After taking a travel hiatus for the last few months, I'm back at it again. Within the next few weeks, I have two conferences on the books. First up, I have my biggest annual conference of the year next week, The Financial Blogger Conference (also known as FinCon).

Given that I am spending a lot of money to attend business events, it's only natural that I create a plan for getting a return on my investment. Because you see, not having a plan is the single biggest mistake most business owners make. Then they complain about not having made any money.

With that being said, here are x proven ways to make money from a business conference. I use these tips every year and always end up making a return on my investment.

What product/service are you trying to sell?

I'm a big fan of starting with the end in mind. That usually looks like figuring out what product or service you're currently working on selling and then creating a course of action.

In the past, I've attended this particular conference primarily to get writing clients. That means I was focusing on getting as much time with editors as I could. I also had a killer follow-up plan that I'd devised with my business manager. Spoiler alert:  It worked.

This year, I'm focusing on growing the digital marketing consulting portion of my business. More specifically, I'm looking for students for my six-week group coaching program.

So what does that mean for this year? First, I'm on a panel about how to convert a blog into a coaching business. Second, I have a team member coming with me so she can help find prospects. Third, we will have a system for collecting information from prospects in order to set up meetings with them.

Just a quick note that all networking etiquette rules still apply. I'm not there to shove anything down anyone's throat. I'm simply positioning myself as the expert through a speaking engagement, having conversations and setting up meetings.

What would be a waste of your time?

Here's a newsflash about conferences: You can't do everything.

Furthermore, as much as I love this particular conference, I know some things are a total waste of time for me. In my case, that looks like taking meetings with companies that want to pitch me their app in hopes that I'll write about it.

It's nothing personal. I'm just there to make money, not necessarily do you a favor. That's why this year I've opted out of taking any meetings like this so I can instead focus on my primary goal: finding students.

Now, if I happen to have a conversation with someone in the hallway that's a totally different story. I'm just not taking formal meetings for this particular purpose.

Who do you want to meet?

Growing your network is a huge part of growing a business. At the end of the day, who you know still plays a major part in business success. After all, % of business still comes from word of mouth and referrals.

And so your next quest becomes determining who you want to meet. Is it editors to get media attention? Is it influencers for a marketing campaign? Is it people you admire?

Come up with a list, take it with you and make some connections.

Final Thoughts

If you're clear about your desired goals, making money from attending conferences becomes easy. The key is to determine what your main priority is and then make all of your decisions based on that.