What does networking look like for you? How do you build up your connections?
You get out there. You have shows, you go to openings, you go to museums and you go to fundraisers, you donate art. Any time you do something like that, your name rises to this level and you meet people, you meet directors. Because a lot of times, say you’re at a gala and it’s sponsored by someone who has money and you donated a piece. You could just happen to be sitting at their table and they’ll be like, Oh, cool, the artist. [Laughs] So you hand them a card and ask them what they do, and if they have opportunities, you just kind of brainstorm.
So you do have to get out there and kind of beat the streets. But I don’t like to bang on doors, I just like to help create opportunities through whatever else is going on.
Networking is never bad. I feel like when I can do it, it is. But I’m pretty bad at going to Chamber of Commerce meetups and I never went to AIGA [The American Institute of Graphic Arts] events in Denver or Philadelphia when I lived there.
But I think a lot of the networking is on the social side. It’s not, Hey, here’s my business card, let’s talk about work. It’s running into somebody after a trade show and they’re like, We’re going out for a drink or we’re going to get coffee, let’s hang out more. And after hanging out for a bit, people realize we have stuff in common and then they’re like, You know, we think we can work with you. So I think networking in that way is really good.
A lot of times [potential clients are] coming to us. Nine times out of ten they call us and say, We want to make a product video and we think you guys are perfect, could you submit a proposal and a budget? Or, We have this amount of dollars and this is what we need to get done, can you guys do it? So that happens a lot.
But then for us to keep going, we have to maintain our relationships with the agencies and the brands. We have a whole network of people and we make sure we’re constantly keeping in touch, reaching out just to say “hi.” That’s really how it goes.
And it’s just so fun hanging out with your friends. It’s hard work, but at the same time it’s, like, so rad just hanging, being goofy and connective. And then you meet people there too. I think openness is key. I genuinely want to meet people and see what they’re up to, what their thoughts are, whatever. So maybe that leads me to not really having to, thus far, promote myself in a way. It’s just a little more organic way to have a career.
So it’s about relationships, really. Solutions to problems come from doing and working with people, making relationships, backing your word up or just being consistent. Then people trust you and find ways to make things happen.
I’m finding out even in the business setting, being open, honest and vulnerable leads to good relationships and better business.