“I am terrified of networking! What if they don’t like me?”
“I am simply this nobody, why would someone famous will even work with me?”
“Oh, my skill sucks! There are so many people out there that is better than me… they’ll definitely reject me.”
Does any of this sound like you?
If yes, don’t worry, you are definitely not alone.
If no, then I am not entirely sure why you are reading this, you are probably a networking master already.
The reality for most people is that… NETWORKING IS NERVE WRECKING.
Go online, you will see lots of articles about it and a lot of why’s and people being concerned about it. Search Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, you will continue to see people hem-hawing about networking.
At Art of Commissions, we have definitely done our fair share of it. In fact, our latest Artist Feature mentioned the necessity of it and she considers it as that one advice she wished her younger self had followed.
But you know what isn’t talked much about?
The mindset that you bring to networking.
We all know that the worst thing that could happen is that they don’t reply to us… but how many of you guys have lost sleep because of that exact worry? Probably tons. I have definitely lost nights of sleep after pitching to some pretty important potential clients.
By the end of the day, you realize that them not replying is a really big deal and it is a scenario you’d much rather avoid. So, you go back to just… avoiding networking in general.
So, now what then? How are you going to talk to people that really matter to your freelancing career? Are you going to just give up on networking? No, of course not. Damn networking is too important to neglect.
Insert forlorn sigh.
So, this article is going to talk about how you can break down your mental barrier to networking and bypass your own shy syndrome.
No more “I am just really shy!” or “I don’t really know what to write!”
All those excuses go straight out of the window after this.
Below, I will share three techniques on how you can shatter your mental barriers to networking.
1. Imagine what’s the worst that could happen
Wait a second, didn’t I just say that is not helpful?
Yes, I did.
But please, let me finish!
A lot of people do tell us to imagine the worst thing that could happen. They are like, “oh, if they don’t reply, try again!”
However, that concept is so soul crushing, you are not entirely sure if you even want to go through it again. So, when I say to imagine the worst that could happen, I want you to imagine what happens afterwards.
In fact, don’t just imagine it; I heavily recommend that you open a Word document and write it down.
They don’t reply to you, then what happens? How do you bounce back? Do you have a plan B? Of course you do! Write all of it down.
The point of this is to remind yourself that despite painful rejections (is it even a rejection? It is such a shitty rejection!), you will continue to forge forward. You will find out how to get your next networking opportunity! There will be a next step.
Isn’t that a comforting thought?
Sending that email will still be nerve-wrecking (oh, trust me, I know ALL about it), but if you write down your worst case scenario aftermath, you will have a solid plan that you can bounce back on. And that can be a huge comfort when you are struggling with the fear of rejections.
2. Start at the bottom of the social ladder
You don’t have to go to those hot shots immediately. Most people think that they have to become popular overnight.
Popularity. Takes. Time.
So, as becoming popular takes its time, you should first build up your comfort zones. Start in the lower part of the social ladder!
Find the lowest point where you feel comfortable putting yourself out there. If it is your friends, so be it.
Build your confidence. Put your art out there! Ask those friends to share and showcase them when possible, get used to that feeling associated with the act of asking others for help.
And once you have gotten comfortable with having your friends share your art, move up the ladder. Message fellow artists on a forum. Ask them for advice and tips.
You’ll be surprised by how many of us are just dying to give our wisdom away to fledgeling freelancers. We have so many nuggets of wisdom that we wish we could share with our younger selves!
Once you have gotten a hang of talking to fellow artists, start emailing editors, writers, and publishing houses.
You have a voice and a vision you are desperate to share — so SHARE IT. You just need some time and practice to grow into it.
3. Write a list of your dream contacts
So, you have written out your lows and you are not entirely sure if you really want to email this fellow artist. Or maybe that publishing house doesn’t seem to have work you are interested in.
You know what else you can write down to break through your mental blockades?
A list of our dream contacts.
This provides perspective to the way you want to go. It allows you visualize the social ladder a little bit more clearer.
Not to mention, you can quite easily find out how they started and simply start there too.
It also gives you the motivation to keep climbing that ladder… so that one day, you can get that collaboration with that artist you really admire. Or even do a commission for one of your dream companies!
The possibilities are endless, so write it down. Find the direction you want go for. Once you have a direction, everything else just becomes minor distraction on a seemingly straight path.
Now, the reality is… you will feel nervous.
And that’s okay; feeling nervous is okay.
But now you can visualize that it will be okay, you have a plan; you have a next step. So, the next time you hear crickets, you know which direction you’ll go. You will be able to say, “okay, that really sucks, but I can get over it and move onto the next thing.”
And that’s powerful.
You are now ready to fling your art throughout the internet. Go do it, you tiger!
Do you ever sweat bullets at trying to figure out what your dream clients are thinking when they read your emails? No more of that!
Click above to get our free gift to our readers; The Five Components of a Killer Pitch. In this free eBook, we break down what exactly is the client looking for and how you can position yourself in a place where you become an irresistible option to them. They will have a hard time turning you down once you used the exact techniques listed in the eBook!