I’ve talked before about creating long-lasting relationships with your clients – but this week I want to focus on the importance of creating relationships with fellow designers, developers and other creatives.
For the longest time, I didn’t reach out to the design community – I initially perceived them as competition rather than a source of inspiration. The first year I was off on my own, I attended a few local design meetups, but frankly found them to be an “old boys club” and not particularly helpful to newbie business owners.
Later that first year, I was lucky to connect with another designer in DC with 10 years of experience who would often counsel me on working with clients. Not only would we send work back and forth, but we would consult each other on design comps and implementation strategies.
Last year I paid the price of a small car to join a high-end mastermind of 20 powerful women – by far, the biggest investment into my business I’ve made. Not only has it paid off in interesting new projects, but now I have a core group of business owners that I can rely on to support my endeavors.
It’s easy to get jaded and despondent when you work by yourself – especially if you have a home office and don’t connect often with others in person. One of the big things I missed from my 9-5 gig was the team environment and socializing in and outside of the workplace.
Having another designer or developer (or even better, a small group of creatives) to bounce ideas off of and talk about business will open you up to new ideas and solutions. It also opens up opportunities to collaborate on projects (both paid and personal). I often phone or skype long-distance designers and try to meet in person at least a few times a month with local designers. Not only does this get me out of the house, but it makes me more aware of what other people are working on – and we can push each other to create stronger projects.
You don’t have to go it alone!
Have you reached out to other designers?
Who is in your inner circle that helps you with your business?