Do you want to foster community and build relationships with other creative entrepreneurs in your industry? If so, then this episode of Priority Pursuit is for you!
Courtney Cannon and her husband, Robert, make up the husband-wife duo of The Cannons Photography—a wedding photography and branding team based in Massillon, Ohio. Courtney and Robert have a passion for serving and loving their couples well and pulling out all the stops to show their clients, vendors, and fellow entrepreneurs that they truly care. In fact, Courtney and Robert care about the photography community so much that they’ve even created The Graceful Gathering—a boutique wedding photography conference where they teach other photographers how to truly care for and serve their clients well.
The Cannons have built a thriving business that’s founded on showing people that they care, cultivating meaningful relationships, and being genuine. And, in this episode of Priority Pursuit, Courtney shares exactly how to foster community in your industry as a creative entrepreneur.
Side Note: This blog post is a very brief overview of what Courtney shared in this episode. For even more industry-relationship-building wisdom, be sure to listen to Courtney’s full interview via the audio at the top of the page!
As a creative entrepreneur, there’s a lot of work that rests on your shoulders to keep your business running, and it can feel like you’re doing it all on your own. But, you don’t have to feel that way, because there are others in your industry who know what it’s like to do what you do.
According to Courtney, building relationships with creative entrepreneurs in your industry connects you with people with similar experiences who understand what you’re going through. Community creates the opportunity to offer mutual support to one another by sharing in the challenges and successes of owning a business and by being sounding boards for one another.
You may not be coworkers, but when you’re in community with other creative entrepreneurs, you can support and lean on one another as you strive to build your businesses and simply live life.
Whether you’ve been fortunate to find community within your industry or you’re currently feeling lonely, you likely already know how important community is. But, how do you actually foster community in your industry as a creative entrepreneur?
According to Courtney, relationships and community don’t come about by happenstance; they come about by being intentional and taking the time to get to know people. Whether you’re building a relationship with a client, peer, or vendor, you want to be genuine and show that you truly care about them.
Courtney shares that something as simple as an email reaching out to another person in your industry and asking them how they’re doing, recognizing that they might be in a hard season, and offering to help in any way that you can shows them you’re intentional about your relationship with them.
However you go about reaching out to others to foster community in your industry as a creative entrepreneur do it because you want to get to know that person and genuinely build a relationship with them.
While there are many ways to show others that you care, the key is that whether you connect with people in person, through social media, or other means, you are always genuine.
Whenever possible, Courtney does suggest meeting with people in person. However, when this isn’t possible—such as during a global pandemic—social media is a great tool for building connections.
For example, networking and building relationships can be done with small, intentional actions online that show you care about others and genuinely want to connect, such as checking in with them via a DM or even just responding to their call-to-action in their Instagram post in the way that they ask (e.g. double tap, comment, etc.).
If you’re looking for a way to actively connect with industry peers in your community, look for local chapters or groups for creative entrepreneurs that you can participate in.
For example, are you familiar with The Rising Tide and TuesdaysTogether? This is a great, free opportunity to connect with other small business owners and creative entrepreneurs who meet to openly share ideas and goals.
You may have to do a little looking, but chances are, there are opportunities in your area to foster community within your industry. And, if a group or a TuesdaysTogether chapter doesn’t already exist, you can always be the one to start one—like Courtney and Robert did as TuesdaysTogether leaders!
Another way to meet and begin fostering relationships with other creative entrepreneurs is to attend conferences or workshops. According to Courtney, conferences are more than just education; they are a great place to meet and connect with other creative entrepreneurs and vendors in your industry.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, Courtney and her husband created a styled boutique conference called The Graceful Gathering. This conference focuses on helping wedding photographers impact the lives of their couples in a meaningful way, but this conference is also an amazing opportunity to network with other creative entrepreneurs, make new friends, and build relationships with others in your industry.
*The Graceful Gathering will be held in Cleveland, Ohio from June 14-16, 2022 and tickets go on sale February 24!*
Whether you’re a wedding photographer or not, when you attend a conference, you can come away with more than education. If you’re willing to put yourself out there a little bit, you can come away with genuine connections and friends.
Find a conference that works for you and fits the needs of your business! Again, this is a great opportunity to foster community with other creative entrepreneurs and vendors.
So, friend, whether you’re a wedding photographer or another kind of creative entrepreneur, seek community out—whether it be in person, through social media, by joining local groups, attending conferences, or connecting with vendors.
Because, when you show others that you care and you’re genuine in how you engage with them, you’re able to offer support, have a support system, and cheer one another on as your businesses grow.
Are you ready to get started? If so, take the practical steps Courtney shared in this episode, put them into practice, and enjoy having a supportive community of creative entrepreneurs!
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