OVERCOMING YOUR FEAR OF NETWORKING WITH LOCAL ARTISTS & BUYERS.
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist said “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
I face fear every single day.
As a teacher I fear that my students will not retain what I teach them. Will I be able to inspire them? As an artist, I fear my work will not be received; will anyone buy it and see the value? Successful artists overcome their fear and reach out to others.
Asking someone to believe in you and support you is no small task. But the great thing is, there are people out there that want to help and be a part of your success.
If you ask, the responses will amaze you.
For the most part bloggers and gallery owners are gracious. And the outcome is often in your favor.
To the gallery owners and bloggers out there that do not respond, shame on you! We know you are busy, but we are putting our hearts out there. We are summoning the courage to say, hey – notice little old me! And the professional thing to do is respond. I would rather get a template email saying, yes I see you out there waving your arms, but I am busy right now, rather than no response at all.
Here are my tips for networking and overcoming the fear:
Find a local group.
Join any networking organization. Get out and find something you can be a part of, I promise its out there.
One of my favorites is Rising Tide @therisingtide. They are a very supportive network of creative go-getters and have local chapters all over the country.
Find a local organization. In the Charleston area we have a wonderful group called Opportunity Social @oppsocial. It is a female-based networking group of self-starters. All they every ask is that you connect with other members and bring wine. Now, that is something I can get on board with!
Harness the power of the email.
An email is easy, anyone can do it. And it is amazing how often you get a response. Craft a well-written email that sells you and what you do. Make sure you personalize it in some way according to the person you are reaching out to. This is when the magic happens; you will get responses.
Believe in social media.
I can attribute 90% of my success in the last year from Instagram. With the new algorithm Instagram is more work that it used to be, but it is my favorite place to connect with like-minded and open collaborators. All it takes is a little time: posting, commenting, and connecting. If you put in the time to make the connections you will not regret it.
Connect with local followers.
If a local blogger, store or creative follows you, reach out to them and ask for a feature or collaboration. Chances are, if they are following you, then they already like what you are doing and would be happy for the opportunity to work with you. Bonus if you invite them to coffee!
Build your tribe.
Networking is about making connections; comment and engage with your followers and those you follow. Before you know you will have a virtual friend that is there to cheer you on and share in your success. In return, you can also be that person for them. These connections open the door for future collaborations, online or in person.
Be Nice and smile.
Remember, just because you are engaging from the other side of a computer or phone that people won’t remember you. Behaviors on social media and face-to-face are equally important. If you have a concern about another creative address it with them. Shoot them an email, meet them for coffee, talk about your concerns. Do not assume, and do judge. Help each other. Live the meaning of community, locally and online.
The moral of the story is that I would not be writing this post without the beauty of networking. Lilah found me through @thehomelovingwife and I found Kelsey through Instagram with her simple message of connection. A few months later, two guest blog posts and a lot of exposure. Plus, I have two new friends and am building my tribe.
Cory McBee, a wife, mom, graphic designer and fine artist based in Charleston, SC. She has been creative all her life and for 15 years focused primarily on graphic design. In 2015, she decided to come back to painting and is enjoying the ability to work as both a digital and fine artist.