The Meetup Guide

How to Create, Plan and Host A Local Event Series

This guide walks you through the who, what, when, where, why, and how of starting your own local meetup. It's over 50 pages packed with actionable information, valuable insights, tried-and-true tips and worksheets to help you get organized and make things happen!




worksheets + templates


guest appearances


recommended tools

Quick Overview

WHY: Purpose, Passion, Goals

It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. A clear vision will set you up for success—and concrete goals will allow you to measure that success.

WHO: Partners & Attendees

Of course, you’ll want to think about the attendees, who you’ll be inviting. But you’ll also want to consider who you want to work with as partners.

WHAT: Format & Branding

Now it’s time to get started on designing the event itself. This part of the process involves two aspects: deciding what type of event you want to host and developing the branding.

WHEN: Frequency & Timeline

The type of event may dictate when or how often it happens. Or, if it doesn’t, your next step is to select when the event will take place and how often it will occur.

HOW: Budgeting & Sponsors

Managing money and getting sponsors on board may seem intimidating, but with a little organization and a professional demeanor, you’ll be able to make things happen!

WHERE: Venue & Vendors

Now, you’ll want to nail down the very important question of “where” and plan for all the elements of the event itself—the décor, entertainment, food and photography.

BONUS: Tips & Interviews From

Chelsea Foy of Lovely Indeed, Shauna Haider of The Blogcademy & Nubby Twiglet, Mariah Danielsen of Oh, What Love, Sandra Harris of Raincoast Creative Salon and Erin Bassett of Windy City Blogger Collective!

BONUS: Worksheets & Templates

Goal Setting, Roles & Responsibilities, Branding, Emails, Budget and more!

Table of Contents & Chapter Previews


My Story

WHY: Purpose, Passion, Goals

WHO: Partners, Attendees, Marketing

WHAT: Event Format, Branding and Design

WHEN: Date and Time, Frequency, Planning Timeline

HOW: Budgeting, Securing Sponsors

WHERE: Venue, Vendors, and All the Details

During the Event

After the Event

The Made In Mind Social Chapters

Recommended Tools






Planning a local event can feel intimidating. Where do you start? How do you create a successful meetup, the kind that makes people want to return each time it takes place? How can you avoid starting from scratch and learning everything through trial and error?

I had the same thoughts when I set out to start my own local event series. In this book, you’ll find all of the first-hand knowledge I’ve acquired through my experiences in planning The Made In Mind Social events, along with worksheets, recommended tools, and tips from others who have executed many of their own events. It’s everything I wish I had known from the beginning.

Use this book as a resource to guide you through the whole process—the why, who, what, when, how, and where (in that order!)—and your event will surely be a smashing success.

Chapter 1: Why

You might have heard it before: begin with why. Before you dive into the details of a date and venue and marketing, take some time to think about the purpose behind your idea. Why do you want to start a local event?

It’s not what you do but why you do it that matters. A clear vision will set you up for success—and concrete goals will allow you to measure that success.

Ask yourself:
Why do you want to plan this event?
How does the event benefit the people who attend?
How will it benefit you as the host?
Do you want to generate revenue?
Do you hope to have a certain number of attendees at each event?
What will make the event a success in your eyes?

No matter what your answers are, your event should be an extension of the things you already love. Planning takes work (no sugar-coating there!). But by incorporating what you love—in my case, crafting, design, and photography—your passion will bring the event to life.


Chapter 4: When

The type of event may dictate when or how often it happens. Or, if it doesn’t, your next step is to select when the event will take place and how often it will occur. Will you host a weekday happy hour—or maybe a weekend brunch? Will it take place once a month, every other month, or quarterly?

You’ll want to take into account when your audience is available and when they are most interested in connecting, socializing, and meeting new people. Beyond that, your event format and potential venues can also play into timing.

How often the event happens will depend on three main factors:
Whether you use the same venue or different ones each time
How many people are helping to plan and host the event
How much time you need to plan and publicize (which may be determined by how much time you have available!)

