There comes a time in all of our lives when we need to step outside our bubble and find new people to work with - whether that's for new skills, new styles, or just for a change.
But where do you start when you need to grow your network? We have a creative network of over 800 designers, illustrators, photographers, animators and filmmakers which we grew from scratch in 6 months. Here are some key questions and top tips that we’ve found helpful in growing our creative network:
Things To Ask Yourself
- What skills are you looking for? It’s no good just meeting anyone - you need to be meeting the right people. By asking this question you can work out where best to go looking for those new connections.
- How many people are you looking for? Are you looking for one or two very specialist skills that you may use rarely, or are you looking to gather a huge network of people.
- How much time do you have? If you’re pressed for time, you’re better off with specific requests for the role that you’re looking to fill than a general attempt and meeting new people.
Where to Look
- Attend meet-ups and workshops - I found myself finding good people at creative led events. Sites like meetup.com regularly have interesting events to attend usually grouped via disciplines such as Photography, Filmmaking etc. People here are always looking for an opportunity to collaborate. This can be great for meeting that handful of great creators to work with - but probably isn't as helpful if you're looking for a wider pool of talent.
2. Browse portfolio sites like Behance, Dribbble and The Dots if you’re not in a rush. Make a concerted effort to check out sites like Behance each morning. Save down the names of people whose work really stands out. Email them! Most people aren't going to get annoyed at an email saying you love their stuff!
3. Facebook Groups. There are plenty of creative networking groups on Facebook and LinkedIn which can help you find new talent, both by posting on the group yourself, and from keeping tabs on the other people posting and responding to jobs. Check out Creative Networking! for example.
4. Twitter. Twitter can be a great resource, particularly if you’re looking for illustrators. Search for questions like 'hire an illustrator' and you'll find others reaching out for the same skills you need... and the responses that came with it!
5. Instagram. Having become something of a go-to-resource in the last few years, Instagram is very much the place to look for Photographers, illustrators, animators, directors etc. Follow tags and recommendation accounts to find new talent. For example - here are just some of the latest videos under #C4D today on Instagram:
6. Ask your current network for suggestions. As long as it won’t mean them missing out on work, most creative folk are likely to know other creatives, and will be open to sending over recommendations when their style isn’t right, or they can’t do a project.
7. Browse online marketplaces such as YunoJuno, Upwork, Freelancer etc. However do watch out for platforms that exploit cheap work and be mindful that some platforms generally have a lower bar of creative quality.
But there’s one thing you have to remember - there’s no point finding people if you can’t remember them when the right time comes. To keep track of your network, check out Stitch (stitchapp.co) - a new tool to store, manage and stay up to date with your creative network. Because you add the talent you love to Stitch - and they don’t need to set up profiles themselves - you can create a single central store of all your favourite people.
You can also add structure to your inbound applications and ask anyone applying to work with you to answer a simple call out form - adding people you like directly to your Black Book. Find out more at Stitchapp.co