By Carolyn Edlund
In order to find opportunities and resources, artists have to connect with others. In-person networking and online social networking are excellent ways to make those connections and receive referrals.
Then why do so many artists feel that networking doesn’t work for them?
Artists, like many other businesspeople, often miss the boat when it comes to networking effectively. They attend an event thinking, “Let’s see what kind of leads or prospects I can get.” They meet other people, introduce themselves, talk about their work, and hand out business cards to see if they can get any bites. But usually they don’t – and they give up.
That’s because they are working backwards.
Networking is a strategy that really does work. If you don’t believe it, take a look at the “Top 10 Ways Galleries Find Artists.” The first two listed are:
- Artist Recommendations
- Curator Recommendations
Why are artists recommended? Because they are known, trusted and appreciated by others who respect them and want to refer them. They have a network of connections who are happy to give assistance to them. And they are active in assisting their network.
The way that you become known and referred is through building relationships with others – and being willing to refer them, without expecting anything in return.
The secret to successful networking, both in-person and online, is to approach it with an attitude of giving, not receiving. You will receive referrals from your network, but many times they are from different people than the ones you help. When you actively seek to give referrals, you create good “karma” for yourself because
As you give – so you shall receive
Your willingness to get to know other people, to listen to them, understand what they do and develop a professional friendship is the seed that will eventually bring business back to you.
It takes time and effort to build a network. Persistence is essential, but it’s not that hard to do. In fact, networking can become a natural part of your everyday business.
Artist Traci O’Very Covey’s work can be seen by visiting her website.