Build Your Community

Network and Connect With Other Creatives

It’s dangerous to go alone – in life, and in business. And your creativity is both your business AND your life. Most likely, you’ve heard of the importance of networking in business, but chances are you haven’t connected the dots to how important it is in your creative endeavors. 

via GIPHY

Why it’s essential

  • The importance of community – it’s so vital to have a network of people that understand you and know where you’re coming from. It’s about having a level of support and again, not being isolated and alone in what you do and who you are!
  • The business side – it provides you with future collaborators, contacts, clients, new suppliers, and more. There are so many projects and ideas that have come from other creatives we know.
  • It expands your reach and carries your name farther – word of mouth is still the best advertising!

How to do it

At shows

  • Make friends with other vendors and the tables around you! Try to break out of the “competitor” mentality. You’ve got people on all sides of you who are basically doing the same things as you, in their own unique way. At the very least, introduce yourself, and check in with them throughout the show. You can end up with new connections, new friends that you see at other shows. And also we’ve shared tips and tricks with each other and learned about other shows to check out and ones to avoid, all from chatting with table neighbors. 
  • If a show offers any sort of meetup/mixer for artists, or if there are other meetups/industry events around a show, go! You don’t have to drink, you don’t have to party, you don’t have to stay long, but if you can go, go and at least see if you already know anyone else there, see if they have other friends to introduce you to, etc. A lot of our creative community came from existing creative friends introducing us to their other creative friends. 

Online

  • Join Facebook Groups – Artist Alley Network International is one. Look for other local small groups – we have several for creatives here in the Pacific Northwest. Again it gives you a place to share ideas, talk about business and shows, and build community.
  • Hashtags – on Instagram, search hashtags around what you do and who you are (#illustratorlife, #queerartists, etc). Follow those hashtags, start interacting with the people/accounts you find there. 
  • Collect lots of cards at a show? Follow their social accounts and keep up with them!

More ideas

Every social event or engagement can provide an opportunity to network and connect. It doesn’t have to be an art related event, it can be a birthday party. It doesn’t have to be something formal or scripted – just simply an introduction, exchanging info, and follow up connection. 

Be you. Treat people naturally, the way you want to be treated. Offer no strings advice. Listen more than you talk. And honesty is the best policy – don’t promise things you can’t do, don’t be someone you’re not. 

Be yourself and watch your community grow!

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