Following on from our fantastic day out off-roading, hubby and I took the plunge and went out at the weekend and bought a land rover defender. Now it appears we are part of an unwritten club. Driving through winsor today, miles from Home, passing defender drivers raised their hands in a friendly gesture. On the drive home army personnel in landys wove at us - and of course, by now we wove back. It got me wondering, if fellow defender drivers offered this hand of friendship so readily why can't we all?
Running your own craft business can often mean working alone at home. Cut off from the outside community its easy to feel that its just you...
But, it really doesn't have to be that way! How do you feel about other creatives? Do you view them as 'the competition'? friends or colleagues?
If you are able to use your computer to network with others at home you need never feel alone again.
Sounds great, but how do I network?
Networking can be as simple or complex as you like, basically it just means getting 'out there'and joining in.
1. Facebook - make connections by liking pages of small businesses (Look for similar fields to you or different, both have benefits) or joining groups like IRunaSmallBusiness designed specifically for small business networking. Look for local businesses too, these can be really beneficial and fun, I'm currently focusing on increasing my Somerset based pages!!
2. Blogs - Reading blogs can be great for inspiration or just as a window into someone elses life! Just be wary that not everyone blogs about the 'bad days' so if a blog is getting you more depressed then give it a miss. Life's hard enough without having to live up to how you think someone else lives!! When you do find a blog you like, stick around, comment , ask questions and even email the writer. I've done this alot in the past and learnt loads, even building up a friendship with the blogger! Extend this further by visiting the blogs of others who comment and you may quickly build up a network of like minded friends!
3. Forums - If you have a specific interest then maybe a forum is the place to go, you can post questions on boards and get expert answers from people who know their stuff!!
Why should I bother?
Short answer you don't have to, but, if you put a little bit of effort in, you'll get alot back! Once you stop viewing other businesses as 'the enemy' you can see how beneficial networking can be. want some advice on local markets? Printing supplies? Think of all that advice you are ignoring simply because you won't ask!
How can I give back?
Giving back is the best part, sure you might be super confident and know it all now but think back to when you started out, how great would it have been to have a friend that could tell you all those tips and trick, to support you on the bad days?
So go on get out there and network....
You can start right here and leave me a comment, I promise I'll reply!!