My tentative step into proper actual networking

I am lucky in that, so far, running this little business has not required much promotion. It kind of grew itself by way of pleased customers posting their pictures on Facebook, and their friends saying “that’s nice, i want one”. It doesn’t create millions of commissions, or a giant income, but I only have one day a week to work, so it’s perfect.

But…I do feel like I’ve reached a point where I’m running out of friends of friends of friends, and I need to get myself a bit more known. This, to me, is terrifying. I’m stepping out of the comfy duvet or people who know me and therefore have to be nice to me (to my face), and into a world of business, where people are allowed to say what they like because it’s their money, and if you don’t cut it, they’re not going to spend it on you.

So, I’m a modern miss with my own website, two Facebook pages and a Twitter account, right? How hard can promotion be? I made a little start on Twitter, by joining in with the Mumpreneur UK’s Follow Bus. The idea was that you use the hashtag #followbus, follow everyone else you’re interested in using that hashtag and hope that they follow you back. Or something.

I appreciate that the above explanation will make no sense to anyone who hasn’t got a Twitter account, and minimal sense to most people that have. I can’t do anything about that, you’ll just have to trust me that it kind of makes sense.

So far, my use of Twitter has been mainly following my friends and a handful of celebrities, and wittering on about what to have for tea. Whilst I’d made references to my work before, I’d never actually used it for shamelessly promoting  myself. In fact, I’d never really shamelesly promoted myself AT ALL. So what to say? Er..I draw pictures, and, and, um..I…er….like shoes…no, that’s off topic, Hayley, stick with it…um…gosh, I’m hungry…You can see the problem.

I deliberated for ages about what my first followbus tweet was going to be. In the end I settled for something mild, pressed send, and hoped for the best. I went to see who else was using the tag. Lots of fellow crafting mums, who I would never have known how to find otherwise. Quite a lot of hardcore “I WILL TRIPLE YOUR PROFITS” stylee gurus. I ignored those. I noticed that other people were using the tag for multiple tweets. At that point, it was like I had been possessed. I started to get a bit carried away. I sent out tweets recommending my Facebook page, my website. It was pretty much an hour of me saying PLEASE LIKE ME!!! When it was all over I sat back, breathless and sweaty from my hour of rampant social network whoreing . I had lots of new followers and, while I was following a lot of genuinely interesting new people, I had also followed a ton of people I had no interest in. I felt dirty.

But this is how it is, right? What else can I do, it’s not like I’m going to put an advert in the Yellow Pages or a poster in the window of the Post Office. What I found was that i am not alone, there are millions like me, crafting away at their kitchen tables, fitting in work between cooking beans and colouring in and reading Cinderella. There are millions of us, which is wonderful, but there are millions of us, which is scary. I’m not unique, but I am good at what I’m doing. And slowly, I’m becoming a business. This, I think, is my challenge for 2012.

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