I am very thankful to all the industry friends I make, and am deeply humbled when I am welcomed into a peer group, let alone already 'known' before we meet. And while I was mulling this over this morning, I came back to one friend in particular that truly has helped me grow my business in the most subtle and important ways - whether she is aware of it or not.
Two years ago, I met an eager, energetic young entrepreneur just embarking on her photography business adventure. I wont lie... I am a little older then this vivacious lady, and was not new to business management or event production, nor was she new to photography. But we were both fresh and bright-eyed in running our own businesses.
Many of you who follow me know I often collaborate with Alisha Khan Photography. And despite our age difference, we have become close friends. Watching her flourish, hone her talents, and dare I say grow up a little more in the last couple years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my business growth... and here's why:
1.. She introduces me to other vendors I may not otherwise connect with. She's incredible outgoing and willing to put herself "out there" regardless of fears or worries. She makes friends easily with other vendors she works and always seeks to broaden her networking horizons.
2. We are one another's sounding board in all things business. We laugh, we cry, we vent, we celebrate. We help one another see past the negative details that may affect us 'today' in order to see through to the successes of tomorrow.
3. She respects my knowledge and expertise - asking my opinions and sees them as value, which humbles me but also helps me assess where / what more I need to learn.
4. She's incredibly creative and helps me bounce creative ideas to get to a final outcome. Ok, admittedly, when we both get into creative mind-sets we inadvertently encourage one another excitedly with grandiose ideas that ultimately require scaling back.... but its a process that inspires my artistic nature.
5. We have yet to do a large event together. This is more of an observation then a point of reference. But in all truth it does help both of us to understand that while we are good friends , we have other industry friends and alliances that sometimes fit the clients needs better. Which takes us back to Point #1 (above).
It also allows us to understand that the nature of each of our business has a different booking timing flow - which helps each of us to see a bigger picture of the events industry production we are not personally involved with.
6. She's a photographer. And I like to create pretty things. I get photos. She practices new things. Win. Win. Below are just some of the projects we've worked on together.
I think cultivating industry relationships is the number one business tool everyone needs - especially when the friendship comes from a genuine place. Industry friends. The Bees Knees!
Credits: Alisha Khan Photography