"NETWORKING 101" - By MikeCon Photography

Blog Pro tip: If you have a "Network" and you're not utilizing it properly, or overusing it, then you may want to get a new network!

1.  Nobody likes to be used. As you move up in your network, bring up those who've helped get you there. Stop looking for freebies, or handouts because eventually, they're going to fall out of your network and forget about you when they get bigger. Don't burn that bridge just because you've elevated yourself.

2.  Go back and pay it forward. If an opportunity comes along for one of your networked folks, go tell them about it. You may end up helping them achieve their goals.

3.  Communicate!! Get over your fear of being on the phone, and talk to people. Nobody has ever been told that they communicated too many details to their clients. Me personally, I have found that my people have a better understanding of my vision and passion for their photo shoots once we talk on the phone. I don't mind texting/emailing, however, I find that my best work comes from those who make time to just talk about what they want in full detail.

4.  The bridge: AGAIN...Don't burn it. You NEVER know who could be moving up and might need someone with a specific skill, look, or whatever. IF you must burn the bridge...make sure that you blow that bitch up and keep it to yourself because nobody in business likes whiners...just winners! Last but not least, don't burn a bridge just because someone else didn't get along with someone else, or if someone else says something negative about someone else. I've found that most times, it's the other person spreading a rumor, or just being insecure about competition.

5.  Be patient and kind. I've found that it opens more doors than running up on someone with a snotty attitude. People are always watching and scoping out what you're doing. I was blessed to do some work and one publisher told me that they accepted my work for publishing in their magazine because they actually read my Facebook/Instagram posts. They had their normal photogs that they went to all the time and they gave me a chance...and the work was fitting as well.

Networking is great, but be prepared for rejection, and for people to give you their non-negotiable rates, or whatever. Sometimes, you might end up impressing someone so much from that first time and they'll hook you up. First impressions are lasting ones.