I’m taking part in a creative arts business challenge hosted by Morna McEver and, for our 4th day, we’ve been asked to answer the question:
How do I connect with my peeps?
Here’s my response:
I echo the sentiment of other folks [in the Get your art out there group] – connecting in a creative business is a challenge. I try to go where I think my peeps are. It can be time consuming and is also particularly difficult for me because I’m a huge introvert. But I know it is important, so I keep trying new ways to meet people and get to know them.
I have been running a series called Creative Heroes on my blog over the past few months where I’ve interviewed quilters, artists, writers and creative entrepreneurs about their time management and productivity practices. My hope is that this info is useful to my peeps and it will encourage them to share their own wins/struggles.
For social media, I have a goal to post at least once on Instagram every day (and I hit that goal 95% of the time!). Although I have a business FB page, I’m a little less successful posting there regularly, but I still make an effort.
I send out a short, periodic newsletter to my friends list which I’ve been working on growing since 2012. I’m constantly trying to think of valuable/special things to share with my peeps and also new ways of interesting people in adding themselves to the list. I think I probably need to get over the fact that “Hey, subscribe to my newsletter!” feels pushy and just ask more often.
I try to attend events or show up where I can connect with people in person or at least 1:1. Industry type things (I was recently at SewPro and I’m a Super Volunteer for QuiltCon East), online forums (like the Craft Industry Alliance), FB groups, etc. I try to be helpful in any way I am able and (as appropriate!) put it out there that I offer services that support creative people.
Most importantly, when casual connections grow to be customer/client connections, I treat these like gold. Keeping in touch, offering extra value, asking for feedback/referrals, and so on.
At the risk of sharing too much information – or sounding too complain-y, I think what frustrates me most about connecting is that I see lots of folks who just seem to be so much better at it than me.
Trying to keep up with what I see successful “connectors” doing is really difficult for me and feels like it takes away from my actual work. I guess I wish there was a magic formula! But at the end of the day, running any kind of business means putting a lot of effort into relationships and you’re unlikely to be successful unless you’re in it for the long-haul!