Networking: Your Best Ally

Do you talk to the other vendors when you are doing an event? No, seriously. If you aren’t talking with the other vendors, you are missing out on some serious networking opportunities. Most other vendors want you to do well, I promise! Besides the vendors like myself who _literally_ do better when other vendors are doing their best, vending is its own sort of community, and the healthier the community, the healthier the individual.

Also, even though it is temporary, you are coworkers with these other people while doing the event. Who wants to work with people they don’t particularly like? If you keep to yourself and act aggressively, you are going to be hurting yourself in the long run in this field. We don’t have a particular boss to impress, we are all speaking for ourselves… and I guarantee you, the vendor next to you isn’t going to tell you about the opportunities they know about if they don’t want to deal with you again!

I’ve learned about so many opportunities talking with other vendors that I wouldn’t have learned about without a serious time commitment on my own otherwise. Yesterday I ran into a vendor at 13GEARS in an entirely new venue and was able to learn about the Maker Faire because she recognized me and encouraged me to apply.

Facebook groups are another easy networking resource, even for those of us who are a bit… challenged at networking. There are local groups and less local groups for vending opportunities, business resources, and pretty much any topic you can imagine.

Networking can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be a huge, extra time commitment to show you results in your business. Just a small interaction with the other vendors around you can lead to learning about a show they know is looking for more applications, or a show they would suggest you avoid without having to try it out yourself.

To the vendors reading this who would rather keep to themselves and see everyone else as competition… that’s fine, it is ultimately your decision how you run your business. Just remember there is probably no reason to be outright rude to your fellow vendors. And if there is, remember you are both representing your businesses and try to act accordingly instead. It reflects badly on the entire community when it looks like Jerry Springer is running things. 😉

Besides, the event runner might also decide you aren’t welcome to events in the future, and that is personal hardship. Figuring out your event roster takes work! Remember… I do want you to succeed (or I wouldn’t be writing this).

Until next time!
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