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How to make friends (in business)

Updated: Feb 14, 2022

If you've read or watched any of my content in the last six months you'll know that I believe community is key for business success and general happiness as a business owner. But how do you make friends in business, with people that you're competing with, when making friends in real life is hard enough as it is?

First up is mindset. If you're thinking of other calligraphers as competition and jealous that they're getting all the work that you feel that should have been yours, you need to work on your mindset. No judgement here, because I have been in this position before, feeling a pang of panic and jealousy each time I seen a calligrapher get work that "should have been mine". This mindset comes from a place of insecurity. When I was feeling this way, I was so desperate to get my business off the ground but I also felt entirely on my own doing it and was unsure of myself and my ability as a calligrapher/creative business owner. I didn't know any other creative business owners or artists and I didn't understand that there's room for all of us and it's better to work together than to compete.

Three tips to changing your competition mindset to a community mindset:

  1. Niche down so that you understand what work you're actually "competing" for. What's the point in feeling jealous of work you don't actually want.

  2. If you're in the same niche, consider ways that you're different. You may have different styles, work with different materials or simply have different interests and therefore be attracting other clients anyway

  3. Make friends. It's much easier to celebrate "competitors" successes when they're your friends. You want to see them succeed alongside you.

So mindset is all well and good but you still need to actually make contact with others to make friends with them right? So how do you go about it?

Step one - find your people

Join relevant Facebook groups, follow other creative business owners on Instagram or Facebook, have a Google search of other businesses locally. Facebook groups are particularly great as you can find a niche that you're interested in which is a good time for me to shout out my own Facebook group which is for those learning modern calligraphy. I also really like Dina Calligraphy's Facebook group for other calligraphy business owners.

Step two - engage

Now you need to put in a little work. If you're part of Facebook groups, comment on other people's content. If you're part of Instagram, don't just like other people's posts, but read what they say and post a relevant comment. Also make sure to engage with people's Instagram stories as creators often put more personal content there. Start to also drop people DMs to chat about what they're sharing and start really making those personal connections.

Step three - fancy a cuppa?

If you are aware of another calligrapher / creative business owner locally, drop them a friendly message and ask if they'd be interested in joining you for a cuppa as it would be nice to meet another local creative. Unless they're super busy they'll often say yes. It might be a British-ism that you can easily reach out to another person and bond over a cuppa but I imagine there's an equivalent wherever you're reading from.

Of course, not everyone is based locally. For those based elsewhere in your country, or even internationally, suggest a collaboration of some form. It can be a good way to get a bit closer to other creatives you want to make more of a connection with and it's more organic than suggesting a Zoom meeting. However, Zoom meetings can be a great way to chat and get to know others. If possible, get calligraphers you're friendlier with to do an introduce you both.

Overall advice

  • Don't go into these situations expecting something / be upset if you don't get a response

  • Reach out to those that are a similar level in business to you for the best chance of success

  • Don't dismiss connections outside of the industry - they can be just as valuable and offer a new perspective

Found this helpful? Book a coaching session with me to get more customised recommendations.

1 comentario

This was really helpful, mostly because it was tailored to us Calligraphers. Thank you again so much Gemma. I'm really looking forward to engaging with more of your content.

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