Trade Show Side Hustle

Appearances can be deceiving.  We all know this to be true, and yet somehow there is a tendency to fall for it again and again.

Don’t let your trade show company get crammed into a one-size-fits-all box.  

While we adore our trade show box (it is, after all, our bread and butter) it’s okay to let the world know that you are adaptable and customizable.

In fact, it’s so much more than okay, that it’s actually beneficial and something you should be doing.

Ayn Rand, the famed novelist, said that “it isn’t the question of who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

It’s time to change perceptions and remove those false limitations by learning how to do the trade show side hustle.

Flaunt Your Skills

If you were to write down all of your skills and achievements, my guess is you would realize that you have more to offer than you thought.  

Everything that you have learned from your trade show business can be applied to a variety of opportunities that compliment what you already do.  And they provide your company with additional revenue and clients in between shows.

Creating a special events division within your company is a great way to flex your creative muscles and venture out into new territory.

Where To Get Started

A great place to discover new events in your local area is through the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).  If you aren’t a member already, you are missing out on a great way to network and gain valuable information. The annual fee is well worth the investment.

Once you are a member, the events calendar is your ticket to valuable opportunities.  Give your CVB a capability statement, listing all of your qualifications and portfolio.  

They might think that you are limited to trade shows.  Put that notion to rest by explaining to them who you are and that you are up to the task.  

The companies that create events rely on the CVB to point them to capable businesses who can manage or contribute to their event.  The CVB will funnel that work to you, and other relevant companies.

Hotels and other arenas are also valuable sources of information when it comes to events.  Since it’s likely that they are already familiar with your company, introduce them to your special events division.  

Your past (or current) partnerships with the local facilities will be a huge selling point.  They should already know your proven track record and can recommend you.


Have you ever wanted to participate in a marathon (no running required!) or manage an event at a local theater?  Does the final four or various speaking events with big-wigs pique your interest?

A great aspect of having a special events division with your skill set is that you can be open to a diverse set of opportunities.  Don’t shun small events; these can turn into larger, more lucrative business deals.

What To Bring

What do you need for your side hustle?  Your supplies may vary depending on the job, but as a general rule you should include the following:

  • Pipe and drape
  • Ceremony Scissors
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Ribbon

Building Better

Successful hustlers are focused and are willing to invest in new opportunities and people.  The side hustle isn’t just another job. It has the tremendous potential to build a new empire.  

No one is going to create opportunities for you; you have to do that yourself.  Dream big and you can build a better future for you and your company. Now go and make it happen.