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Earning the trust and respect of artists, influencers, and Fortune 500 companies alike is no easy feat. Very few people can successfully speak the language of business and art fluently because there has long been a disconnect between brands and creatives. Companies eager to encapsulate “cool” are not often aware of the subcultures that will help them do so authentically.
For the woman well known for maintaining artistic integrity while bringing brand solutions to market, it is essential to bridge this gap so that a new school of creatives have access to these lucrative partnerships. As the owner and CEO of Good Peoples, co-owner and creative director of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, and former Events Lead for long-time music executive, Steve Stoute’s company Translation, Katie Longmyer is a trusted voice. Paving her way through the music and nightlife industries since she was 16 years old, Longmyer has earned the ear of influential figures in the fashion, music, tech and lifestyle spaces. Having a stacked rolodex of relationships that she can count on has been her greatest value proposition and helped propel her into starting a successful business.
Here she shares her networking blueprint and what creative entrepreneurs need to do to get noticed by the decision makers in their field:
Every Connection is Valuable
While attending George Washington University, Longmyer began her career in the entertainment industry by handing out fliers for a local nightclub. In it, she learned a valuable lesson in spotting the potential in all interactions. As she recalls, “every single person you talk to is valuable even if you think that they’re not supposed to come to your party, even if you’re in a rush, every single person that you encounter has something to contribute and you should engage them.” Her work philosophy became that the more people she spoke to, the more people that she could amass into her community for a better return. No longer a part of the club promotion world, Longmyer believes that this lesson can translate for social media as well. The ability to speak to volume online is why social networking is an essential way to meet and communicate with people in today’s digital world.
Avoid Business Conversations
Having access to a database of world-class executives and influential artists was not only about adding names to Longmyers’ contact list, instead, she also sought to build genuine connections. “I generally avoid a business-focused conversation, and instead, take a personal approach,” she said. Choosing to approach people with a point of interest instead of an exchange of business cards, she finds that these kinds of personal conversations resonate more. “Don’t try to meet everyone in the room, approach people and engage who you are genuinely interested in and who you enjoy talking to,” advises Longmyer.
Play to Your Strengths
In business spaces, Longmyer appears extroverted and exudes an unshakable poise. The key to navigating a room full of powerful players is in owning your strengths. “A random fact is that I’m actually an introvert,” she explains. “Very few people believe that, but if you tap me at a party I’d probably be the quiet person at the table. I’m people shy but I feel really confident in my business acumen and I feel really confident in what I’ve accomplished so far and that’s where I come from when I talk to people.” Instead of being intimidated or questioning whether you bring enough to the table, she urges creative entrepreneurs to focus on their “why” instead – talk about the things you care about and why you create the work you do. Focus on yourself.
Make Your Work Do The Talking
When approaching new connections for opportunities, Longmyer says to approach the elevator pitch with a level up. She urges young artists to offer a sample of their work – for example, 4×5 cards of illustrations for visual artists or a flash drive with a private mixtape that they made just for the contact. “If you’re coming from that type of creative space, you can make a mini version of it. If someone can have something in their hand that’s tangible but looks cool, they will remember you.” For other creatives or leaders in this space, Longmyer encourages them to talk about the theme behind their work, “If you’re doing a lot of cool things, what’s the theme and purpose behind your work?” Answering these questions will help to stand out amongst the crowd of people trying to capture the attention of key decision makers.
Self-Discovery is Career Discovery
“When I was an entrepreneur, at the beginning of my career, I was just making what I wanted to see in the world so I think that’s where to start,” recalls Longmyer. Instead of looking for a rulebook to follow or trying to determine the foundation of their business, she says to start with what excites you. Longmyer advises, “You don’t have to start with the model in order to be successful, you actually have to start with a passion, because that’s the thing that’s going to drive you all the way through.” Write down ideas and take action on them. Being unafraid to put what she creates out into the world is how Longmyer built a business that is aligned with her passions and values. “You don’t have to build a model in order to have the business,” she said. “You can start from your passion and build around it and it will eventually turn into a business.”
June 6, 2019 at 01:57PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs