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4 Ways for Makers to Find Their People

by Grace Dobush
craft & maker

Find your tribe with networking tips from the CreativeLive blog.

Three years ago I quit my day job as a magazine editor to go freelance, and I don’t miss the meetings, commute or office politics one bit. But I do miss the companionship — my only coworker is a tiny tabby who, let’s be honest, isn’t the best conversationalist.

While I do my best writing when surrounded by utter silence, I’ve realized that to stay creative it’s essential for me to hang out with other humans on a regular basis, especially in the winter months. If you’re feeling stir crazy, uninspired or generally blah, I recommend doing one or all of the following things:

Scour Eventbrite for local happenings.
Once or twice a month I browse the event listings to make sure I’m not missing out on anything going on in my area or in cities I’m planning to visit. I’ve found out about tons of free or cheap coworking days, coffee meetups and happy hours this way. I have an unofficial goal of going to one of these events a week to meet new people.

Build your own support group.
I’m a member of many Facebook Groups about crafting, show organizing and writing, plus some just for local friends, which are great for sharing information and support. But the real magic happens when we meet up offline. Maybe it can take the form of a monthly potluck, café session or karaoke night.

Reach out to someone you admire.
Is there someone in your area you really look up to or whose career you’d like to learn more about? Invite them out for coffee! I especially like to do this when I’m traveling. Just send a friendly email that introduces yourself briefly and explains why you want to meet. It can feel hard to make the ask, but you’d be surprised how often it works.

Go to a conference.
There are so many great options for creative conferences these days: Craftcation, Alt Summit, Yes and Yes Yes. And I’m organizing Midwest Craft Con, a three-day retreat for mid-career makers Feb. 19-21 in Columbus, Ohio. My co-organizers, Brit Charek and Megan Green, and I wanted to create a conference for people like us — creative business owners who need a weekend off. (You can hear more about how the conference came together on the Craftsanity podcast.) CreativeLive teachers Lisa Congdon, Tara Swiger, Abby Glassenberg and Mei Pak are among our many experienced speakers. The weekend’s schedule is packed, but it’s also got plenty of time for socialization, because the best thing about conferences is always the people you meet and the connections you make.

*CreativeLive is delighted to be a sponsor of both Craftcation and Midwest Craft Con! Stay tuned to hear more about our involvement in these awesome events.

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Grace Dobush

Grace Dobush is the co-organizer of Crafty Supermarket in Cincinnati, a semiannual indie craft show that she co-founded in 2009. She also wrote the Crafty Superstar business guides for part-time crafters and sells her zines in shops around the Midwest. By day she is a freelance journalist, writing for Wired, Quartz, Print Magazine and the Washington Post.