Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Have you Considered Joining or Starting a Ballooning Networking Group?

Working on your own can be tough and a little lonely sometimes. Many balloon artists, like myself, are sole traders - a one man band without the support of a team to work with. Dealing with day-to-day problems and issues can seem daunting or the thought of getting asked to work on a big job fills you with terror rather than excitement! Does this sound familiar?

Fortunately, we have the power of the internet and can easily connect with other balloon artists around the world through Facebook groups, Instagram, and other social media channels, but there is nothing quite like networking and meeting like-minded people that have the same interests and passions as you face to face.

Working together with Amanda Armstrong, CBA, Cheryl Skoric, CBA, and Matt Cerre, CBA, building the fabulous Pioneer 100 Anniversary party decor.


Networking is one of the best ways to build great relationships with other balloon artists. Meeting up at training sessions, events, and conventions is probably one of the most important reasons for attending. It's not just about making friends, it's about building relationships with other balloon professionals who can help each other with advice and support when it is needed or can physically help when a job proves to be too big!

Have you considered joining or starting a network group? 

Meeting up at training courses is great, but sadly they are not always that frequent. So why not see if there are any ballooning networking groups already set up that you are able to join or if not, start your own. If you have started to build a group of friends within the industry, why not suggest that you form a networking group. You don't have to meet physically, although it's always a good idea to try and find opportunities to get together, you can easily "meet" using an app such as Google Hangouts.

Working together as a team with other balloon professionals.

So how does a networking group work?

  • Firstly, I would recommend not to make your group too big. You want to be able to allow everyone the opportunity to get involved and participate. 
  • Meet on a regular fixed date - like the first Monday in the month. Choose a time that suits everyone and when business is usually quiet and people have time to talk.
  • Network with those who are not in conflict or competition with you or each other - a successful group needs to be able to share ideas, advice and support and not feel threatened.
  • Know what you want to talk about - have an agenda or discussion outline. It's important to ask group members each month if they have any specific topics that they want to discuss in advance. You will need a group moderator to set up the meeting and to steer the conversations, especially if there are time constraints and a busy agenda. 
  • Limit your meetings to a manageable length, if they take too long people will start to lose interest and get side-tracked.
Team work makes the dream work! 

What are the benefits of a networking group?
  • Allows the opportunity to exchange fresh ideas! We are very much a trend-led industry, it's good to know and share what's hot and what's not! Coming up with new marketing ideas is never easy, knowing what's working for others can really boost another person's confidence to have a go themselves.
  • Allows you to help others.  A problem shared is a problem halved, or so the saying goes! Working as a group can help to answer questions, bounce ideas off each other, resolve problems together, or already have the knowledge or experience to share.
  • Share and opens the door to new opportunities. How many of us lack the confidence to take on a "big job" or have never had the experience working on a large balloon installation? Or it might be that it's you that has the big job and need good team members to work with you. Being part of a network group can give you greater opportunities to work as part of a team. It might be working for one of the group members or an opportunity that one of your members has introduced you to. Working as part of a team has many benefits - it's a fabulous learning opportunity, as well as stimulating and rewarding plus it's very social, which is something that most of us lack when working alone.
  • Allows you to express an opinion. Unlike your friends and family, a professional network is there to share opinions about the industry and exchange information. This is a great opportunity to discuss industry related matters that you have been thinking about or that may have had an impact on your business.
  • Expands your support network. You may only meet up once a month, but knowing that you have a group of friends that you can always turn to when you're feeling fed up, in need of advice, or a few friendly words is worth so much! 

Working together to build a sculpture at a convention with a network of ballooning friends from the same country is great way to build a networking group and wonderful friendships.

Happy Networking! 


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