There are many reasons I would like to live in Melbourne. They have a wonderfully supportive creative scene, fantastic shops, organisations such as Craft Victoria who seem to be ‘on the ball’ when it comes to promoting Victorian artisans and last Sunday I discovered another reason I would hightail it south. Big Hearted Business and Clare Bowditch.
Clare Bowditch is a person of enormous warmth and talent. She is a singer, songwriter and actor. On top of all this she and her busband (I’m coining that term for a husband and business partner wrapped into one.) have started up a wonderful organisation called Big Hearted Business.
Her aim is to teach ‘sensitive creative types’ all about the business world and have them fulfil their dreams of creating viable businesses. Based in Sydney it’s been difficult for me to attend any of their marvellous events, so when BHB came to my home town for a morning tea event I signed up quick smart.
I went for a number of reasons. To listen to Clare speak, and if I was lucky, even hear her sing. Thanks Clare, there were a few wet cheeks in the audience when you sang that melancholic song. More importantly, I went to seek out ‘my tribe’, ‘my people’. Folks I can chat to about our artistic endeavours, problems and receive sage advice. Hell, maybe even people with whom I can drink red wine and collaborate with on interesting projects.
We spent an hour listening to Clare speak on a range of creative issues and personal experiences. Questions were asked and answered and then we gathered in groups depending on our fields of work: musicians, visual artists, writers etc. With cup of tea and biscuit in hand I nervously introduced myself to various folks and got to chatting. This is how many of my conversations played out.
“Hi I’m Elisa. What do you do?” I asked.
“Oh I paint” she said.
“Great. What do you paint with? Watercolours, oils?” I asked.
“Bit of everything”, she said.
“What do you enjoy painting?” I asked.
“I’m so sorry I’m not very good at networking.” she said
Newsflash: Networking does not come easily to most people including me; but when you are put in a room of friendly creatives all looking forward to meeting other creatives I would put this at the easy end of the networking spectrum.
So I say to all you wonderfully talented and creative people. We are all nervous talking to strangers about ourselves and our businesses. We all find it difficult to self promote. Let’s forget all that stuff and just make it our business to find new friends wherever and whenever the opportunity arises. Put aside the nerves and approach each person with a smile; open to the possibility that this person standing opposite you is genuinely interested in you and your creative pursuits. They might even become a friend.
I didn’t find my people that afternoon but I know that they are out there just waiting to be discovered. Thank you Clare for starting such a worthwhile endeavour with BHB. It was great to be given the opportunity to sit in an environment with such collective goodwill. I will be following BHB closely and hoping that you come back to visit Sydney again.
PS: Clare Bowditch gives the best hugs. Before I left the morning tea I went up to say thank you. She gave me a big smile and a hug to match. A hug that made me feel like she was genuinely happy to have seen me that day.