This fortnight’s episode is conveniently brought to you on the day of the new lockdown announcement in the UK – what a year 2020 is turning out to be! (also Halloween, hence the nice orange player…)
However, we’re talking all things community, support & finding your business people, especially while working from home, so let’s dive in and hopefully some of it’ll help.
What we talk about
Networking! Which we think gets an unfairly bad rap because of a few established groups… Traditional corporate networking and how much we hate it – it’s a terrible fit for us, and for many creatives. Not doing the pick me dance, and argh, all the hard sells at traditional networking groups. That’s not what we’re about and not what we want to get from networking. We’re not convinced it’s what anyone wants from networking.
Attitude and how much difference this can make to groups – even structured ones. Mixed feelings on lockouts. Not joining networking purely to get clients. The differences between networking in the UK and networking in Canada – who knew it’d be so different?
Community over competition, and the joy of being able to share something and a whole room of peers just getting it, having had a similar experience. Connection, and building your business through connecting rather than hard selling. The incomparable value of trusted word of mouth.
Finding where your face fits, and being aware of where it doesn’t – where it won’t work for you because you’re not the right type of business for the group. Finding the right fit means they’ll pay for themselves many times only. Newsflash – there are some fab less formal ones which are business focused rather than pushy and formal and terrifying! And don’t be put off by structure!
The timing of group meetings – are you an early bird or are you happier with lunchtime meets? Women-friendly groups which don’t clash with the school run. The importance of visiting as many as possible so you can find the group, venue and time which fits you best.
Business focused friends who are local, and business friends who are further flung – they’re both so valuable but different.
Other ways of finding people and groups – meetup, local groups, mum-based child-friendly groups, looking at your local community spaces, cafes, anywhere that’s independent and probably hosts something. Co-working spaces are also an excellent place to look – as are places which are specific to your sector, for example tech.
If you can’t find a group you like, create your own! Creating your own spaces, including Facebook groups, which both of us have done – they don’t have to be big, but if they’re nicely focused they can be a fab way to bring likeminded people together.
Likeminded people are actually really important and probably the heart of this – there might not be anyone who does exactly what you do, but having people who do similar stuff to you is the best feeling. It’s that “just getting it” again.
Setting up a group around the things that really matter to you – whether that’s a craft, a belief or something else. Groups which are varied but resonate with a specific interest in common can work incredibly well.
In your search for business besties, you can expand your net wider than the obvious – Sarah tried hiking groups, Carla joined a knitting circle and you never know who you’ll find!
Thinking again about timing, if you’re setting your own thing up, even if it’s intended to be a small gathering. When works for you, and when will work for the people you want to connect with most?
Accountability also can be part of this strategy – finding people to check in with regularly and building a small community around that. This can be SO powerful, Sarah’s got one via her Business, Bitches group, Carla has one from a course she went on last year, and since recording this episode has formed one with one of the other artists at her studios. They can supercharge what you get done as well as building more connections and relationships.
And accountability can be the BEST way to both do stuff at the last minute before the meeting, so it gets done because you don’t want to let people down, and also for someone else to question whether you need to do the things which get shunted from list to list to list endlessly.
New people can spark different things in you – how important those people are. Getting past the ick and the vulnerability and the awkwardness when you first meet people. The trick of telling each other all your secrets and then you have to be friends now, right…?!
Community doesn’t have to be a whole group – it can be one person. How the bonds in a small group are different from in large group, and finding what suits you best.
Standing up and speaking – is totally worth it even if you hate it, because you get so much more from groups of people who are there for the same reason as you.
The difference between talking about the thing which is part of your soul, and the thing you love but don’t make. It’s surprisingly sharp! This is relevant when speaking to new people about your Thing(s), both individually and in groups!
And then we had a small sidetrack talking about birthing our businesses and how much they mean to us and our legacies – what we’ll leave behind us.
Dealing with your “eeeek” feeling and being prepared to put yourself out there first, be a little bit vulnerable and find the people who are important to you and your business – and your future success!
Finding your industry peers – people who do the same thing as you, and think the same way as you, and aren’t massive twats 😂
Our experiences with people in our industry who have been amazing – and have helped us to move our careers forward!
Blogging for community and making friends and connections through it. Forums, the good the bad and the ugly. Turning up your bullshit radar, and not letting industry people intimidate you.
Not kissing randoms (how the hell did we get there?!) and treating finding new business friends a bit like dating. And resilience 🙂
Talking to people about what you do – anywhere and everywhere, and not being secretive about groups and knowledge. There’s enough space for all of us – and so many connections to be made!
We’d love to hear any of your tips, tricks or networking horror stories 🙂
Links we love
In BC, the Connect Now Business Network
Online only, the Wow Web
Sarah’s group Business, Bitches!
Carla’s group The Improper Job Collective
And of course
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