The sleeping giant is awakening. The creatives are waking up. It seems nowadays everywhere you look there is a creatives meet up, forum or workshop. It is actually an exciting time to be a creative. There is so much out there for any creative person who wants to grow and network.
There are now workshops on how to manage your creative potential, how to manage and grow your brand online and offline, how to increase traffic to your blog or website, networking and how to manage your money.
I am personally excited about the growth in the creative community. I am a beneficiary of it and I am also talking time to mentor and spread the gospel about it as well. Some of the exciting opportunities to grow come from companies formed by creatives or meet ups organized by creatives. Some of these are BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya), the creative business forum, the creativez meet-ups (connected creatives), POWO (Poets and Writers Online) and the Creative’s Garage.
What are some of the benefits of joining these organizations or going for these meet-ups?
Getting networks. At a past creative meet up Wamathai explained the importance of being online to build networks, promote one’s work cheaply, to get exposure and feedback and to be able to track what people are saying about your work.
Many creatives didn’t or don’t understand the importance of social networks in promoting one’s talents and works. These forums show creatives the benefits of growing both online and offline networks and how these can be used to a creative’s advantage. People have gotten jobs based on online networking translating to offline opportunities.
Mentoring. At these sessions you get mentored. The panelists tell you their stories and experiences. Through questions and answer sessions you get answers on how you can advance your creative ideas and business. Simon of the creative’s business forum also offered participants at some of those forums a free hour session on mentoring and mapping of one’s creative career path. How awesome is that. I got a chance to do mine and at the end of the session I left with a lot of ideas of how I can build my creative brand and make money as well.
Knowledge. Participants also get new information and knowledge. So many participants learn new things. At the creatives forum and creative meet up participants got to learn about intellectual property. We learnt about the importance of copyright and about how to make your work pay. At one session Wamathai talked about how to make sure your website is not hacked and how you can safeguard your creative work if it is. We have also learnt about managing finances and how to get funding.
How to create a brand. The panelists at all these sessions showed us how they build their brands, told us of the hardships and the opportunities. A lot of people don’t want to tell you how they got to the top. These guys told us some of the things you need to do to get your brand to stop limping and start running like Rudisha.
There is something Wamathai said that stuck me as very important. That creatives should give some of their work out for free online as a teaser but leave your best work to be bought offline. He gave the example of Mutua Matheka (@truthslinger on twitter) who gives out some of his work out for free online as wallpapers but saves his best work to sell offline.
Mark Kaigwa is one of those guys who seems to be at every other forum or meet up. Maybe because he is a great teacher. He knows how to explain tech stuff in blogging easily. After having a session with Mark you feel you can be the superman or superwoman of the internet. I want to be Mark when I grow up (sigh).
The meet ups are important because they help creatives network, discuss their problems and find solutions. It also builds friendships established online and also strengthens those developed offline. You also get to meet those creatives that you admire in person and get a chance to talk one on one.
By exposing our skills to each other at these forums and meet ups it also brings in the concept of doing creative collaborations or businesses. By going to a creative meet up like creative garage for example I saw portfolios of creatives and saw people that I can work with in future. I also saw different ways in which one can present their portfolio. This gave me ideas for how I can present my portfolio and website as well.
There are so so many reasons to go for these creatives forums. I can’t name all of them here. I will say though that after the ones I have attended I am a believer. I have grown a lot in the past one year due to the exposure I have gotten from BAKE. In the one year or more since BAKE started I have grown from advice I have gotten at BAKE happy hours. BAKE has helped me set up my website and get it up and running. I am a late adopter with some of this technology stuff so they have updated or is it upgraded me. Thank you Kachwanya and Wamathai for the time put in. Also for the stupid questions you have had to answer for me. I have made friendships that are dear to me. I have grown as a writer. In the future I know I will also be able to make money from my website. I am passionate about BAKE because I have seen what BAKE can do for a creative. That’s why I carry BAKE’s torch everywhere I go, an unofficial BAKE ambassador if you will.
My advice. If you’re a creative please attend these meet ups and forums. Most of them are free but the information you get is priceless.
As Bankelele said last week at the BAKE and at a BAKE happy hour, “Your twitter handle is your business card and your website or blog is your CV.” So come learn how to make them really sell you to your audience.
For more information check out creatives forum
Building your creative brand
Find out about BAKE