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Networking Events & Conferences For Crafters & Designers

by Arianne Foulks

September 2, 2014

I wanted to share what I get out of attending conferences and learning events. I’ve attended quite a few conferences for crafters and creatives in the last few years, and they’ve all been good experiences.

Are you wondering why you should leave the comfort and safety of your usual work routine to get to know some new folks? Here’s why that’s a good idea.

Want to learn, grow, and gather allies?

Here are just a few of the reasons you might want to attend an in-person event:

Learning: Most conferences are focused around learning new skills, such as blogging, pricing, production methods, social media, ecommerce, etc. Even if all you do is sit and take notes, it will have been worth your while. But being together in a room full of your creative colleagues offers so much more!

New ideas & inspiration: Just chatting with other creative people is going to spark so many new ideas for your own business! My pen is always flying through my notebook when I attend an event like this, and I come up with lots of ideas I wouldn’t have hit on sitting by myself in my office.

Support: Your family and friends may not understand what your work is like, what struggles you have, and what you worry about. Getting some support and backup from people who do what you do is a great feeling.

Collaboration: Beyond getting new ideas and support from your peers, this is a rich opportunity to strike up collaborations, whether they be a combined product (I’m in love with the collaboration between Baby Jives Co. and Mount Royal Mint, below), a guest posting relationship, a podcast, an interview, or even a new event or business.

Baby Jives Co. and Mount Royal Mint collaboration
Baby Jives Co. and Mount Royal Mint collaboration

Promotion: Of course you can get your name out there at conferences by handing out business cards, chatting with people, and being introduced to people that your own friends and acquaintances know. If you’ve been having the hard time catching the attention of someone you admire online, walking up in person and shaking hands can take care of that!

Finding out how you can help: People are at a conference because they’d like some help! I get a lot of value out of listening to where people are stuck or confused. I often turn these conversations into blog posts, newsletters, or new service offerings at Aeolidia.

Are you interested in teaching?

If you’ve been hard at your work for a number of years, you may feel like you have a lot to share, and that you’d like to help out people at the beginning of the path you’ve gone down. There are so many great ways to do this, and it’s one of the things I appreciate about the creative community: people who are willing to share what worked for them and help others be successful without feeling competitive.

Here are some ideas for ways you can share your knowledge and experience:

  • Speak or teach at conferences
  • Teach a class on Skillshare
  • Join a networking or business group
  • Start a blog and/or a newsletter focused on business
  • See if your local community center is looking for teachers or mentors

Our Content Marketing Specialist Mallory Whitfield has a great list of conferences for creatives. I would be delighted to attend any of these events! I think all of them would be valuable experiences, and there is just nothing like hanging out with other creative types to get you fired up about your business.

What events or conferences do you attend and recommend? What questions do you have about it?

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