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The struggle is real: How creatives can conquer networking in 2021

Working from home might still be a thing in the years to come and creatives will still have one struggle in common — networking. Actually, you can bet that networking as a creative is going to remain a conundrum. We are no longer “out and about” anymore, and we evaluate spare time crucially as the distance is – literally – implied.

Networking was a struggle when we did it in-person. Now it’s become an even bigger “digital” struggle.

If you are an introverted creative this is quite possibly a most confusing time. You are right at home, in your creative bubble, where you love to be.

But as a creative, you are well aware of getting your voice, and your art, out there. Social media may play a part and can be a help when it comes to the struggles of networking.

Still, actively communicating with like minds, mentors, colleagues, friends, and family is a challenge we all have to accept in today’s world.


Setting goals to maneuver the struggles of networking

UX Collective networking
UX Collective

Likely, you haven’t set a goal for networking – why you would want to ask for someone’s time. With a goal in mind – maybe you want to pivot your career, or you’d like to start a project – you can come up with the right questions to ask yourself what you want to accomplish or happen. 

Speaking with your intended mentor figure or creative peer, obtaining valuable information you need becomes a focused strategy that will help you translate your needs coherently – to someone who may not even know who you are.

If you’re going to borrow someone’s time, consider using it wisely and have thorough points of interest to discuss.

business card for creatives

With the internet at your fingertips, it’s easy to brainstorm and get extensive information on who you’d like to create a bond with.

But networking is hard especially when you take the human aspect out of it. Having a genuine interest would be a major entry point to networking in today’s world.

Spending time learning about a subject or person of interest, or even in common, will help you connect over time.

It’s a form of flattery to acknowledge someone else’s accomplishments and to recognize their talents. But maybe you don’t want to come off fake. It isn’t fake if you’re just uncomfortable expressing your admiration. It can be endearing to the other person you want to connect with. 

This is where just being yourself – being human – matters. Everyone has flaws and the internet may cover them, but to connect with people and groups, a genuine person is more acceptable.


Take the creative approach to networking

struggle of netwroking gif

Being a creative consist of more than your ability to bring your imagination and thoughts to life. A part of you wants to be tucked away in your creative corner, ultimately making it hard to communicate your passion.

The struggle of networking and engaging with peers and potential mentors at this time can be easier than assumed. 

Networking Without Networking — Nicole Paulus

With engagement groups like Discord or Slack, sliding into DMs, and joining Zoom events or other platforms, you can surround yourself with the inspiration and network you have been looking for.


Networking is really, really important

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Networking is crucial to getting new clients and making new partners, helping you progress with your creativity. It’s a solid opportunity to get someone interested in what you are creating and why it belongs in the world.

Valued advice from someone in your field who has extensive or adjacent knowledge on career paths, ideas, or concepts, can be within earshot of these channels.

You can also learn more about what your network is up to creatively. We have all been working on those side projects during quarantine, and perhaps some of your peers or mentors have something you would love to help them with per your skills.

Recognize this as a chance to show them you can help bring their vision to life. It might be you’re only opportunity to conquer the ongoing struggle of networking.

Most people won’t take the time to dive into your work as you would like them too. But showing them your interest in helping will entice them to know more about you in return.

The best thing about creating a network is having a support system of people who can help you where you are unable to help yourself, vice versa.


Sharing the wealth can lead to a bigger network

UX Collecive networking
UX Collecive

Even if most of us are working from home, we want to gather and be communal beyond our walls. And IG Live and Zoom meets are sufficing those urges lately.

Focusing energy on a topic of interest, from your perspective or others, is what can create necessary substance for your platform. Consider offering your knowledge in exchange for others to offer theirs. 

Making connections in groups can culminate in great relationships outside of them. The open discussion also grows your community.

Allow for others – even those who may not seem like ideal group members – to enter with warm welcomes. It’s the eusocial behavior of a society that broadens the group’s creative range. And you open your thinking to new ideas in the process.

Subject to the internet for social gatherings as an alternative to lockdowns worldwide and overcome the struggle of networking. Use the time to work your digital-savvy. Although for some, that may not be easy to conduct as nerves take over, and we may feel adequate.


The beauty of the struggle

social networking

Nevertheless, people are more open and accepting of genuine displays they can get familiar with. Regularly using IG Live and Zoom meetings can be anxiety-filled when starting.

Therefore, keep in mind that you are sharing a part of yourself people are interested to know more about. That’s the beauty of the struggle, the beauty of networking. That one person can take an interest in your passion as they may be driving in the same lane.

Humanity is key to networking in this case. Websites, portfolios, and social media accounts are great for showing your work, but what you want is people to know about you as a person.

It shouldn’t matter who you are as a creative, ultimately your creativity is endless, and it can be something you need a network to tap into and reach your goals.

Look out for this article on PAGE magazine.