5 Ideas for Networking in a New City by Brittany Wallins
I have moved countries 3 times in my life and have lived in 4 different cities (Spring, TX, Edmonton, AB, Tucson, AZ, and now Calgary, AB). You would think my parents were in oil and gas, but nope. My parents had a knack for flipping houses so within the cities I lived in, we often switched neighborhoods. I used to look down on my lifestyle growing up, but now I realize it has made me into the successful, extroverted, gregarious, and quirky person I am today! I also appreciate a sense of community like no other and am always searching for ways to be a part of one.
I know how difficult it can be to “start over,” both socially and economically. So maybe this is your fifth move or maybe your first; whatever it is I hope I can provide you with some advice that helps you make yourself known and makes you feel like you got this… because you do!
First, let’s start with social media. This is one of the biggest tools for networking. Make sure to update all your contact info (new cell, address, etc.) Then make sure to like, follow and comment on people in your area, search both other artists and potential clients. Thankfully, one thing you don’t need to start over is your portfolio… take it with you! Use your existing page to show potential clients what you can do and have done! Even by reposting old photos or funny memes with NEW hashtags that are relevant to your new city, area code, and surrounding areas. Sponsor a few ads which are targeting your new selected audience. This will cost a little bit of money, but it should pay off in the long run.
Second, put yourself out there! Are you renting a room in a bigger salon? Hang out in the main waiting room of the building with your portfolio and introduce yourself to incoming guests that are there for other services. Be vulnerable! Does your new building/salon have an email list of clients they see? If so, write up an introduction email and ask them to send it on your behalf to introduce the services you offer. Are you working out of your home? Get out of your studio and make yourself visible by renting a small booth at a local event, swap meets, school, market, etc to inform people of what you do… go where the people are and SELL yourself and your services! You will need to put forth an effort if you want to succeed.
Third, and this will hit on both the social and economical aspect… host a professional meet and greet. My advice would be not to focus on competing services (although you don’t need to exclude them, after all, we all need a local PMU BFF to lean on!), but rather focus on complementary services. Hairdressers, nail technicians, medispas, wax bars, and makeup artists are all a good place to start. Drown the venue in your business cards and exclusive discount coupons. Have a look-book handy for people to browse through or even take with them to put in the waiting rooms of their salons/spas. You may want to give a few freebies to those that have a high client load and then give discount coupons to them to pass on to their clients.
Fourth piece of advice? I am fearlessly friendly! Everywhere you go and every person you meet is a new opportunity. Eating out for dinner? Leave your waitress a business card (and a good tip) with a discount code on it! Even if she doesn’t use it, she may have a friend or family member who takes it.
Fifth idea, why not volunteer your services somewhere? For example, you could contact a local cancer clinic or hair loss clinic and offer your services pro bono. Weight loss clinics are also a good source of networking as many of their clients suffer from hypothyroidism which may cause hair loss. Not only will you feel good about it and be changing lives (and yes, eyebrows on patients who have none is life-changing!), but you will also gain more exposure so it’s a win-win.
Remember, sitting back and wishing the universe for clients is not going to get you very far, no matter how talented you are. You need to take action! Ready, set go!