The work “networking” sends chills down my spine. Interacting with other human beings who you have never met, purely for the purpose of business? The worst. Some types of networking situations can leave me feeling kind of icky, like the only reason people are talking to you is to get something for themselves.
Have I sold you on networking yet? The good news is that I found a way to network while NOT feeling icky about it and still honoring my introverted self. Keep reading to find out how!
Have you heard of The Rising Tide Society? It is an amazing resource for creatives in all industries. My favorite part of The Rising Tide Society is TuesdaysTogether. TuesdaysTogether is a monthly in-person meetup for entrepreneurs and small business CEOs.
Meetups are normally held in coffee shops, restaurants or breweries and are a great opportunity to meet people in a variety of creative industries. The meetups (at least the ones I have attended!) are normally low key, with the focus of the discussion on that month’s topic. I always walk away with so much insight and knowledge from everyone in the group!
Chapters are throughout the US and the world. In Maine, there is are two groups – Portland and Central Maine. Fun fact: I am the leader of the Central Maine group! To find a chapter near you, click here.
Attending a Maine Wedding Network event was one of the first things I did when I decided to pivot my business towards being a wedding photographer back in 2016. I have met some of my closest vendor friends there. My favorite MWN event is Fireside Chat, held monthly from December to March.
Like the name suggests, every get-together is held by the fire in Maria’s home. Maria is the amazing woman behind Maine Wedding Network and is also a wedding officiant (Check her out at A Sweet Start)! Each month is a different topic, similar to TuesdaysTogether, and tickets are limited to ensure to a small group each time. Plus, there are cats to pet.
My third favorite way to make meaningful connections with people is to ask them on a date…but not in that way. Getting together over a cup of coffee with a vendor you admire or want to get to know is a great way to get to know someone on a more personal level. A simple coffee date can lead to so many amazing things.
The best advice I can give is to push yourself, even when it feels uncomfortable and you would rather be at home on the couch with your animals. So much can be gained from putting yourself out there for an evening or two. Don’t forget, everyone is probably in the same boat as you.
If you are not in Maine, join a local photographer Facebook group or two and start making connections. You never know who you will meet or how those relationships can change your life!
Left: Photo by Meraki Portrait | Right: Photo by iPhone