You've been committed to being AWESOME for some time now.
Just a busy bee tolling away at what it is that you do best.
Perfecting your craft and making the world a better looking place.
BUT, doing so in relative OBSCURITY. It doesn't feel like anyone even knows that you exist outside of your mama & your core friends.
So you can't help but wonder:
How does one become connected to those who can see your brilliance and help you get to the NEXT level?
Creative people always ask me this question after they have seen me in a publication or on TV.
(My electronic press kit)
And I get it. Just in the last couple of days alone I've been approached by a major beer brand for a series of commercials they're doing on American Makers and a major tv network for a new show for makers/designers to complete for cash prizes. I didn't seek these opportunities. They found me.
The truth is that all of these opportunities have come to me from 1 of the following 3 ways:
1. Being more visible.
How can anyone know that you're the bomb if they have never seen your work? To meet people who will believe in you and elevate your career, you need to first show the world what you're working with! How do you do that without spamming them with links to your portfolio or otherwise being a nuisance, you ask?
Volunteer. The church, school, neighborhood center could use your creative touches? Give it to them for FREE. Not only are you doing a good deed that'll get you closer to heaven's gates but you are putting your talents on display. The more eyes observing your work, the more people are talking about your skills which will undoubtedly lead to paid gigs and local media attention...and local media attention leads to national media attention. POW!
Teach a class. Very similar to volunteering but this could be a paid or unpaid opportunity that serves the same purpose of putting your talents on display while helping others. You were given this talent to help others, so get busy! And watch the blessings pour in. Contact your local YMCA, adult school, after-school program, museum or summer camp and offer to teach a workshop in your craft.
Have you noticed a theme here?
The more people you BLESS with your God-given talents, the more blessings come your way!
Social media. The tv show producer found my profile on LinkedIn and reached out. Linked in is your online resume and it needs to be pruned regularly. You volunteered at the community center as I suggested? Add it. You have a new freelance gig? Add that. Earn a design certification? Add it. Created a video of yourself working on a project? ADD IT! And be sure to endorse your contacts. They will endorse you in return, which only enhances your profile and makes you easier to find.
And be sure to use your IG and FB accounts as an online portfolio. Be intentional with your posts. Enough with the selfies! We know how you look. Show us your skills!
Videos of you teaching your craft.
Photos of your work in progress.
A behind-the-scenes look at your studio space.
Posts about an art competition you won.
These social media posts show the world that your are a serious creative, not a hobbyist.
Remember: If you want people to help elevate your grind, they have to see you grinding!
2. Reaching out.
Pitch. If you have something that you'd like to share with an influencer, there's nothing wrong with simply contacting him/her directly. But do so TACTFULLY. Which means:
Via email, NOT DM.
With a clear concise message, not a lot of gushing and gibber gabber. Tell them that you love their work or a specific way they inspire you but then get to the point.
Be clear on what you are asking and how it would benefit them and/or their audience.
Have a website or portfolio link where they can get more information about what you do.
The beer commercial producer found me in an article written about me and my work several years ago. That's the brilliance of the internet. What goes there stays there. Forever.
Tip: Sign up to Help A Reporter Out (HARO) to get daily emails full of media opportunities from news reporters, magazine journalists, and bloggers. And it's FREE!
MOST VITAL TIP OF ALL:
3. Go where powerful connections happen.
I just CAN NOT express enough the power of networking and building relationships.I speak on it ad naseum in this post. Building relationships with people face-to-face is without a doubt a GAME-CHANGER. When you show up, your being their alone states to all that you are serious. And then your energy will attract your tribe. People will openly make introductions to people there in the same field that can help you.
Plus, so many opportunities are happen spontaneously such as the gig I got this week. A couple of weeks ago I was a vendor right next to a woman who runs the teen program at a large library. If I would have pitched her my design workshops cold via email, she may have ignored me but sitting next to her for a few hours helped us develop a relationship.
You can't phone in relationship-building. Sometimes it needs to take place in person!
So, busy bees, when you invest time and money into your hustle the opportunities to be seen, heard and elevated will never cease to exist.