It is not What you know but Who!
I should probably cover this subject in a series of articles. For today I wanted to write about the important of connections.
Yesterday while I was playing Final Fantasy 7 Remake, I heard Tifa saying Cloud about the importance of making connections to get more jobs and she was encouraging Cloud to meet more people in Midgar city.
It is so relatable to our creative industry, to any industry actually. You can be a highly experienced and skilled designer, but if you don't have connections, you may struggle to get the lead for that dream project of yours.
You need to be the first name that comes to mind when someone needs a designer.
To achieve that you need to put yourself out there. Share your work, experiments, experiences at the platforms like Instagram, Dribbble, Twitter, etc where you can make connections. You need to actively build connections and meet as many people as possible.
Trust is the key! A potential client would be willing to pay more to a designer with less experience, but recommended by a trusted friend. A less risky option is more valuable to a client's business.
I have involved in hundreds of projects in my ~20 years of experience, and the bigger part of the best projects I have involved came from recommendations. It usually starts like this:
"Hi Oykun, you have worked with one of my friend, he was impressed with the work you did for him and recommended me to contact you..."
"Hi Oykun, I need a design work and the designer I always work with isn't available at the momet and she recommended I reach out to you as she has been following your work..."
"Hi Oykun, I have been following your work for a while, and now that I'm building my own business, I thought I would reach out to you..."
If you can put yourself in this position, you will already beat the 90% of competition. Now you just need to build your relation with the potential client in a friendly way and share how you can improve their product.
Investing time in improving technical skills is very important, but make sure to give enough time to
Make connections, Share your work and the dream projects will find you.