Because we use a different venue and format each time, are working with a small group of people, and don’t have an endless amount of time to devote to planning, we need a slightly longer period of time between events—so the Made In Mind events occur every other month. We typically start securing the venue and nail down a date for our next event as soon as the previous one takes place. We post a “save the date” on our social media platforms so attendees can keep the date reserved as we finalize details. We’ll then publicize the location, time, and format at least two weeks prior to the event.

This planning cycle works well for me as the host, as well as the vendors and sponsors I work with and the MIM attendees, but your timeline may end up looking quite different and that’s perfectly okay!

Chapter 6: Where

Now that you have a budget and have started to reach out to potential sponsors, you’ll want to nail down the very important question of “where” (the venue!) and make sure you plan for all the elements of the event itself—the décor, entertainment, food, photography, or anything else you want to include.

The venue is something you’ll need to establish as early as possible in the process of planning the individual events. Often, venues will schedule events weeks and months in advance, so you may have to be flexible with your event’s timing if your heart is set on a specific location.

If you plan to hold your events at the same place each time, it can be easier to reserve dates and times well in advance. Running into a lot of date conflicts or already reserved spaces? You could opt to meet in a public place, as long as the group’s size wouldn’t be disruptive, or your own personal space if you feel comfortable doing so or have access to a large meeting area.

What factors should you keep in mind when selecting a venue?
Your event format and time of day
The estimated number of attendees
Your budget (or ability to secure sponsors or reserve space at no cost)


Choose a chapter

  • Introduction

    - Planning a local event can […]
  • Chapter 1: Why

    - You might have heard it […]
  • Chapter 4: When

    - The type of event may […]
  • Chapter 6: Where

    - Now that you have a […]

Ready to plan your own local event?

Purchase The Meetup Guide

Can’t Decide?

You’ll love this e-book if:

You want to connect in person with other fun people in your city.
You want to meet people who love [insert your job/hobby/special interest] as much as you do.
You have some time to dedicate to planning and hosting an event.
You want to create a local event but aren’t sure where to start or what you need to do.
You have tons of ideas and are ready to take action but need some guidance.
You would love to learn from someone who has been through the planning process.

You might want to pass on this e-book if:

You already have extensive experience in planning events.
You want to plan an event or conference on a national level.
You aren’t ready to move outside your comfort zone.
You’d prefer to connect and communicate strictly online.

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Erin E Flynn

Erin E Flynn

I've always wanted to start my own meetup group, but had NO idea where to start. Ciera breaks everything down in a way that makes it manageable and I feel like this is something I can actually do! Can't wait to start my own group and start connecting with other creatives! —Erin E Flynn

Kory Woodard

Kory Woodard

Ciera knocks it out of the park with this guide. If you've been thinking about doing your own local event, you've got to grab The Meetup Guide. Everything you need to consider for the event is laid out and in the perfect order of how you need to go about it. I've been toying with the idea of doing my own local workshop, but I know there's so much work that goes into it, and the way she's got this guide organized makes it seem very doable! —Kory Woodard

Kate Baird

Kate Baird

Ciera does an amazing job walking you through all the steps to launch your own in-person event. She brings up things I never would have thought of on my own! This is truly a great resource, and after reading it I can't wait to either start my own event or get involved with other local groups! —Katelyn Brooke Designs


Digital PDF


  • Receive a digital pdf through email
  • Over 50 packed pages
  • 10 worksheets + templates
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Made In Mind Chapter


  • Use of name, logo & designs
  • WordPress theme
  • Receive The Meetup Guide for FREE!
  • and more!
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About the author

Ciera Holzenthal is the owner, graphic designer and blogger behind the Ciera Design Studio and founder of The Made in Mind Social. Specializing in visual branding, she’s passionate about creating successful (and enviable) identities for creative entrepreneurs.

Featured on Apartment Therapy, designlovefest, Brit + Co., Babble, BuzzFeed, and HuffPost Home and Taste (just to name a few), this blogger turned business owner is proud to call New Orleans home. She’s also contributed to Whimseybox, Creative Market, the Alt Summit blog and more.

When she’s not working, you’ll find this coffee and social media addict enjoying some of her favorite things — photography, traveling and festivals.

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