How to network
Connecting with people is such an important part of building a career in this competitive industry that you are in, so how you engage with others makes all the difference. Here's advise you how to work on this very valuable skill.
The golden rules for engagement
- Get clear about why you want to collaborate with another artist. What is it about their work that attracts you and inspires you? What do you imagine could be possible for you both? How do you feel about this? (If you don’t feel a genuine desire to connect, then don’t!)
- Identify the best way to contact this person and how you will approach them. If they mainly operate on Instagram, approach them there, or if they are big Facebook users, then use that. What’s important is that you are making it as easy as possible to initiate contact with them.
- Get their attention. The first few lines that you write are critical in grabbing their attention so make sure you go for maximum positive impact, eg. ‘I have been admiring your work for some time now’ or ‘I would love to help you create great images.’
- Once you are clear about how to contact them and what you want to say, you can now approach them. It really is a great compliment when people want to work with you, especially when they have taken the time to find out who you are and what your brand represents.
- Remember that your initial focus of discussion is them, NOT you. Tell them all that you identified in step one and focus on them, (if you just talk about yourself and what you want, you will switch the other person off really quickly).
- After this, you can focus on what the essential thing is that the pro you are reaching out to should know about you. What will excite and entice them into working with you? It could be your vision and goals, or your brand. What do you offer to the collaboration that’s unique?
- Now, talk about what you want to create together with this pro – what’s your vision for this collaboration? What will be the ‘wins’ for both of you from collaborating? Unless you both benefit, why would you both do it?
- Once contact is made, set up a way forward – what are the next steps? Make sure that you are both clear about what happens next. When this is unclear, the momentum to move forward can get lost and opportunities can get missed. Who is doing what and by when? (If you get no response then stay positive, try again and change your approach, or identify someone else who is amazing to work with!)
Staying positive and confident
After you have reached out to another professional, it’s normal to feel a little wave of vulnerability as the fear of rejection might kick in, so if you experience this just accept that this happens and know that it’s not a ‘bad’ thing, as reaching out to connect can feel exposing. In these vulnerable moments, boost your confidence by remembering why you want to collaborate and how excited you feel about the possibility of creating something amazing with another creative.
Remind yourself of what’s unique and wonderful about you and what you have to offer other people. Identify your top five strengths and skills and look in the mirror and say them out loud to yourself, (remember this exercise? It’s really powerful to boost your self esteem and levels of confidence). What makes you shine and attract other fabulous professionals to work with you? Accept and embrace this about yourself and stay excited and focused on what it is you want to achieve, which will keep you feeling motivated.
The same rules apply when you meet someone face to face and here you need to make sure that you really listen to what is said to you, rather than what you expect them to say. Be genuinely interested in the other person and give them your full attention. Make sure that you give out a positive vibe and follow the steps above for reminding yourself what’s unique about you and feel motivated before you start talking to them, then focus on them before telling them about you.
There is only so much that you can achieve alone as a nail pro – to elevate your work and your brand you need to collaborate, to produce not only showcase pieces for your portfolio but lasting relationships with others, which will create opportunities for you in the future. Not to mention creating a great reputation as a must-have person to work with, and this will further enhance your brand. So lots of positive wins can be achieved by reaching out and being open to the possibility of working with other people. Get your energy and mindset focused on your goals, follow the golden rules and go out there – network, collaborate and enjoy it!