For You: How to be a successful organizer

How Meetup can not only enrich your life, but even make you a side income

  • 37 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on computer, mobile, and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Access to a dedicated student community



While Meetup varies its costs in different countries (it costs more in the United States, Meetup's backyard, than in Europe and Asia, which are developing markets) the rule is generally the same: a single Organizer subscription will allow you to be the primary Organizer for three groups, though you can be a co-organizer on as many as you wish.

I enjoy experimenting with a wide variety of projects. I'm also naturally drawn toward hosting (though you don't have to be to see Meetup success! It simply led me to be curious.). Just like Airbnb and Uber, Meetup is a platform that allows perfect strangers to connect with each other. No one resents paying to stay at someone’s house nor getting a ride in someone’s car. Once you build a group that people want to be part of, you’ll be surprised at how many people don’t resent paying dues/fees to join you. Not to get all "Field of Dreams" on you here... but if you build it, they will come.

Meetup Pro is a higher level subscription that is meant for a regional/national organization that wants to have multiple chapters. While the scale is different from smaller, locally-based groups, the principles of leadership and organization taught in this course are the same and are just as useful to Meetup Pro Organizers.

Not at all! In fact, what I observed during the lockdown in my groups (as we moved to online events) was not only no change in attendance but an increase, as people sought some kind of “normal” in a sea of uncertainty. While you can choose to give people some breaks as you see fit during tough times, you’ll find that people are very willing to continue to pay, even for online meetings, and Meetup proved itself very nimble in making the changes necessary to make online meetings easy to advertise.

Stephen L. M. Heiner, Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach
"In his book Zero to One, Peter Thiel talks about the financial power of unlocking secrets. I feel that Meetup is very much an unexploited, little known secret that you can use to create value for yourself and for others. I hope to see you inside the course!" 

Stephen L. M. Heiner
Writer, Entrepreneur, and Coach