Fellow Pearl, bad-ass entrepreneur and creative, Ashland Viscosi is building an impactful network for creatives with her three-day event Creatives Meet Business Experience (CMBXP) which is happening this weekend - September 20th - 22nd. Ashland is sharing 4 tips with us that we can use today to enhance our business savvy.
Create and use a business email address
It’s incredibly likely that you already have a company or personal website. If you own a domain, for a very small monthly fee (starting at $5), you can have a business email address through Google’s G Suite. Having email@example.com doesn’t send the same note of professionalism that firstname.lastname@example.org does. It’s a minor expense and a small step to take for a very big difference in how you’re perceived.
Spend time networking outside your creative discipline
It’s so easy and comforting to spend time with the people you already know and who speak the same (creative) language as you. Your collaborators are your community but spoiler alert: they aren’t your customers.
Now here’s the kicker: most new information and opportunities come to us through something called a “weak tie.” A weak tie is someone who sits at the edge of your network. Because they spend more time in other “circles” (creative disciplines in this case), they’re more likely to bring new information and new people your way than folks you already know. They might know of contract work, opportunities, people you should connect with, etc., but these opportunities will remain out of reach if you don’t leave your comfort zone from time to time.
Being professional is important. This includes: responding in a timely fashion, making sure your emails aren’t riddled with typos and grammatical errors, etc. Perhaps what’s even more important though is remembering the “personal” element of communication. You’re a person with a unique personality, and so too is the person on the other side of the screen. Don’t change your tone so much that in an effort to be professional, you sound stiff and wooden and not yourself. Maybe hold back on that extra exclamation mark, but don’t hold back on your personality.
Schedule time to run the business
Working on the artistic and creative part of any task is rewarding, fulfilling and fun, but the business can’t run without you, and it needs some TLC too. Instead of making sacrifices to your creative process, schedule time on your calendar to work on the business. Perhaps you start each day by responding to emails for an hour, two hours on Mondays invoicing for the previous week, 30 minutes on Tuesdays searching Facebook for a networking event, and take 30 minutes on Thursdays to add connections to LinkedIn. Create a system that works for you — one that allows for full-fledged creative flow and one that helps the business flourish.
Ashland Viscosi is the founder of Creatives Meet Business and the Creatives Meet Business Experience, a three-day gathering in Austin with more than 50+ hands-on workshops for artists and creatives happening this weekend (September 20th - 22nd). Get all the details here.