(photo taken at The Hello Sessions)
There’s a lot of great reasons to network when you’re self employed. Not only will it lead to new business opportunities, but it will give your cat/dog a break from hearing you talk at them all day because nobody else is home. For me, one of the best reasons to network is to form a support system.
I’ve met some wonderful friends through blogging and can’t tell you how much their support has kept me going over the years. They’re the people I go to to chat about project ideas, business goals, and what to charge for my work. More often than not, we are offered the same campaigns, so if we aren’t talking, we could be making drastically different amounts of money for the same work. Without a doubt, we are stronger when we work together.
If you are looking to form a support group of your own, here are some tips for making new friends:
1. Conferences. Although sometimes a bit of an investment, conferences are by far the best way to meet new people in your field in person. For me, the ones I’ve attended are less about the sessions and workshops and more about the conversations that last until 2am in someones room. Check the hashtags before the event and try to connect before the event starts.
2. Social Media. I can’t tell you how many of the relationships I have with great friends all started with a tweet. Social media is one of the most powerful networking tools out there because you can reach anyone from any part of the world. Be active and engage with others! You never know when they might be in your city for an event and ask to meet up for coffee.
3. Email. Scary, right? Sometimes all it takes to get a conversation going is a simple hello. If you feel like you need a reason to send the email, or have to have a question, you don’t! A nice compliment goes a long way.
4. Meetups. Depending on where you live, there might already be an organized group of creatives (Etsy sellers, bloggers, etc) that get together. Search and ask around on Twitter and Instagram.
5. Workshops. If you both buy tickets to an event, you already have something in common. Boom, instant ice breaker. If you can’t find any workshops you like in your area, consider hosting one! You never know who is out there wanting to connect as well.
And let’s all just admit it. It’s hard to make friend as an adult and it’s scary to put yourself out there. Be kind to one another and get chatting!