A guest post by artist and maker Mayi Carles.
Im a firm believer in the power of connecting + building relationships + being active in my community.
I love meeting people that are passionate their creative businesses. It fuels me up + energizes me beyond belief. For example, if I stumble upon a great indie shop, I make time to write the owner to let him/her know I’m a fan. If I come across a great blog article, I share it with my network + leave a comment to express my enthusiasm. If I see a gorgeous handmade product I can’t live without, I buy it to support a fellow maker. I actively show my interest + I make conscious effort to connect.
But, why is it important to connect?
—To get constant inspiration + motivation from others.
—Because teamwork rocks.
—Because you can build long-lasting relationships with some amazing people.
—To promote your work more effectively + efficiently.
—Because the bigger the tribe, the more powerful the reach + impact.
So, dont be shy or hesitant. Reach out + become involved with your community. Here are some really cool things you can do to get started:
1. Give helpful advice. Beginners + veterans alike have a story to share ““ a successful tip + a lesson learned + a silly mistake + an awesome application. All these little things can mean a great deal to others in your industry + your generosity will be greatly appreciated + loved. Niceness is greatly rewarded. You can use your own blog + write a guest article on another blog or even post your message on community forums. This works because when you give advice you locate yourself as an expert + trustworthy person in your field, which in turn gives you huge leverage.
2. Approach your heroes. And by “heroes”, I mean your favorite players in your niche + the people you really truly admire + look up to. Contact them. You have no reason to feel silly + nothing to lose (rejection doesnt count). My advice is to be a true fan. Start small: follow the person on twitter + facebook + be a subscriber to their newsletter + leave thoughtful comments + engage with a BAM! Believe me your “hero” will start to notice your name after a while. Once youve got your foot in the door consider writing a short e-mail to introduce yourself + give a compliment + let the person know how she/hes has helped you. Make it short + sweet + memorable. This works because you this connects you with the person you admire in a special way + sets you up for building a true relationship in the future.
3. Promote + support those who dazzle you. Feature a product you loved on your blog + tell your friends about this new designer you found you know theyll enjoy + buy from your favorite handmade artist when you can + leave a comment on that very special blog + retweet an amazing article you read. This works because karma is an incredibly powerful force. When you go out of your way to help people, the Universe often (if not always) conspires to transform these small acts of kindness into something even greater + more special. Try it!
Now, you should also know there are some things to avoid. Here are some of those not very nice things to stay away from:
1. Being a needy vampire. Dont be that person that only asks for favors + requests help + writes to demand a review or feature. Before you even think about seeking help, think about building a true relationship + giving + caring.
2. Sending unsolicited crap. If I havent signed up for your newsletter, I shouldnt be receiving it. If I havent added you to my facebook, I shouldnt be tagged in every product picture you add. If I dont even know you exist, you shouldnt send me your ad rates to request sponsorship. Get the picture? Please be respectful + classy with your approaches, not invasive + rude.
3. Lower yourself or inflate your ego. When making connections dont act as if the other person is so much better that (nobody is doing you a favor by responding to your e-mail) + dont be too cocky either. Both are very unappealing. Instead, be your confident + charming self. That works best.
What connections have you made in your community that have made a difference in your life? How have they helped you grow + become better? I would love to hear your stories. Please do share them in the comment section below.
Thanks so much Mayi for sharing your business tips with us again this week. It has been such a pleasure having you! Read Mayis other posts in this series here: How to Run a Successful Shop Online, Tips for Selling Online and Wow Them with your Packaging
More about Mayi: Mayi Carles is a Panamanian multi-passionate artist + avid eco-friendly designer + the heart behind heartmade blog + creative coach. To connect with Mayi, follow her tweets at @mayicarles.
*image via corid