The Guide to Finding Creatives Who Need You

Finding Creatives Who Need You | via the Rising Tide Society

by @annamarie_akins

So you’re new to this whole creative entrepreneurship thing and maybe it seems like everyone else already has found “their people”…

Those creative partners that they:

1. Collaborate with on every project

2. Refer their clients to when they’re booked or need help

3. Have a genuine friendship with and hang out with outside of work

So how do you find creatives to work with when it seems like everyone already has their go-to people? Especially because maybe you’re entering into this crazy world that is the creative industry and you don’t feel like you have that much to offer yet…you feel super needy and don’t really have a clue what you’re doing yet because, duh, you’re totally new at this.

Well the good news is, we’ve ALL been there! Any creative entrepreneur who runs a successful business today started out feeling overwhelmed and maybe a little scared to put their name out there or even mention that they have this dream of being a full time creative entrepreneur.

That’s a big reason why we’re launching the Creative Catalog…a super affordable online collaborative directory of job listings and Creatives to make it easier to find work and people who need your help. Because as we’ve been researching this concept of collaboration over the past year that we’ve been building the Creative Catalog, we’ve learned that the number one barrier to collaboration for Creatives is that they don’t feel worthy of asking others to work with them.

And I can relate because for me sometimes it was enough to take me back to middle school…you feel awkward and think that everyone else has friends and life figured out. So you eat your lunch in a bathroom stall scared to show your face, when in reality the TRUTH was that there were other awkward middle schoolers who needed you to introduce yourself and be their friend so you could get through that awkward stage together! And there are tons of creatives just like you in that same lonely stage who need creative partners to grow too.

When it comes to building a creative business, the easy part is usually doing the actual work..that thing you’re passionate about…the HARD part is finding the people to work for. And I fully believe that collaboration with other creatives is the fastest way to grow a business and network of clients.

So I’m excited to share 5 steps in this Guide to finding creatives who need you to collaborate with them…

Step 1: Grasp this concept first: Treat others as more important than yourself.

The Guide to Finding Creatives Who Need You | via the Rising Tide Society
Photo by Annamarie Akins

It sounds so simple right? This is the heartbeat of Community over Competition and what the Rising Tide Society is all about. But it’s a concept that can easily get lost in the feeling that you need to get ahead…
To me, the biggest secret to building a healthy and thriving business is in asking these six little magic words:

What can I do for you?

Always make the person you are approaching feel valuable. Approach others from a place of humility. Be confident but honest about what you have to offer them. People are more likely to agree to working with you if they feel that you are true to your word.

Step 2: Reach out to your current network of people.

I think it’s easy to underestimate the power of the people you already know and how many people THEY know. Send your friends an email telling them about your business and your heart behind it. Even if you don’t have a big portfolio of work or a ton of experience yet, make use of your gifts! Depending on what stage your business is in, consider offering your current close friends your services for free or send them a handwritten note. Ask them if they know any other creative entrepreneurs or business owners that they could connect you with. Remember that networks are generally built slowly and one positive experience at a time. Be patient! And even as your business and network grows, never stop asking how you can add value to others and their businesses.

Step 3: Be a river, not a flood

A river flows deeply, with purpose in one direction and gives life to the things around it. A flood is chaotic, destructive and usually shallow. One quick way to have no solid connections is to try to connect with EVERYONE. Be intentional about the Creatives you are connecting with and really invest time in getting to know and serve fewer people. This will allow you to give life to the people around you and will help you grow a more purposeful business.

Step 4. Seek out a mentor

The Guide to Finding the Creatives Who Need You | via the Rising Tide Society
photo by Annamarie Akins

Not only is this crucial because a mentor can give you valuable advice and perspective, but ALSO because they can introduce you to other people who are likely in a similar stage of growth as you! Because if you admire and follow a certain mentor, there are probably also a lot of others following that mentor who are similar to you…and THOSE are the people that you need to grow with! Attend a workshop hosted by someone you admire or hire a business coach. This is how I met several of my best friends in the industry who have helped me grow the most!

Step 5: Find your people while wearing pants AND no pants

This is one of my all time favorite concepts that I learned from my friend Morgan who runs a furniture rental company called Paisley & Jade…it’s so important to go to local meetups (like Tuesdays Together!), workshops, and conferences like I mentioned in Step 4…ie. places you have to wear pants to meet people.

But there are sooo many opportunities to find your people from the comfort of your own couch…no pants required! Join local and national facebook groups for your creative field. The Rising Tide Society group is an invaluable resource where Creatives are constantly asking for advice and getting feedback. Search for these on facebook and don’t be afraid to chime in with the discussion.

And lastly this is where the Creative Catalog comes in again! Our heart for the Catalog is that it would help connect Creatives with others who need them around the world through a collaborative directory of job listings and member profiles. Our goal is to help you find work and people who can move your business forward!

The people who want to collaborate and grow with you are out there! You just need a way to find them. Follow these steps and sign up for the Creative Catalog mailing list if you want to be one of the first to know when we launch it!

Annamarie Akins

Annamarie Akins is an international wedding and anniversary photographer who loves traveling to capture love stories. She has a passion for collaboration and believes that there are small business owners all over the world who are in need of opportunities to grow and a way to find them, which is why she is working to build The Creative Catalog! She lives in Richmond, Virginia with her husband, Ryan and their cockapoo puppy, Lexie.