It’s a skill intrinsic to the industry – networking is absolutely crucial in the business of makeup, beauty and hair. It’s also something that can be incredibly daunting. Without prior experience, it’s easy to view it as an impossible task. Ask any industry professional and they’ll go on and on about how important building and networking is in your career, but for those starting out, it’s easy to sit and wonder how these successful people started in the first place.
Building up relationships with the right people can be daunting when you’re fresh on the scene, so here are some tips on how to network effectively.
- Know your pitch.
You never know who you might be talking to on given day. If you don’t know how to convey who you are and what you do quickly and efficiently, you don’t know what kind of opportunities you’re missing out on. Practice conveying these two things within two simple sentences. Otherwise, when someone asks in the future, you’ll find yourself fumbling for words. If you take too long or seem unsure of what you’re saying, you will lose your audience immediately.
- Be confident.
The saying ‘fake it til you make it’ has so much truth in this instance. In terms of holding your own, you need to trust in what you are saying, and confident in your own work. People want to work with those who aren’t afraid of something new.
- Understand quality over quantity.
Don’t mistake popularity in numbers for quality networks. Aim to develop quality relationships by putting time and effort into specific networks, rather than spreading yourself thin with a lot of different people. One good quality relationship with another in your industry is better than two flaky relationships. The best part about networking, especially as a freelancer, is the transfer of overflow work. If you have a client come to you while you have work coming out your ears, you can send them in the direction of your industry friends. That way, in return, they can send their overflow work your way too.
- Try your luck.
You don’t get anywhere by laying low and waiting for things to happen. If you are interested in doing a particular job, or working with a particular person, try your luck. Make the first move and reach out for contact. The worst that can happen is they tell you ‘no’, however, it could just as easily pay off for you! Be daring, be brave and give it a go!
Some extra tips:
+ Have business cards at the ready, you never know when you’ll meet someone!
+ Keep regular contact with your industry connections. Make sure they continue to remember you, so that when something comes up your name comes to their mind quickly.
+ Networking online can be useful. But don’t just advocate for yourself. Like, comment and share other people’s work that you admire and they will notice you in return and appreciate your support.
+ Give before you ask – you need to be open to assisting others before you expect them to owe you anything.
+ Talk to local businesses. If you’re looking to work in bridal hair and makeup, then make contact with wedding photographers, dressmakers, florists etc. Know your industry and reach out to those who are already have their footing.
+ Know your manners. Being polite is the number one rule when working with people. In an industry that relies heavily on reputation, you will find that one bad moment can destroy all of your best moments. People remember how you make them feel, so get it right 100% of the time!
Networking is all about confidence and persistence. Your best way into the industry is to jump in head-first and show you’re passionate; you’ll get your footing and learn along the way.