{Handmade Business in 31 Days — Day 17, How to network via email.}

Day 17// The entire time I’ve been running the Gussy Sews blog + shop I’ve used email to help me network with other bloggers, crafters + like-minded women. Four years ago it acted as my second paddle — no, more as my lifeline — as I was so new to the blogging community. I hadn’t attended a conference yet nor did I know many bloggers in real life and I truly relied on it’s instant connection power. Without email I wouldn’t have been able to introduce myself/share with as many people as I have what Gussy Sews is all about, I’m confident of this.

However, email is a tricky one to understand, because…

  • Not all who use email love using it, and the reverse is true, too
  • Not all who use email use it the same way their neighbor uses it
  • And, not all who use email rely on it the same way another may rely on it

via Pineapple

To network via email you must entertain these three points. I also think you need to know who you are outside of your business {don’t spend every waking moment on the computer, working on your business. Be sure to give yourself time to breathe.} — have some confidence + believe in yourself, girl! And remember, when you network you’re taking a moment to share who you are in exchange for wanting to learn more about others. It’s a give-and-take experience, but totally in an unselfish way.

Want even more advice?

5 TIPS ON HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY NETWORK VIA EMAIL:

  • Be considerate of those you email. With every email you write be polite, share your personality, and keep it professional
  • Be concise with your words. Managing your inbox is just one part of owning a handmade business, and when that gets out of control it can be hard to feel like you have everything else under control. Perhaps you’ve seen the Sentenc.es site, encouraging users to write only two, three, four or five sentences when replying to an email? That’s something I always have in the back of my mind when replying {and even sending} to emails
  • Don’t ask for anything. Send an email and say hello to simply do just that, say hello. Remember, right now you’re trying to network, NOT sell something, NOT ask a business question, NOT ask where a certain material was ordered from
  • Include a link to your site. What good does taking the time to introduce yourself do if this person doesn’t know where to find you?
  • Email people outside of your niche. There’s no reason to stay within your pretty brown kraft box. Explore other niches of bloggers + business owners and welcome new ideas that come your way

…and that’s it. I really don’t think there’s some crazy, secretive, complicated tip on how to successfully network via email. I do firmly believe in the five tips above — and of course testing an idea, then seeing how it works for you. Sometimes we just need to allow ourselves a little more trial + error in life :)

When you email: say hello!, share a teeny bit about yourself, include a link to your site/blog/shop, and include something complimentary that also aligns with WHY you are emailing them.

Homework// Email three different people by the end of this week + introduce yourself. Next week email five more people. Continue to do this for the next few weeks, then take some time to evaluate what you’ve learned + process the response you received.

…are you taking notes? click here to read the series.

Comments

  1. 2

    says

    Hmmmmmmm this is so embarrassing but I never even though of networking through email!!!! I am totally lost here!!! So when you say email three people this week, just email them to say hi and introduce yourself and products?! It should be someone that you admire, someone you find inspiring, correct? Apparently I missed the boat on this one! Hahahahaha! This might be fun!!!
    Thanks!!! Learning so much!!
    Angela

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Button Bird Designs, OOOPS! I added that part in ;)

    Here’s what I added to the post:
    When you email: say hello!, share a teeny bit about yourself, include a link to your site/blog/shop, and include something complimentary that also aligns with WHY you are emailing them.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Button Bird Designs, PS. that is how Nester became my friend… I used to email her all the time and eventually she gave in to my eye-lash batting ways ;)

    [Reply]

    Button Bird Designs Reply:

    @Gussy Sews, Hahahahaha! I just laughed out loud and spit up a little tea!!!

    [Reply]

  2. 3

    says

    Oh Maggie, this is seriously my favorite blog series EVER. No really…ever EVER! Thank you for being a ray of sunshine and encouragement to those of us who are desperately needing a little nudge in the right direction. Who knows, you may just be getting emails from all ga-gillion of us who are checking in to your blog each day (wink, wink)! On a somewhat related note, can you touch on blog networks, sponsorship and affiliate linking during the course of your series? I’m not going anywhere and I would love your take on it. Oh…and Etsy. Yeah, let’s talk Etsy. I’m not loving it at all so I’m exploring my options. Anywhoo…yeah, if I were in Cali I would *so* want to grab some coffee and share a precious heart-to-heart. ((hugs)) from Indiana! P.S. I’m praying for you today!

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Kirsten, Hmmm, that’s a topic to consider for sure! xoxoxo

    [Reply]

  3. 4

    says

    Thanks for sharing this! Other bloggers are always writing about finally getting to meet their other blogger friends. I never understood how they connected or even how they became friends.

    I will be trying this!

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Victoria, Email! It’s as simple as writing to say hello :)

    [Reply]

  4. 5

    says

    How do you just introduce yourself without being sleazy…. like, “I like your blog, so come see my blog now!” If you know what I mean?

