Tips for making creative business friends in a new city (even in a pandemic)
I moved to Charleston last summer in the middle of the pandemic, and though I’m grateful we already had a small network of friends from our college days upon arrival, that certainly has not always been the case. I started my business 7 years ago when I moved to Asheville without knowing a soul. I moved to Raleigh 2 years after that and again, knew no one apart from my husband.
Working from home and as a solo act can be super isolating, but only if you let it be! One of the most valuable assets I’ve found over the years is my network of other small business friends – I tell everyone I know starting a business that a community of other small business friends is the most paramount thing you can do for yourself. Without those relationships, I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today.
So, if you’ve found yourself in a new city and/or just need a sense of community, I’d like to share my “5 Tips for Making Business Friends in New Cities (even in a pandemic!)”
Tip # 1: Make the first move
Been following someone on instagram who you think you’d get along with personally? Go for it. Slide into their DMs and ask them to go to coffee. Or, if yall both have dogs and want to stay socially distanced, ask them for a dog park date! The worst that can happen is they say no!
Tip #2: Bring something to the table
Don’t just ask to “pick someone’s brain”. Offer something of value to someone so the relationship becomes mutually beneficial. Maybe you have a friend you could connect them with that would help propel their business further? Maybe yall could join together for a collaboration or pop up?
Tip # 3: Use mutual connections
This one might seem obvious, but ask your friends who may live elsewhere if they know anyone in your city to introduce you to, and then FOLLOW UP! Don’t be afraid to reach out and make the first move (see tip 1). “Hey so and so said we might get along, and I just moved to town! Want to grab lunch sometime?”
Tip #4: Shop locally and stop by often
Introduce yourself to boutique owners, coffee shop owners, etc, and say hello each time you drop by even if you don’t always buy something (although supporting them would definitely help build the relationship!) Consistently show up and be friendly!
Tip #5: Join creative groups (ie The Southern C!)
Scour Instagram, Facebook, Nextdoor, etc to see what groups are in your area. Or, if you follow someone on instagram in your city and they mention a group, look into it. Your new business BFF could be there!
In Charleston and wanna grab coffee, go on a dog park date, or have a baby playdate (I had a baby in March and would love some new momma friends!)? Take Tip #1 & MAKE THE FIRST MOVE – slide into my DMS 😉 I’m @maryfrancesmaker on Instagram!
Xx, Mary Frances