As a creative it is possible that you may feel like an outsider and find it challenging to connect with other like-minded innovative types.
And, we get it, you may be thinking: it’s hard to meet new people, it’s uncomfortable to put yourself out there, and why should you bother making connections at all?
While working hard and delivering projects on time and to budget are great qualities to have as a creative, the truth is, you can only go so far on your own.
There are a huge range of benefits in making connections to build your personal and professional network.
Developing a creative network often means you’ll get referred for new work and you’ll win repeat work from existing clients – crucial components if you want to be a creative who earns an income.
Beyond that, building a network also means you’ll have access to other people working in creative roles that you can share ideas and challenges with. This is especially important for those creatives who work solo as freelancers and want the opportunity to collaborate or exchange information with others.
For those looking to expand their horizons, here are three ways you can build your creative network:
1. Attend meet-up groups and networking events
An easy way to start building your creative network is to look for meet-up groups in your city. Begin by searching for groups that appeal to your creative skills and interests.
If you’re a writer and you want to meet others in the same field, then look for a local writer’s group. You may find you can narrow it down by niche too – try looking for screenwriting, travel journalism or poetry groups to ensure you’re connecting with like-minded creatives.
There are several ways to find creative meet-up groups. Check with your local library or community centre to see if they hold regular gatherings, or attend openings at art galleries, theatres or fashion week.
2. Join a creative course
If you’re looking to meet creative types, then an easy way to do this is by putting yourself in the same room as them. And what better way to connect than learning about a subject you’re mutually passionate about?
Wanderlust City Projects (WCP) offers a range of projects that blend creative learning with local experiences based in exciting European cities like Amsterdam, Berlin and Madrid.
You’ll not only get the chance to combine your passion for travel and learn about things like travel writing and photography, you’ll get to build your creative network too.
WCP’s projects offer a great way to engage with fellow aspiring and working creatives in classes and workshops, in addition to connecting with the teachers who are industry professionals.
Keen to know more? Here’s why Wanderlust City Projects is the perfect travel study program for you.
3. Leverage online platforms
It’s no secret that finding other like-minded creatives through online platforms and social media channels is a great way to build connections, so make sure you’re using these networks to your advantage.
You can start by connecting with other creative professionals on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram and taking an interest in their projects. You could see if there are creative groups on Facebook that you can join to connect with others and contribute to discussions.
There’s also Bumble Biz, an app designed to help you network, find mentors and create new career opportunities.
Once you’ve established some online connections, reach out and offer to meet with them face-to-face in the real world. There’s nothing like making genuine, human connections to expand your creative network on a more personal level.
Build a creative network that works for you
Whether you choose to build your creative network by attending events in person, connecting with people online or through avenues such as a creative study program, be sure to make all that networking work for you.
If you’ve connected online, keep the conversation going by regularly tweeting with key contacts or leaving comments on their LinkedIn posts. If you’ve met in person, follow-up with an email or an invitation to an upcoming event that might be beneficial for them to attend with you.
Now that you’ve got a few tips on how to build your creative network, go forth and thrive. Here’s to happy connection-making!
Written by Sharon Green for Wanderlust City Projects.
Sharon is a journalist, copywriter and editor who has worked in mainstream media in Australia and the United Kingdom. She is also the founding editor of women's lifestyle publication SHE DEFINED.
Her favourite city in the world is London, which will always have a piece of her heart.
Sharon’s top travel tip is to travel solo – some of her best adventures have come from exploring the world on her own.