The following question is triggered by reading this recent question as well as by a recent case of an organizing committee member approaching me with invitation to present at a well-known (at least, within my discipline of information systems and a larger management sciences field) conference.
Unfortunately, I had to politely decline his kind invitation and an exciting opportunity for academic research career building and networking, especially considering that I am a beginning researcher. The reason for why I had to decline that promising invitation is twofold:
1) at this time, I'm a non-affiliated (independent) researcher with no financial support for research activities, including attending conferences - needless to say that I simply cannot afford to attend them on my own (but, even, if I would be, say, a postdoctoral researcher with some research budget, as far as I know, funds for attending conferences or similar events are quite limited);
2) my current life circumstances are not too favorable in terms of traveling (though, it is possible); moreover, I tend to agree with the "time lost" point, mentioned in this nice answer (though, I realize that it is a matter of assessing and balancing between time and effort spent on preparation for presenting at a conference and a potential academic and career value of a prospective event).
Considering all the above-mentioned points and circumstances, my questions are as follows:
Is it possible to build a good research academic career, avoiding publishing for (and, thus, presenting at) conferences and, instead, focusing at disseminating research artifacts via journal publications (in addition to working papers, industry articles, workshops, etc.)?
To what extent, if any, it would be damaging to a researcher, especially in early career, to use the strategy above and what are some potential mitigation strategic and tactical measures other than attending (and presenting at) conferences?
Note: My questions above imply conferences only, as workshops or similar smaller events seem to be more affordable and, sometimes, even, free to attend and/or to present at.