I strongly believe that networking is the key to success. In this day and age when the access to the industry has been democratized and anyone can be anything, the only way to make it is to go out and meet the people who are doing it. When I arrived in this city I knew practically no one and literally had no idea of how things worked in the industry. It was only through meeting people at networking events or via websites where creatives reach out to the community that I was able to do everything I have done so far.
Apart from meeting people through the websites that I have mentioned in prior posts I felt that I needed to meet people in “real” life. So I went back to google and researched networking events in London for the creative industry. I was very fortunate to run into an amazing group of people who had recently started a company to help out freelancers in London develop their careers. They are The Freelancer Club and they hold monthly networking events aimed specifically at creatives. I signed up to one of their events to give them a try and I have to say that most of the people in my team nowadays I met through those events.
Here are a few things that I learned from going to those events:
1. Always bring your business cards.
2. A 5 to 10 minute chat is more than enough to talk about yourself and learn about the others. After that it’s just gossiping.
3. A great contact can be ANYONE in the room. Even the person who looks the strangest or the shyest to you could turn out to be your next client or your lifetime collaborator.
4. Get your ass off the chair and go talk to someone. No one will come to you if you stay in a corner and try to hide. Creatives can smell your fear.
5. Always smile.
6. Never underestimate anyone.
7. Be proud about your work and don’t feel bad about selling yourself too high. That’s what everyone is there for.
8. Follow up after the event. Send an email to everyone you met and keep the relationship alive.
There are hundreds of people just like you out there who are at the same vital moment and who have the same needs that you have and who are desperately looking for people like you to collaborate or work with. But if you don’t go out there and look for them, they will never be able to reach you.
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