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8 Ways That Creatives Can Network Professionally

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Regardless of the career you choose, networking with others is crucial. It can open the door to new opportunities, and it’s also an excellent way to gather tips and advice you otherwise might not have known.

But if you’re a creative, finding fellow professionals can be difficult—especially if you’re self-employed. Nonetheless, plenty of opportunities exist; we’re going to identify eight ways you can grow your network.

1. In-Person Events

Photo of people in a room talking

In almost every industry, you’ll find in-person networking events to meet others doing similar things as you. These take place throughout the year and across the world.

The best networking events for you to join will depend on what you do and your goals. Below are some examples that you might want to consider:

  • Photography – the Photography Show in Birmingham, UK.
  • Videography – the Video Show, also in Birmingham, UK.
  • Various creative fields – the Creator Economy Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.

If you work for a company in a particular industry, attending events that are not directly related to creativity is still an excellent way to get yourself out there. For example, if you’re a graphic designer in the financial services sector, consider attending FinTech events.

You’ll often need to pay for networking events, though your company could cover the fee if you’re employed. If you’re self-employed, you might be able to deduct these costs from your taxes; check for this in your jurisdiction.

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Social media has helped many photographers, designers, and more, grow their audiences and build a business based on something they love. And if you’re looking to grow your professional network, you might also find these tools particularly useful.

You can use several social media platforms to meet like-minded people. Behance is one that all artists and creatives should use. Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest might also be worth checking out for your specific field.

Joining Facebook groups is another great way to meet similar people and network with others that you find interesting.

When networking with others on social media, try to give before you take. Moreover, it’s a good idea to start with people at the same level as you; you’ll probably find it easier to gain their attention than you might with someone that gets thousands of messages each day.

3. Virtual Networking Events

Two men and one woman in office space on computers

Virtual networking events aren’t for everyone, but they can be an excellent tool for networking if you live somewhere remote. Like their in-person counterparts, you’ll find several held throughout the year—and there’ll be plenty regardless of your chosen industry.

One of the best digital conferences for creatives to visit is the Adobe Summit, which provides several workshops and countless speakers for you to increase your knowledge. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet others and build long-lasting connections.

The Adobe Summit is free to register for, and the same is true for many other virtual events. However, you’ll need to buy tickets for some; it’s up to you to decide whether you think doing so is a worthwhile investment.

4. Join Existing Clubs

In your hometown or city, you’ll probably find several clubs to join in your free time. And as a creative, you’ll almost certainly discover societies for your preferred field—especially if you live in a relatively big region.

You can discover clubs for your creative interests in several places. MeetUp is a great place to start, especially if you’ve just moved somewhere and are getting to grips with your new home.

Social media is another excellent place to find existing clubs and groups. Check to see if there are any Instagram or Facebook groups you can join, and don’t discount LinkedIn entirely either.

5. Create Your Own Societies

Two photographers at sunset

If you can’t find a club in your local area, don’t worry—not all hope is lost. You’ll almost certainly find others living near you with similar interests, so the best thing you can do is be a pioneer and start your own society.

You can use any of the tools we’ve mentioned in the previous section to help you start a club in your creative field. Don’t be afraid to promote it on your social media accounts or tell your friends and family about it.

6. Ask People Out for Lunch

Photo of people eating lunch

You’ll have to go far to find someone on this planet that doesn’t like free food. Asking someone you admire out to lunch is an excellent way to build your network without the pressures of an expo hall.

While you’re out, try to get to know them better as a person. Yes, the professional side of things is essential—but treating them as a human and friend will go a long way to building a more memorable connection with them.

If this tip is intimidating for you, try to challenge yourself. Ask one person out for lunch each week, and see how many meaningful connections you can make.

Related: How to Build a Career-Boosting Online Presence

7. Build Your Client Portfolio

In the early days of your creative journey, you might find it difficult to meet others in your field—or you might simply be too intimidated. One of the best ways to quickly grow your professional network is by building your client portfolio.

You can use several methods to achieve this. The first is to send introductory emails to people and companies you admire. You’re not necessarily trying to get a job straight away; instead, you’re just making them aware you exist. If paid work comes instantly, treat it as a bonus.

Introductory emails can be a little hit-and-miss, so it’s worth combining this with searching on job boards to see if any clients need your services straight away. Behance has openings for several fields, though you can also find specific ones for your craft.

Related: Clients Look for These Things When Hiring Freelancers

8. Tell Everyone What You Do

Photo of people talking inside

Sometimes, the best networking opportunities happen when you least expect them. If you meet someone, and they ask what you do, don’t hold back on telling them with pure confidence.

The more you socialize, the likelier it is that you’ll bump into someone who does something similar to you. Or, at the very least, they’ll be able to introduce you to someone who does.

Networking Is Essential for Creatives

Networking as a creative can be a little daunting, especially if you’ve had no formal education and don’t work for a single employer. However, the world is filled with like-minded people—no matter how unique you think your craft is.

When networking, it’s important to use methods that you like. If you hate virtual networking, find an alternative. Try a couple from this list and see how far they take you.


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