Networking: Now available at non-photo-related events!
My sister is an electrical engineer who focuses on solar and alternative energy. I wasn’t doing much on Sunday and she invited me to go with her to the San Francisco Green Festival and I thought “Why not? It will be educational at least.”
The event was free, and that was also a bonus. Upon our arrival we wandered around and got some free samples, magazines, pens and the usual trade-show swag. I don’t know why it took so long to click, but when I was talking to a gentleman who made hemp clothing he asked me what it was that I did – “I’m a photographer,” I said as I clumsily reached for a card realizing that all of these companies need advertising as well – and it was at that point that I began to talk to EVERYONE who had a product or service that I was interested in. By the end of the day, I was out of business cards. I couldn’t hand them out fast enough. My swag-bag was full of catalogs, business cards and contact info. Some people simply nodded and took my card, while others excitedly talked to me about new products they were putting out that they needed photos of. I’ve put together two estimates just today and sent them out to these respectable companies.
You can network anywhere. My lazy Sunday activity turned into a networking event extravaganza. Obviously a trade show of come kind is more appropriate and easier to hand out cards and promote yourself, because that’s what everyone is there for. But for those of you who are waiting for the next big photo-trade-show or convention don’t need to wait, there are plenty of business’ out there who need your services in every industry. Start watching your local exhibition center for these great opportunities – and bring extra cards!