Finding Your Creative Community

With collaborations on the rise, finding your own creative community is more important than ever to build connections and referrals. What's a creative community? It is a network of like-mind business professionals that you would enjoy working with, becoming inspired by, and would learn from. This new-age style of working with other leading industry professionals is THE modern way to network, and to say that we are big fans doesn't cover how much we love this movement! 

Now that you know what a creative community is, let's chat about how you can find fellow creatives that you (and your business!) would benefit from and how to benefit from those meetings! 

1 | Reach Out

Find someone in the same or similar work profession as you. This fellow creative would be someone you admire, view as a mentor and would enjoy collaborating with! Before you two are able to meet over coffee or cocktail, make it your prerogative to determine how you can help that person. You can do this by means referring them to a potential lead or even sending them a new podcast - whatever comes up during the meeting, see how you can help them. The next time you plan to meet with them, each of you bring another person that would fit in the group. Before you know it your tribe will grow! 


TIP: If your schedule does not allow of you to meet in-person as often as you'd like, find an online community! We love The Rising Tide Society and Meetup.com to help you get started. 


2 | Bring Something to the Table

What is your creative genius? What makes your business stand out? How can you help other business owners benefit? These are all great questions to ask yourself prior to meeting with your creative community! Having something to bring to the table enhances the experience for everyone in attendance and will help you become a strong opinion leader for the group. 

3 | Show Up! 

While this goes without saying, showing up to meetings is the only way to be engaged with your creative community! Always remember that you are doing this to benefit yourself and your business, so it is ever-important to pencil in your weekly (or monthly!) meetings with your group and show up! 

4 | Work Together

Once that you've cultivated a creative community, do something together outside of your standard meeting! From creating a styled shoot to taking a workshop, there are endless activities that you and your creative community can do to expand your collaborating to the field. 

Want to chat more about how you can find a creative community in your area? Contact Alyson today to learn more! 

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Top 3 Personal Assistant Tools

Ever feel like your to-do list is never ending? When my to-do list takes on a life of its own, I find myself needing a little push of motivation to get those tasks completed. Truly, I need something extra to help me stay organized! While I am a big advocate for a beautiful, bound planner to hand-write many of my appointments, to-dos and notes, I, like many modern business owners, have succumb to digital means to keep track!

Today, I am sharing my three favorite personal assistant tools that have been a life-saver to help me keep focused on my tasks and goals at hand. Hopefully by including a short description for each tool, you'll find the ideal app or software program that is perfect for you and your business. 

1 | EasilyDo

From flight itineraries and car reservations to organizing receipts and monitoring my social media, EasilyDo has quickly become one of my favorite, interactive management apps. Of course, this app keeps up with all of the standard organizing such as creating calendars and reminders; however, it goes above and beyond in the level of organization. Also, I just love the aesthetic aspect of EasilyDo as it makes everything more fun to compete! The best part? EasilyDo is free!

2 | Quip

If it's good enough Mark Zuckerberg, it is definitely good enough for me! Quip is the perfect collaboration tool that makes teamwork fun. Professionally, this app that has helped me check-in with my clients and keep the both of us focused on important and time sensitive matters. Like Easily Do, Quip is a free app for both Android and iOS! 

3 | 17Hats

I am saving the best for last with this personal assistant tool! To be honest, 17hats grabbed by attention because they sponsored so many Facebook posts that appeared on my newsfeed. For fun, I used their free trail feature and to say that I was pleased does not even cover my excitement over how 17hats streamlined my projects!! All of the multiple documents and software that I use for my business are placed in one easy-access area that is 17hats. I am in love with this program, but since it is not a free software it is not for everyone!

5 Hacks to Build Business in the Off-Season

If you own a seasonal business then today's blog post is just for you! Running a company that thrives one season and comes to a halt the next is not an easy task. Yes, checking out (mentally and/or physically) when things slow down would be the easy solution during the off season, but that would not benefit your business! Enjoy my five ways to build your business during the off season that will help you enter the peak season with confidence! 

1 | Perform Maintenance 

Whether you need to revamp the look of your storefront or contract a designer to create a much needed website update, performing maintenance to your business where it needs it the most is always best during the slower business months. It takes a lot of time and energy to devote to either of the above, and you will need to give that time and energy to make certain your business stands out above the competition in every shape and form. 

2 | Educate Yourself.

Update your certification, take a new photography class, research the newest marketing trends, sign-up for a workshop - all of these are great ways to educate yourself and ultimately benefit your business. Clients are more likely to seek your service if you can showcase your talents by continuing your education and expertise by staying on top of trends as it relates to your industry! In addition, this will give you an ego boost and credence that will carry into the busy season. 

3 | Build Your Online Presence.

Having an online presence has become just as important as owning a telephone. From this point forward, consider your blog, website and social media accounts as another form of your portfolio. Not only are you able to showcase your work, services and products but also you are able to become a storyteller by sharing daily and weekly updates! 

4 | Attend a Trade Show or Expo.

Going to a trade show or expo as a vendor or attendee is another great way to build your business during the off season. Once you sign-up to be a vendor at an expo, you are taking on a marketing strategy that is tried and true. However, make sure that you are prepared to meet and greet expo attendees with a look that will draw them to your booth! By going to industry specific trade shows, you'll be able to learn where your industry's future is headed, receive discounts on products from participating vendors and even network! 

5 | Collaborate Other Professionals!

Now that you are a networking feen after reading my last networking blog post, you are ready to collaborate with other professionals in your industry or near your storefront. Create a styled shoot to submit for publication or host a meeting with business owners near your company to plan for the upcoming season. Either way, by collaborating with others shows that you are a team player and ready to further your business by working with your fellow peers. 

3 Ways to Network When You're the Newbie!

Whether you just dove into a new industry or you moved to a new area, it is never easy being the new person! Whichever of those aspects you represent, networking is very important to finding your tribe and establishing your company among your peers. While I've covered 3 Reasons You Should Network and How, today I am sharing three ways to network when you're the new kid in town! 


FACT: FACEBOOK ACCOUNTS FOR 21% OF ALL SOCIAL MEDIA REFERRAL TRAFFIC TO WEBSITES.*


1 | FOLLOW, FOLLOW, FOLLOW.

Research which social media tags local professionals are using in your niche, and jump on the bandwagon! Secondly, find business pros like you by typing in a business category and your area into a search engine. For example, "wedding photographers in Richmond Virginia." You'll boost your following, and connect with others who grow your referral base.   

2 | FIND A NETWORKING EVENT!

The age-old trick of turning on your company and (again!) typing in your favorite search engine, "networking events [your city]" or "business networking events [your city]" is the perfect place to start. When in doubt, I suggest browsing the following websites to easily find networking events by zip code: 

3 | DON'T BE SHY.

When you find a fellow industry professional you want to Facebook message or say "hello" to at a networking event, do not be shy! You've done the research, located the event, and drove there, so why toss in the hat now? When it comes to conversations - share your story of how your got started with your company, what sets your business a part, and watch your tribe grow! Oh, and whatever you do, do not forger your business cards!! 


REMEMBER: NETWORKING IS NOT ABOUT COLLECTING CONTACTS, BUT BUILDING RELTIONSHIPS.


*Stat provided by Meltwater