Networking for Creatives: Socialize Your Way to Success

Being a creative, whether you work in design, film, writing, or art, can feel like a relentless uphill struggle. When you’re first starting out, one of the biggest challenges is simply getting a paid commission, never mind racking up million-dollar deals.

In the creative industries, the work, unfortunately, does not speak for itself. Making a name for yourself is one of the single most important factors in determining your success. This means that any creative needs to a master of networking. This doesn’t come naturally to many people, but there are a few tricks that any budding designer needs to know about making those crucial connections.

Here’s your guide to networking for creatives. 

Source: Raw Pixel

Step One: Establish Your Online Presence 

If you’re a designer, chances are you already have an online presence in the form of a blog. So much of your creative network will be formed online, so you need to stretch your digital presence as widely as possible. Make sure your LinkedIn is up to scratch and try and connect with as many other creatives in your field as possible. Be very active on social media and be sure to offer commissions via Twitter DM or Instagram. Use a creative-only social network such as Ari.na in order to establish yourself with the right people. 

Step Two: Join the Right Clubs 

Effective creative networking is about running in the right circles. At the most basic level, this can mean joining Facebook groups for local creatives and consumers looking for the kind of work you offer. You can also join members’-only clubs for creatives such as Soho House or LIBRARY. Beyond this, you’ll want to be a part of a members’ club full of other successful people who will be able to get you the work you want. If you’re an online gaming fan, the members’ only Club Royale by Mr Green is an effective way to place yourself with high rollers and successful people who could turn out to be the magical connection you’re looking for. 

Source: Helena Lopes

Step Three: Meet Your Heroes 

Any budding designer has a list of people they look up to, people that inspire you to work harder so that you can reach their level one day. These A-list designers and creatives are not as untouchable as you might think. Reach out to your role models on Twitter, or do your research and find out which events and meet-ups they’ll be at. Connecting with big names will not only help boost your own profile as an artist, but could also be the start of a career-changing professional relationship. Many successful designers are all too happy to help others succeed, so never hesitate to approach your role models. The worst they can say is no and you’ll likely still walk away with some useful advice. 

Final Step: Know Your Worth 

Finally, when you’re starting out, it’s important to know your worth. Working for free is an inevitable part of the journey, but learn to assert yourself. Too many companies try to pay designers with “exposure”, but this doesn’t put food on the table or pay the bills. Don’t be afraid to ask for cold hard cash for your work, just as any other professional would. 

Featured image: Raw Pixel

Michael keeps himself busy by writing about design, arts, psychology, and how they intertwine. He grew up in a small town in Montana and now resides in Austin with his wife and dog, Bailey.