Going the Distance

Reputation is a volume business. (Excerpt from Have Fun, Get Paid: How to Make a Living With Your Creativity)

One of the most effective networking techniques you can employ has nothing to do with attending meet ups, honing your elevator pitch, or trying to impress a roomful of complete strangers. Not only is it easy to do; it’s something that even the most marketing averse can comfortably embrace. The best way to enhance your image and spread the word about your art is by helping others in your field.

Reputation is a volume business with a long-term payoff that continues to grow over time. When you lend a hand to others, don’t expect an immediate payoff. In fact, don’t expect a benefit at all. Doing so will diminish the value of your actions in the eyes of others, and thus the effort will do little to help you. Rather than being seen as a really-cool person who takes the time to help others, people will see you as a crass and calculating manipulator who’s just using them for your own benefit. They’ll be correct.

By now, you might be wondering why you should bother helping others, at least from a marketing point of view, if you’re not going to get anything in return. After all, the time and effort you spend showing another artist how to improve her career could be more productively spent on your own. The value of this approach is more clearly evident if you once again reach for your wide-angle lens and look at your career from beginning to end.

Don’t wait for someone to ask. Actively look for opportunities to make someone else’s life better. You’ll gradually gain a good reputation, along with much love and respect in your field. This is a volume business, and one that takes time to yield results. Even so, people talk. When opportunity arises, who do you think they’re going to share it with?

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