As cam models, there is something we must always remain aware of, and that’s the nature of our employment. We are self-employed, in business for ourselves. Most begin with a laptop from their bedroom, very humble beginnings. Our success, monetarily and otherwise, is dependent on our willingness to work hard and our ability to make smart decisions. And I firmly believe that the most underutilized tool at our disposal is networking.
Throughout the year are numerous events, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer. As a cam model it can seem rather daunting, with all the people attending. It can appear unnecessary, and hard to see the long-term benefits. In my experience, I have seen many peers who choose not to attend these events. And I have also seen many peers attend and feel like they wasted time and money. In reality, these are all incredible opportunities to network.
Business-to-business events are where I feel most at home. Everyone is there with the same interests. It’s more intimate and there’s time to have fruitful conversation. It’s also where you’ll find more of the players and the heavy hitters.
Making a successful trip out of a trade show is all about what you choose to get out of it. I made a very conscious effort to attend a majority of the biggest trade shows our industry has to offer over the last year. Some were more successful than others. There are some practices I have found that have made for the most successful trips.
Regardless of the type of show or expo, I always go into it with an agenda. This is so important. For a matter of days all these people are coming together, and then all will part ways. And many will be preoccupied much of those days. Being prepared is important here. All the little mundane details are things to be sorted out sooner than later.
Get flights and hotels booked. I find having the host hotel makes everything much easier and less stressful. That time you save by not going back and forth between another hotel adds up, and navigating a city you’re unfamiliar with can be a hassle. When the dates are closer, get familiar with the show. Know the schedule, know the attendees, know which of your peers are attending. Then figure out where you want to be almost every minute of the day. Figure out people you want to meet or talk to. Figure out any content you might want to create.
This is a routine I always go through, and I put immense pressure on myself to get through everything on my list. Getting the most from a show is up to you, and no one else. You are your own boss, simply an independent contractor, so you alone are responsible for your success. Some events are more conducive to productivity than others, and that can be taken into account. Personally, I believe most have something to offer. While I prefer business-to-business trade shows, there is still value to be had by attending certain business-to-consumer shows.
Business-to-business events are where I feel most at home. Everyone is there with the same interests. It’s more intimate and there’s time to have fruitful conversation. It’s also where you’ll find more of the players and the heavy hitters. Here is where I get some of the best networking, the best relationships and even those amazing friendships. As far as cam models and talent attending, it’s more people who take this career seriously and are thinking ahead. The benefits here are too numerous. And being surrounded by like-minded people is just too damn incredible.
Business-to-consumer events are very different. I believe they have value in that it allows for a safe and convenient place to connect with fans. There are also an awful lot of people from the industry there, including a lot of talent. The drawbacks, however, are that people get swept up in the excitement and get very little accomplished at times. Having the public there makes it very big and spectacular and it can be a lot to take in. The desire to have a fun time can be overwhelming for some and those people can leave with very little to show for the time or money invested in attending. Staying focused is a matter of practice here.
Of course, none of this matters if you’re not having fun, not loving what you do. Work is hardly something I ever look at as work, because I love what I do. Go out, meet people, see what else our wonderful community has to offer. Then see how that practice brings more fulfillment to your life, and more success to your career.