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Emily, because when you network it’s not to gain something for yourself, it’s to give something of yourself. Don’t ask them to do anything for you :) write them to say hello, compliment them (and mean it), and sign off. xo

    [Reply]

  5. 6

    says

    maggie you have so much confidence! maybe we need a day just on being CONFIDENT with what we have to share/say. just kidding, sort of :) if you are writing just to say hello though, how do you start a conversation that will continue past one email? i have emailed several bloggers i respect with short, sweet emails and most are so kind and write back but it never seems to go past one. how do you form friendships when it seems like everyone is trying to rush through emails asap?

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @lindsay, Well, I think it’s important to understand just because you send an email it doesn’t guarantee you’ll become friends. Of course that sounds so mean when you take it at surface level but it really, truly is not meant to be mean.

    Just like we aren’t friends with every person you pass by at the grocery store, we aren’t friends with every person that emails us. Sure most of these people are super kind women, but it’s just not possible to find a connection with everyone. I think a lot of what helps ignite a friendship is feeling like you connect with one another in the first place. Does that make sense? So writing someone because you learned something from them, or writing because you think they are so funny and your real-life BFF is super funny in the same way. Or maybe you have a situation that they have experienced too, something like that.

    My advice is to keep on being your beautiful, genuine self and the friendships you’re supposed to have will come. And don’t be afraid to send a second email. Persistence isn’t a bad thing ;D

    [Reply]

  6. 7

    says

    Wonderful, simple, tangible tips! It doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it sometimes! I think this is wonderful advice! In blogging I have often felt overwhelmed with networking and getting to know other bloggers I admired. But like you said, if you keep on coming back and being kind, they will notice you and reciprocate the friendship! I believe the first time you ever communicated with me it was over email (and it was a big deal to me!) and it was because I wanted to encourage you based on something you said on twitter! I guess my kindness worked some magic on you as well! ;)

    xo

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Ashley Urke | Domestic Fashionista, YES! See… this is exactly it. Sometimes that second attempt is what seals the deal ;D I think you’re great and I always love our little conversations :)

    [Reply]

  7. 8

    says

    This is definitely my biggest struggle. I am terrified of reaching out to others in the handmade business, especially those I really admire. It’s the whole “im not cool enough, my stuff isn’t as good, does my personality stink, will I come off weird” and about 1500 other reasons for why people won’t like me. It’s totally WRONG I know, but I haven’t managed to get past that.

    I’ve been pretty by myself in the handmade business and I really see the need now to reach out more as things get more busy and I find myself lacking people to bounce ideas off of or just talk to about this. I don’t think I want it so much as to advance my business, but to keep my sanity intact by talking with others in the same boat. I am in a new city where I know practically no one so the crazies definitely have a tendency to want to creep in. I need to get with it in this department.

    Again, totally relevant, this month of topics is really kicking my behind in gear!

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Erin @ Isaboo Designs, Do YOU believe in your products? If not it may be time to read this post on developing your product/style. I think the times I doubt others or their work is when they seem to doubt themselves {and I share that to encourage you}. xoxo

    [Reply]

  8. 10

    says

    I can’t believe I’ve never even thought of this. I’m gonna try to do this, but it seems like it’d be super hard. I feel like I’d be super awkward. I try to leave comments on blogs I like, but I basically never email anyone. I like what you said about keeping emails short though. I tend to have a problem with being too “to the point” & not being very flowery with my writing, and I always feel like my emails are too short, so this was very encouraging.

    [Reply]

    Gussy Sews Reply:

    @Sarah, Why is it hard to send an email? Even if you are sweating no one will know you’re sweating because you’re behind a computer :)

    [Reply]

  9. 11

    says

    Why does the thought of this give me mini panic attacks? lol It really shouldn’t be that scary, right? I’m going to take a couple deep breaths today, pray about it and commit to doing the homework by the end of the week. Thank you so, so much for asking us to step outside of our comfort zones in a doable way!

    Who do you recommend e-mailing to start? Should I stick with business owners who are on the same level as myself when it comes to the business? Or is it acceptable to reach out to anyone who’s product/life story/whatever intrigues me? I think this is one of my biggest fears in reaching out via e-mail, that someone with a mega-successful business is going to look at an e-mail from someone like me and think “She is way out of her league.”

    [Reply]

  10. 12

    says

    Immediately after I read this post I made a list of 5 bloggers I would like to contact. Then I chose a day of the week to email them so I could actually do it. I followed your outline and added a bit of my own flair. The results were actually quite exciting. I didn’t hear back from everyone but the bloggers who did respond sounded very genuine and they were flattered by my compliments (which were 100% true). It was nice to know I was making someones day a little better even if just one email was exchanged. There was one blogger who had already heard of me and that was super exciting me too.

    I made a second list and did it all over again the next week. Thank you for the tips and the push!

    [Reply]

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