I’ve been told that one of my “power animals” is the spider. A power animal is “a certain species with which you have recognized an important connection. This species becomes your teacher, with whom you allow yourself to grow and learn.”* What interests me most about the spider is not its physical body, but the intricate web it weaves. For me, the spider’s web represents creativity and interconnections. I have had a strong sense of connectedness ever since I was conceived: I am, after all, a twin!
The fact that I’m a web designer provides a wonderful correlation between my power animal and how I earn a living. I love the dual challenges of creative thinking and technical implementation that web design offers me. Although I run my own business, I am not alone, I rely on colleagues and a network of information to create websites. There is a core group of people that I rely on to discuss and solve work-related issues. These are people I’ve known personally for many years. New clients are often found through traditional networking referrals from this group.
The Internet has provided me with many other options for connecting, sharing, and marketing. Here are some of the sites that I regularly use:
Tier #1 Networking (used most often)
— Google+ (I have recently discovered “hangouts” on Google+ and the sharing of information in the Genesis Framework Community is awesome.)
— LinkedIn (In addition to building my connections, I also belong to many groups and participate in discussions.)
— Twitter (Hootsuite is my tool of choice; you can schedule tweets, create groups, and direct your tweets to Facebook and LinkedIn.)
Tier #2 Networking
— ArtStack (discover art through sharing)
— Designers Accord
— Design 21
— MassArt Alumni
— MeetUp (Belmont Art Association, Boston Green Business Networking Group, Boston Web Design, Boston WordPress, Revolve Nation)
— UMass Boston Online Community
Affiliate Partnering and Marketing
— Amazon Associates (affiliate partner)
— Big Commerce (new developer member of this e-commerce site)
— Blue Host (web host affiliate partner)
— CafePress (online shop to sell products with my art)
— Fine Art America (online shop to sell products with my art)
— Genesis (WordPress framework, themes, and plug-ins affiliate partner)
— Hostgator (web host affiliate partner)
— MacUpdate (affiliate partner)
— Shopify (new developer member of this e-commerce site)
— Siteground (web host affiliate partner)
— Theme Forest (WordPress themes and plug-ins affiliate partner)
What Works For You?
The key for me is to find people and sources that I can rely on. The last thing I need is inaccurate information. I also try to steer clear of discussions in which people appear to be displaying their knowledge or “tooting their own horn,” rather than genuinely sharing. On the positive side, one of the best things about the Internet is the open-source approach to information exchange, collaboration, and community building. It is a true web of interconnections that we continue to build on each time we use it.
* From Medicine Cards, by Jamie Sams & David Carson.