Hello lovelies! I know it's an odd day for me to be blogging, but since I missed out on a Friday update and have a few things running through my head, I figured I'd share the goods!
The topic for this post is on networking. As you can see from the image above, that's a pretty good depiction on how I feel about it. It's truly something ironic. Overall, I'm an outspoken person, perhaps louder than most, a walking embarrassment waiting to happen, and I genuinely don't care what others think about me. Although when it comes to selling myself as a business person or defining who I am as a designer, I am a tiny shaking chihuahua that sweats more than I'd like to admit (TMI, I know). By now you're probably asking where is she going with this post? SHE SWEATS A LOT?! Not quite what I was going for, but now you know my physiological reaction to networking! I'm sure many feel this way about the topic...
The other day I finally took the plunge and went to my first small business networking event. It took me eight months, my best friend pushing me, and countless blog articles to work up the courage. One blogger that I absolutely can't get enough of is Nubby Twiglet; she has an endless amount of advice and encouragement to seek every networking opportunity you can grab. I'd say by the success she's trailing, she's able to vow for that. Her blog post, which I can't seem to find now... is what gave me that last push of encouragement that I needed to go to this event. Plus, she's got all sorts of design candy that I just can't get enough of. She's a good one to check out!
What I learnt about going to this event and putting myself out there is that people are just people. They're there for the same reasons you are, and they're not going to bite - relieved about that last part. If anything, I've learnt they're there to encourage you to follow your dreams. Something that can only be accomplished by you and no one else. So if you don't put yourself out there you might be missing out on countless possibilities. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro at this because I went one time, but the 'what if' factor about going did take a massive weight off my shoulders. In addition to facing my networking insecurities; I sat next to a kind lady that sensed my fear and referred me to the book Room Full of Referrals, which is to help people like me approach social situations that terrify them, and leave knowing that they could have impacted a future client. I might not have been on my 'A' game at this event, but at least I took a lot of good advice!
Up until now I relied my networking behind the screen, which were my first baby steps, seeing as I was even afraid to be rejected via email. Pathetic, I know. What's the worse that can happen? They say no and I have to move on. Sounds easy enough, but a certain ego gets hurt. Although hurt, it's not damaged. When I first began tossing the idea of my Creative Flair column, I was skeptical. My famous 'what if' factor came into play and I had all of these negative thoughts about creatives rejecting and laughing at the idea of me even thinking about reaching out to them. To my surprise 98% of the people I reached out to were kind enough to write back with a massive positive enthusiasm. This type of creative community only up-lifted my self-doubt, and made me work up the courage to initiate ideas for future collaborative projects. It's a good time to be a creative!
I hope with this post of my rambling thoughts you're able to find that little voice inside you to just go for it. Like I said, worse thing that can happen is a rejection, but the best part of art is that it's subjective and you will have people that love you're work and others that won't. Doesn't mean you're not good enough, just not the right fit. As a way to keep encouraging these networking opportunities; I challenge you to reach out to someone at least twice a month. You never know, there might be something great on the other side of that screen :)
On that note - Happy Sunday Funday Everyone!