(Editor's note: today we're featuring a fantastic guest post from the one-and-only Patrick Rife of Pixilated and Startup Soiree! Read more about Patrick at the bottom of the post!)
Every industry has its networkers, socials, get-togethers and hob nobs. It’s part and parcel for being a professional and making every effort to excel. I’ve been networking my face off for Pixilated for a little under four years and I was hoping to share a little of my perspective.
When Pixilated first started, we saw the meat and potatoes of what we did being most applicable to the wedding industry. I mean, when I think photo booths, I think weddings, mitzvahs and corporate events, but really, I think weddings.
That said, I definitely spent the lion’s share of my early years building relationships in the wedding industry in Baltimore and Washington D.C. I had an amazing time and built friendships with people that will last a lifetime. My business did pretty well too. The one problem I had was feeling stagnant after awhile.
Now, in no way do I mean that I felt the people around me were stagnant; rather, I felt myself stagnating. My stories and the way I told them weren’t evolving the way they had before. My mind wasn’t seeing the innovations it once had.
The explanation for the way I was feeling took some time for me to recognize, but ultimately I figured it out. I was spending too much time in the same places, which was leading me to think about my business in the same context.
What I started to do was look around and find the most unlikely places to network. Medical Meetups? Check! TechBreakfast? Check! BNIs? Check! In short, I did my very best to tell my story in places I’d never dreamed of, whether or not it made sense.
I have to admit it wasn’t immediately Texas Tea Derricks. It took some time to understand how to relate what I was doing to what other non-wedding industry professionals were doing. There were some uncomfortable moments, sure, but there were also a million awesome lightning bolts too.
You see, having a chance to tell my story to a total stranger and, in turn, learn about an industry I knew little about completely re-contextualized what Pixilated had to offer. All of a sudden my mind was filled with thoughts about what previously seemed like totally disparate industries; I couldn’t help thinking about the frustrations other people were experiencing in their businesses. My brain couldn’t stop itself from imagining ways my photo booth could save the day!
I know this may sound far-fetched but my presentation series at every single TechBreakfast dynamically changed the future of our company. Having the chance to speak with folks in the technolgy space and having them ask questions helped me to realize so much potential in our product at Pixilated; it just took talking to the absolutely non-obvious to get me there.
They say variety is the spice of life, but I’d be willing to make an amendment to the old adage. It would read, “Variety is the spice of life, and networking.” Talk to you soon?
Patrick Rife is the co-founder and co-owner of Pixilated Photo Booth, as well as the co-founder of Startup Soiree, a monthly "founders only" meetup of business owners and innovators. You can contact him directly via email, and grab a complimentary copy of the Pixilated E-Book "How to use a Photo Booth to Promote Your Brand."