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2020 has been quite the year to say the least. As a people, we have been strained with uncertainty, apprehension, and loss. As business owners in the event industry, some of us have struggled to survive, with cancelations and postponements straining our livelihoods. I have no problem admitting that the last few months have been some of the most challenging months of my life. However, a silver lining to the trying times facing us is the power of unity and coming together as an industry. I have never felt closer to the incredible people that make the event space as special as it is. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the opportunities I have had to interact in this community. Last week, we had the opportunity to travel out to California for the DJ Collective Recharge 2020 in Coachella and it was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had both personally and professionally. As human beings, sociability and networking are built into our DNA and are the foundation of our society. If you’re a natural born introvert like me, you might shutter at the thought of networking, but I am here to tell you it can be one of the most rewarding things you do for yourself and your business. 

Why YOU Should be Networking

As a business owner of any kind this is a bit of a no brainer, but taking an active role in your industry should definitely be a priority when growing your business. Networking in your industry may not only allow you to meet people you otherwise never would have, but it can also help you to potentially generate more revenue, and most importantly, you might learn something new (which might also generate more business). For me, the best parts of networking events are the people I meet and the new information I acquire. There really is no feeling like the connectedness I feel to a community of people after a networking event. The value of these relationships really does transcend business, as David has mentioned some of his greatest relationships have come from networking events. 

If you are an introvert like me, one of the greatest (and worst) aspects of networking is that it will push you outside of your comfort zone to reach new people, initiating conversation, and opening yourself to new ideas. In fact, that was one of my greatest takeaways from the DJ Collective 2020. I left that conference feeling a revitalized sense of sociability I hadn’t felt in a long time. In a few short days, I felt like communication skills improved and I felt more confident in my ability to initiate conversations I would have otherwise never started. These skills are only acquired through practice and networking events such as the DJ Collective are GREAT practice. Plus, you might build a new relationship. 🙂

In-Market Networking

There are two primary types of marketing in the event industry (and most industries) in-market networking and out of market networking. We will touch on both in this article, but let’s start with the importance of in-market networking. In-market networking in the event industry can give you the opportunity to build relationships with the people you work with in your community. Connecting with other vendors, discussing the state of the local industry, and business exposure are just a few of the benefits when in market networking. In my opinion, this type of networking has higher potential to turn into business opportunities, however, that’s not to say out of market networking can’t lead to new markets or opportunities down the line for your business. A great first step to in-market networking might be joining a local chapter of professional event organization or a local wedding association. However, simply joining isn’t enough. You definitely need to make a concerted effort to attend meetings and actively engage in the community! 

Out of Market Networking

Out of Market Networking is just as important as in-market networking. Both work together and provide new insights you may not have gained from  in-market. Out of market networking can provide you the opportunity to work with people in your industry that you otherwise would have not felt comfortable working with in your local market. Are you a wedding planner and want to keep up with the latest trends and information? An out of market networking event for wedding planners might be worth considering. These events are typically larger and may or may not be located in your state, but if you can travel, there is so much value to be gained from being a part of a larger community. Simply being around like-minded business owners is inspiring as it is, facilitating new ideas and processes for your own business. As a videographer by trade, I still gained new insights to my own business being a part of the DJ collective. Topics such as marketing, client management, and networking are universal and are applicable to multiple industries. The opportunities attending these types of out of marketing networking events are limitless and you are bound to learn something new, or make a new connection with someone. These types of events are sure to leave you with a fresh perspective and arm you with the tools to take you and your business to a new level of professionalism and growth. 

So there you have it. If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I encourage everyone to get involved in your community, both personally and professionally. We are social creatures by nature so don’t be afraid to take those first steps no matter how daunting it may be! Though you may feel introverted or fearful of these interactions, I promise once you start practicing and putting yourself out there, these types of interactions become rewarding and refreshing. I challenge you to get involved in your community and get out to a networking event. Drop a comment on this article about the event you attend to keep yourself accountable. If you haven’t already joined our Wedding Business Growth community, make sure you get into our Facebook group for some incredible networking opportunities, live events, and all around great people. Cheers!

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