As a creative entrepreneur/freelancer/photographer you may have heard the sad news that about 85% of what you do on a daily basis is run your business - not taking photos, painting, retouching, nor shopping for throw pillows - It’s marketing, chasing invoices, updating your website/portfolio/Instagram (/blog!). It’s networking and hustling for new clients - every artist’s least favorite thing to do. And if you’re an introvert like me, it’s twice as painful.
But it has to be done.
So put on your clean pants and get ready, I’ve got some tips to get you through it.
The best trick I have ever learned that has completely changed my life in the past year is setting intentions. Now before you roll your eyes, hear me out. Any time I have a networking event, important client call, or portfolio review I try to set intentions beforehand. Intentions are not a checklist of things to accomplish (too much pressure!), more simply, how you want to feel going in to and coming out of a situation.
For example, while I am driving to an event I will turn off the radio and have a chat with myself (yes, do it out loud!): ”I am going to have a great experience at this panel tonight. I am going to feel calm and find a comfortable place to sit. I will make a valuable connection with at least one other person in the room who will want to correspond with me afterwards. I will learn something new and leave feeling inspired.”
This is a much better way to head in to a crowd than running through a cyclone of oh-god-what-ifs (What if no one talks to me? What if everyone there has friends and I’m all alone looking like an over/underdressed idiot? What if I eat too much cheese?!)
The key is to focus on the best possible outcome and get your energy primed.
I can’t tell you how many times my intentions have come to 100% fruition and, having calm energy has helped attract people to me so I don’t have to go nervously darting around the room looking for a safe person to approach (scare off.)
When heading in to a portfolio review, try an intention like, ”I am going to make a great connection with the people I meet today. We are going to have a fun conversation and will all leave with the mutual feeling of gratitude for getting to know each other. They will remember that feeling and call on me when the right project arises in the future.”
Practice what you are going to say (and ask):
Create a lunch-line-pitch: a creative and more intriguing answer to the question we are always asked: What do you do?
“I empower creatives to make a sh*t-ton of money” is a lot more interesting than, ”I’m a photography rep.” Create your pitch and practice saying it.
People looooove to talk about themselves. So, if you are going in to a meeting or client call, make sure to have lots of questions for them and avoid talking about yourself too much. When you make them feel heard and as though you are interested in their opinion, you make them feel special. When you make them feel special, they like you.
Do the research on who you will be speaking with and prep for conversation, personal and project-related. (Bonus points for knowing about their babies, fur babies, and anything food related.)
Anticipate any other questions that might come up and practice your responses. When you feel prepared, you will sound and feel more confident.
You’ve probably seen the Amy Cuddy TED talk on power-posing. Take up some space before you head in to a room. Stand tall or try some man-spreading while you are setting your intentions, it will help you believe yourself.
You don’t have to get formal but put some effort in to it. If you’re wearing jeans, add some nice shoes. Find an interesting accessory or the perfect liquid eyeshadow in my case. Something to start a conversation or make you memorable.
It doesn’t have to be over the top, in fact, it shouldn’t be.
Meeting people, getting out of your comfort zone, practicing your pitch - it’s all exercising your confidence muscle. Each time you do it, you get stronger, better, calmer. People will sense your confidence and be attracted to your energy.
You got this.
Check out these tips from the Texas Conference for Women.
Need help with your lunch line pitch? Not sure what to do with yourself in meetings? Let’s chat. Schedule a free call here and ask me anything!
P.S. I’m rooting for you!
P.P.S. Photo above from my recent trip to West Texas.
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