by Monika Blichar, Producer & Owner Art World Expo
When I used to think of traditional networking, I used to think of early morning breakfast meetings, serious business suit types, and 60 second pitches with those little dingers to make sure you don’t go over your allotted time to talk about your business. 6:00am is not the best time for me to tell people about what I do, let alone try to condense my passion and creativity into 60 seconds! This is likely the case for many artists and creative types. (I’m also quite a recluse, believe it or not, and dread going to large events!) Instead of forcing myself to attend early morning meetings and go out to late night events, I dedicate my time to networking in different ways.
First, I focus on who I know already. My immediate circle of contacts are invaluable to me as I have known them the longest or have already had dealings with them. Who is in your network already? As an artist or creative entrepreneur, look at who you know already and see what they can help you with. Do you need places to post content, locations to show your work, or introductions to business professionals? Ask people you already know to help you out and send you referrals or recommendations. I’ve discovered that this can be done on Facebook too and that people are quite helpful with their comments and recommendations.
Since I really enjoy working from home and my studio and rather not waste precious time driving and running around the city to events or meetings that may or may not be worthwhile, I scour my social media networks. If I am looking for specific businesses or people, I search on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I send message to people or businesses directly through these channels first, and if I really feel that there could be a good collaboration, I also proceed to send them emails. If I really think that we should meet, I call and try to book an appointment or invite them to come by our studio and gallery.
Last, what I really tried to focus on in terms of networking last year and what I will continue to do this year is fostering relationships with my existing clients and affiliates. I worked hard to stay in touch with people; either via phone or email. I invited artists to participate in other opportunities throughout the year including our first Artisan Holiday Sales Catalog and being featured at local markets in our exhibition stalls. I worked hard to create relationships that were meaningful to me and also that benefited both parties when assessing business strategies and long term goals.
This year, I challenge you to look at your networking goals and really find out what you are looking for in terms of what you want from your business and career. For me, I know that the best things in my life come from authentic relationships, concise planning and intuitive instincts. When I look at my business and my relationships, I see a network and community that I love. This, I truly believe, also helps me succeed! After all, if you aren’t doing what you love, no amount of networking will help you!
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Monika Blichar is an Entrepreneur and Artist. She is owner of MAB Art Studio & Boutique Gallery in North Vancouver and producer of Art World Expo and Painting Dreams International Art Tours. She is always pushing boundaries as an artist and creative entrepreneur. Her love of the arts has been a part of her life since childhood.