One of the fastest ways to change the trajectory of your business for the better is building strong and fruitful relationships. But opportunities to form mutually beneficial alliances aren’t usually a product of chance.
Building professional relationships takes focused intent, a dedication to holding yourself to the highest of standards, and harnessing your humanity and emotional intelligence to create a connection.
Over the years, I’ve taken note of the most common networking mistakes I see photographers, videographers, and creative entrepreneurs making while attempting to build professional relationships in the luxury wedding industry.
Keep reading to find out if you’re making any of these 5 networking mistakes.
It’s no secret that referrals can take your business from struggling to successful, but most entrepreneurs approach nurturing the relationships that referrals require with a sporadic and transactional nature.
If you wanted to nurture a lasting and meaningful friendship or romantic relationship, you probably wouldn’t approach it in an inconsistent and unintentional manner. Yet that is how I see entrepreneurs approach business relationships all the time.
Like any relationship, business relationships take time to grow. If you nurture the connection at a natural pace and go into each and every interaction with authenticity, presence, and genuine interest in the other person—you’ve already won half the battle.
Do not take the ‘too cool to care’ approach with networking. Be intentional, be yourself, and be consistent in your communication.
It might sound harsh, but offering someone you want to work with a cup of coffee to ‘pick their brain’ isn’t bringing any true value to the table. In fact, it’s doing the opposite, distracting them from their important work.
Reconsider your approach; be respectful and mindful of people’s time, schedules, and true needs. Perhaps offer headshots, family photos, offer to assist, carry a photographer’s bags, or even offer a unique skill that you have for free.
Offer to give, give, and give again—before asking for anything in return. Use your creativity, find ways to connect on a human level, and offer the other person clear value.
Remember, you only get to make a first impression once. Whether it’s a prospective client, a planner, a wedding vendor, or publication—if you aren’t clear about what sets you apart, what you’re here to express, what your unique strengths are, and what your distinct point of view is—then you’re probably not going to impress the people you’re trying to connect with.
We’re at a pivotal moment in the industry: the client is more aware, educated, and spoiled for choice. There are more working photographers than ever before, and some artistic styles have become truly oversaturated. Clients have more options than ever before. How are you going to stand out and make them want to choose you?
Look at some of the most successful artists in history who disrupted their industries and made a strong impact; artists like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Taylor Swift all distinguished themselves as true individuals. It’s clear what makes them different from everyone else.
What makes you different from everyone else? If you’re not sure, start asking your past clients, colleagues, and peers. Listen to the words they use to describe your style and value—and take note. Remember, value and price should rise simultaneously for long term growth and sustainability.
This is something that should come before all of your marketing to ensure your messaging, your branding, and your marketing can all comprehensively capture and convey this perspective and leverage your strengths.
It’s no small feat—which is one of the reasons we spend an entire module on this inside of our signature program, The Abundance Plan. Click here to learn more.
Let me know if this sounds like you…
I’d love to be referred to that luxury client by that top planner!
I’d love to collaborate with that luxury vendor!
I’d love to have more supportive and grow-minded creative entrepreneurs in my circle!
All great aspirations. But if I were to look at your calendar, how many hours would I see that you’ve spent towards bringing these goals to life? Remember, it’s one thing to wish for it, but we also need to take intentional action towards these goals.
And, let me tell you, this doesn’t mean that you need to drop $15k + to fly out to that uber fancy in-person conference. Truth be told, building relationships takes a while.
If you want to cultivate relationships, you need to ensure you’re devoting the time and effort it requires. Show me your calendar and your checkbook and I’ll know where your priorities lie.
It’s as simple as adding a time block to your calendar each week to nurture relationships or research events or activities where you can connect with the right people. Like anything else, this will become easier and more of a habit over time.
If you’re serious about building your ideal creative business—so you can start working for your dream clients with iconic collaborators—then it’s time to get serious about your connections, friend.
Put effort into networking, and you will reap the rewards.
When navigating the intricacies of building a thriving creative business, joining a community with your same goals and aspirations can really be your biggest lifeline.
Inside The Abundance Plan, our community focuses on artistic style, business and finance education, digital marketing, and networking.
In fact, community members regularly post job opportunities.
If you’re interested in joining, click below.
've spent the past decade capturing love and chasing beauty across the globe, and I believe every story like yours is different and special, and deserves to be told exceptionally.
Drawing on years of experience in the fashion and editorial photography industry, my photographs are graceful, honest and boldly natural, while completely intentional. Whether it’s the opportunity to narrate the retelling of once-in-a-lifetime wedding days, or the ability to communicate issues of global importance, or all the stories in between, I look at photography as the method by which I get to leave the world a little better than I found it.
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